The Pandemic Pushed Crowds From Television News – The George Floyd Protests Brought Them Back

How often are crowds seen on television news? TheĀ timelineĀ below shows the total seconds of daily airtime since the start of the pandemic in which crowds were visible onscreen across CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and BBC News London using AI. Crowds don't disappear from television news until mid-March 2020, but remain at a fraction of their previous levels through the end of May. The George Floyd protests bring saturation-level coverage of crowds, but after protest coverage fades, crowds largely return to television news at levels only slightly lower than they were prior to the pandemic. In effect, the protests represent an inflection point in the depiction of large groups of people on television news that survived despite government efforts to encourage social distancing and discourage large gatherings.

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