Statistics Show Media Focus Overwhelmingly On Bernie, Beto

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Phillip Stucky Contributor
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A report from Nate Silver’s statistics site FiveThirtyEight revealed Wednesday that the media discussed former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders much more often than some of the more diverse candidates.

“Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke saw dramatic peaks in cable news mentions after their 2020 announcements. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren saw modest bumps. Pete Buttigieg, John Hickenlooper and Jay Inslee saw molehills,” the news site wrote in a tweet about the story.

The report noted that the number of mentions wasn’t even for all candidates for all networks. MSNBC strongly appeared to favor O’Rourke in terms of total mentions, while Fox News focused more on Sanders.

Reporter Dhrumil Mehta surveyed total mentions on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News and used Internet Archives’ Television News Archive to find the data. Mehta recovered data on mentions from 10 days before each candidate’s announcement through 20 days after each announcement. (RELATED: Biden Gets Four-Point Bump In Latest Poll)

Two news items that could affect the coverage are increased polling in the 2020 Democratic primary, in which Sanders took up second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden, and the fact that O’Rourke launched an ambitious campaign that crisscrossed Iowa, reached into Michigan and ended Wednesday in New Hampshire.