A new report chronicles the coverage of cryptocurrencies from the mainstream media, including both praise and FUD.
Go to any news website today and you’ll likely find an article on cryptocurrency. The mainstream media has a fascination with this disruptive technology, especially as the topic brings in lots of clicks. The folks at Clovr have done an extensive study on how the media reports on cryptocurrency and how that coverage has changed over time. There are a few surprises.
Mainstream Media Coverage Quiet at First
For most of the Bitcoin’s existence, coverage by the MSM was pretty sparse. There were a few mentions of the new technology, especially when a slew of bitcoins was used to buy a pizza. The few articles written on cryptocurrency during this time was actually pretty positive.
Reporting on cryptocurrencies really cranked up in earnest in 2017 as Bitcoin (not to mention most altcoins) began to rapidly rise in value. The study’s researchers found that during the initial bull run, coverage was still mostly positive. They note that such a perspective may have helped fuel the Bitcoin price run (although the U.S. government may think otherwise).
However, the study found that coverage became more negative as the price of Bitcoin rose. As the world’s foremost cryptocurrency was approaching its all-time high, MSM reporting began to tilt away from the positive and to the negative. This trend continued as the bear market reared its head and the value of the entire market began to drop dramatically. This negative coverage dominates most of the MSM outlets today.
One reason why the MSM may be pushing FUD against cryptocurrency is the old media adage of “if it bleeds, it leads.” The MSM thrives on doom-and-gloom stories as they draw in far more eyeballs than of heartwarming tales of an impoverished villager finally being able to take control of their own economic destiny.
Some Interesting Surprises
There are some fascinating tidbits to be found in this study. First, the researchers note that business publications, such as Forbes and Business Insider, that tilt towards a younger audience were far more positive in their reporting. Forbes had 788 positive articles on cryptocurrency versus 188 negative ones, while Business Insider had 547 positive stories versus 225 negative stories.
Traditional financial and mainstream media outfits were far more harsh towards Bitcoin and its virtual brethren. The Wall Street Journal only had 271 positive stories versus 608 negative reports during the study’s time period. The Washington Post had 216 negative articles compared to 98 positive. Other pro-FUD outfits include Reuters (191 positive to 659 negative), The New York Times (52 positive to 142 negative), Gizmodo (109 negative to only 17 positive), and Yahoo Finance (188 positive to 460 negative).
Another interesting feature was that some outlets that lie on polar opposites of the political divide were mostly negative towards cryptocurrency. This was the case with Breitbart and Raw Story. However, political affiliation did have an impact on how a media outlet reported on the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Those of a liberal persuasion were slightly more positive in their reporting (51.7% positive to 48.3% negative) while those who skewed conservative were very negative (only 31.8% positive to 68.2% negative). This reporting by conservative outlets kind of flies in the face of how those who lean right have a far more skeptical view of centralized government. On the other hand, those who skew liberal tend to be more likely to try new things.
Overall, coverage by some of the MSM shifted over time to balance out, while others continued to reinforce their original viewpoint. The main takeaway is to always be skeptical when reading about crypto in the mainstream media and do your own research. The goal of media coverage today is to get views, not to be 100% accurate.
Do you think the mainstream media covers cryptocurrency fairly? Let us know in the comments below.
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