CNN Is Right That Top Health Officials Are Less Prominent On Television News Lately

Feature Charticle

CNN’s Oliver Darcy noted this week that the US Government’s top Covid-19 health officials, Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield, Dr. Stephen Hahn and Dr. Jerome Adams, have largely disappeared from television news.

The timeline below confirms this, tracing how many times the five have been mentioned in the onscreen text of CNN, MSNBC and Fox News since April 3rd (the start of the data) using data from the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive processed by the GDELT Project. Since April 3, GDELT has analyzed the four stations through Google’s Cloud Video API each day in a secure non-consumptive research environment, performing OCR text recognition of the complete onscreen text.

While tracing how often the five names are mentioned in the onscreen text is different than tracking actual appearances of them onscreen and can yield false positives from mentions of them without their actually appearing onscreen, it offers an approximation of their overall visibility to television viewers, even if in name only.

The timeline confirms that the five have been mentioned onscreen relatively sparsely over the past month and a half on the three stations and that while Dr. Fauci’s testimony on May 12th resulted in a surge of mentions, those mentions dropped precipitously the following day, rather than leading to days of discussion and digestion as might be expected.

GDELT Project

Follow along with the live version of this graph!

For CNN, the data actually stretches back to January 25, seen in the timeline below, showing the five beginning to appear on CNN in early March but decreasing in visibility over the course of this month.

GDELT Project

View the live version of this graph!