But while coverage is constant in all cable TV news, the message about people with coronavirus from networks is not the same. At all.
Take this question, asked in a recent Pew poll, to find out if the coronavirus originated in nature (it did) or if it was built in a laboratory (it was not).
While 66% of MSNBC viewers and 52% of CNN viewers said precisely that the coronavirus came from nature, just 37% Fox News viewers said the same thing.
Or this question of how long it will take for a coronavirus vaccine to be ready. Fair 51% Fox News viewers said it would take a year or more for the vaccine to be available, while 78% of MSNBC viewers said it would take more than a year for a vaccine. Nearly 6 in 10 viewers on CNN said the same thing.
(Note: a coronavirus vaccine is, according to medical experts, at least in one year to 18 months.)
The differences in cable TV viewers’ knowledge of the virus extend to how the pillars of each network view the coverage of the coronavirus.
Eight out of 10 Fox News viewers say the media exaggerated the coronavirus threat against 54% of CNN viewers and only 35% of MSNBC viewers.
The reason why these numbers are important is because we know – also from Pew’s data – that self-identified conservative Republicans are massively turning to Fox News as their preferred source of information. (More than 3 in 4 Conservative Republicans and those who focus on Republicans say Fox is their primary source of information.)
Point: Fox News watchers, who are mostly Republicans, report a very different – and less precise – view of the coronavirus than those watching CNN and MSNBC.