Accuracy in Media

The Drudge Report alerted us all yesterday to a startling fact: Fox News got more hits last week than The New York Times did.

To be fair, the Hitwise Report Drudge linked to pointed out that when measuring market share of visits, they didn’t count traffic to the sub domains. Still, it is telling that when it came to the most popular search terms in the news category, the rankings fell like this:

1. Weather (0.72%)
2. Fox News (0.40%)
3. CNN (0.39%)
4. Drudge Report (0.25%)
5. Facebook (0.24%)

The New York Times did not make it into the top 20 of that list; the Huffington Post made it only so far as number 20.

What does this imply for The New York Times—and other highly biased organizations? Well, beyond the implication that people care more about the weather than about the news, it implies that when people want to catch up on the news, they are more and more likely to turn to conservative-leaning sites like Fox News and the Drudge Report. What we don’t know is why—is it because more news seekers are conservative? Or because Media Matters hired more people to spend their days trolling Fox News and Drudge? Or because last week Fox News and Drudge had extra exciting topics on their front pages?

We don’t know why it was that last week, Fox News outranked The New York Times when it came to market share of visits, and we don’t know why Fox News outranked every other news-related search term except for “weather” last week. Surely there is a variety of reasons for it. However, it will be interesting to see if, in the future, this trend continues.

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