As soon as Democrats started surging in the polls in the summer, Fox News started mentioning crime nonstop. However, the Fox crime campaign did not deliver a red wave for the GOP.
The Washington Post crunched the numbers and found that Fox News got very interested in crime once Democrats began their summer surge:
What was it in late September that triggered Fox News to start talking about crime so much?
The increase has been stark even in absolute terms. Here’s the extent to which Fox News has been mentioning crime and gas or fuel each week. (These are averages of the number of 15-second blocks in a day during which the term appears in closed-captioning.) From the spring through the summer, crime didn’t come up much. Mentions of “gas” and “fuel” were much more common. Then gas prices peaked and mentions fell. A few weeks later, mentions of both crime and gas increased, but only mentions of crime have kept rising.
Nearly 5% of every 15-second block on Fox News mentioned crime. The numbers suggest that Fox News was mentioning crime to their viewers roughly once every three to four minutes.
Republican candidates picked up on it and also started mentioning crime constantly, which caused the number of mentions of crime to increase on CNN and MSNBC.
The polling started reflecting the media coverage and showed crime as a top voter concern.
On election day, something funny happened.
According to the NBC News exit poll, crime was ranked tied for third with gun policy and behind inflation and abortion in terms of voter priorities.
Fox News mentioned crime ten times an hour around the clock to their viewers for months, and it did not deliver a red wave for the Republican Party.
Fox got the idea to push crime from Donald Trump. The crime narrative in 2022 was a continuation of Trump’s campaigning on crime during the 2020 election.
The myth that Fox News can establish narratives and reshape elections needs to be debunked. Fox thought that they could create an issue out of nothing on crime and deliver victory to Republicans.
Instead, the midterm results showed the limitations of the Fox News bubble.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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