Inflation started being mentioned on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News last February, taking off on Fox News in May 2021, but not really accelerating on CNN or MSNBC until November. Mentions decreased through February of this year, but have increased steadily across all three channels, though Fox News continues to mention inflation 2-3 times more than CNN or MSNBC. The early recognition of inflation by Fox News reminds us that early warning signals of impending societal-scale issues often appear in a smaller subset of media outlets first that reflect the lived experiences of those communities. Rather than dismissing such early warning coverage as hyperbole, it is often far more instructive to examine why a given economic story is appearing only in a subset of media and the underlying socioeconomic affinity groups that can offer insights into its future trajectory.
In contrast, business channels ramped up mentions in January 2021 and have steadily increased them roughly linearly over the past two years. Bloomberg has consistently mentioned inflation more than CNBC or Fox Business since September 2015.