Vaccine Mentions Fade On Television News But Stable In Online News

Mentions of vaccines on television news have unsurprisingly increased dramatically in the days since the 2020 election, peaking in mid-December. Yet since late December mentions have decreased nearly eight fold as attention has shifted to the US presidential transition. Fox News has decreased mentions less than CNN and MSNBC, but it has mentioned the vaccine significantly less. In contrast, online coverage increased at the same time and rate as television coverage, but has remained elevated in the two months since, rather than decreasing like television news. This is likely due to the fact that television news has a fixed daily airtime that means breaking stories like the storming of the capitol must displace other coverage, whereas online coverage can be published in parallel, so an increase in coverage of one topic does not necessary lead to a decrease in coverage for other topics.

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