Did Negative Media Coverage of Covid19 Reduced Treatment Options?

The other day, Jon Hardister a Republican member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Tweeted his summary of a working paper from November, 2020. That paper analyzed the tone used in U.S. media coverage of Covid19. The paper maybe of interest, but Hardister didn’t link to the paper, he just Tweeted the following:  “A study at Dartmouth finds that media coverage on #COVID19 has been nearly 90 percent negative, much more negative than scientific data justifies. Media should focus on straight, objective reporting, not hyperbolic negativity. We can do better than this.” The Tweet is both decontextualized from the original paper and not the best representation of the paper’s content. The paper analyzes the tone of English-language news articles written from January 1, 2020 until some time in November of 2020. The finding is that 91% of stories by U.S. major media outlets are negative in tone versus 54% for non-U.S. major sources and 65% for scientific journals. The paper isn’t all that interesting to me — it also foolishly speculates that the 1987 repeal of the fairness doctrine may have something to do with the amount of negative coverage in the U.S. Despite the fact that the fairness doctrine would have only applied to 4 of the 14 media companies selected as U.S. mainstream sources. — Even the comparative metrics of the more positive tones used by non-U.S. major sources and scientific journals have explanations besides simply “U.S. Media is being a negative nelly.” For example, while it may be…Did Negative Media Coverage of Covid19 Reduced Treatment Options?

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