Fox Outdoes CNN In Early Coverage of Tsunami Disaster
Early coverage of the tsunami disaster emanating from the earthquakes off Sumatra has been much, much more comprehensive on Fox than CNN. It is not the first time that CNN is shown to be slow off the mark on a major breaking story, and it helps explain why Fox has the edge in the number of viewers most all the time.
On Sunday morning, Dec. 26, in the U.S. time zones, as the magnitude of the tsunamis sweeping from South Asia to the East African coast became clear, CNN led its hourly news updates with a few sentences of coverage, but did not break at any length into its regular news interview shows.
But Fox immediately began to give lengthy coverage to the tsunamis as the death toll reached toward and then exceeded 10,000. It stated right away that it considered this the primary story of the day and then acted to put information it was gathering on the air. It put considerable emphasis on the early reports of destruction and hundreds of deaths at the beach resorts in Thailand, noting that over the Christmas holidays there would have been thousands of Western tourists there.
Neither network, however, immediately brought to the screen the tremendous expertise of U.S. tsunami experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospherics Administration and its tsunami information centers in Hawaii and Alaska.
Wire service stories frequently described the tsunamis as tidal waves, which is not viewed by most scientists as a correct term.
Nonetheless, of the coverage that existed by noon Sunday, Pacific Coast time, Fox was far in front. I will take a look at newspaper coverage tomorrow.