According to a study released by the Project For Excellence in Journalism on Friday, Fox News led the three major cable news networks in airtime devoted to Anna Nicole in the first three months of the year, and trailed MSNBC and CNN in coverage of the Iraq war.
If Fox was less focused on the Iraq War, what took its place? Mostly — according to the numbers — Anna Nicole Smith. Coverage of her death trailed just barely the airtime spent on the Iraq policy debate, accounting for 9.6% of all the Fox content studied (versus 10.1% for the Iraq policy debate). Fox also stood out for its lack of coverage on the firings of the U.S. attorneys, compared with the other channels. The story, which gained real momentum in mid March, consumed a mere 2% of Fox’s total airtime. CNN devoted twice that percent (4%) and MSNBC four times (8%).
CBS’ Public Eye takes a shot at Fox with a zinger: “When you score last on viewer comprehension and highest for AnnaMania, it’s time to take a look in the mirror.”