FAIR: Poverty Undercovered in Network News

Fairness and Accuracy in Media Study Finds More Stories on Michael Jackson than Poverty

Fairness and Accuracy in Media, the watchdog group whose mission is, in part, to identify neglected news stories, said poverty is one of them.

In a content analysis of the major broadcast-network nightly newscasts, FAIR said they have provided "astonishingly little" coverage beyond the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

FAIR pointed out that according to Census Bureau figures, 37 million families live below the poverty level of an annual income of just under $20,000.

According to its study of 38 months’ worth of stories on the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS and NBC, just 58 stories aired that focused on poverty, with NBC airing the most, followed by CBS and ABC. In contrast, FAIR said, 69 stories aired about Michael Jackson over the same time period.

"We do our best to cover the most important news of the day, every day, in the 22 minutes we have," CBS News spokeswoman Sandy Genelius said.