Fox News uses the word ‘hate’ far more often than MSNBC or CNN
YouTube/Fox News/The Conversation

This article originally appeared on 09.30.20

`Fox News is up to five times more likely to use the word "hate" in its programming than its main competitors, according to our new study of how cable news channels use language.

Fox particularly uses the term when explaining opposition to Donald Trump. His opponents are said to "hate" Trump, his values and his followers.

Our research, which ran from Jan. 1 to May 8, 2020, initially explored news of Trump's impeachment. Then came the coronavirus. As we sifted through hundreds of cable news transcripts over five months, we noticed consistent differences between the vocabulary used on Fox News and that of MSNBC.

While their news agendas were largely similar, the words they used to describe these newsworthy events diverged greatly.


Fox and hate

For our study, we analyzed 1,088 program transcripts from the two ideologically branded channels – right-wing Fox and left-wing MSNBC – between 6 p.m. and 10:59 p.m.

Because polarized media diets contribute to partisan conflict, our quantitative analysis identified terms indicating antipathy or resentment, such as "dislike," "despise," "can't stand" and "hate."

We expected to find that both of the strongly ideological networks made use of such words, perhaps in different ways. Instead, we found that Fox used antipathy words five times more often than MSNBC. "Hate" really stood out: It appeared 647 times on Fox, compared to 118 on MSNBC.

Fox usually pairs certain words alongside "hate." The most notable was "they" – as in, "they hate." Fox used this phrase 101 times between January and May. MSNBC used it just five times.

To put these findings in historic context, we then used the GDELT Television database to search for occurrences of the phrase "they hate" on both networks going back to 2009. We included CNN for an additional comparison.

We found Fox's usage of "they hate" has increased over time, with a clear spike around the polarizing 2016 Trump-Clinton election. But Fox's use of "hate" really took off when Trump's presidency began. Beginning in January 2017, the mean usage of "they hate" on the network doubled.

Fox says 'they hate' way more than CNN or MSNBC

Since 2011 all three major cable news channels used the phrase "they hate" in their evening newscasts (between 6 and 11 p.m.). But starting with the 2016 Clinton-Trump race, FOX News has done so far more often than CNN and MSNBC.

The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: Te

'Us' versus 'them'

So who is doing all this hating – and why – according to Fox News?

Mainly, it's Democrats, liberals, political elites and the media. Though these groups do not actually have the same interests, ideology or job description, our analysis finds Fox lumps them together as the "they" in "they hate."

When Fox News anchors say "they hate..."

Quantitative analysis shows Fox News' used the phrase "they hate" frequently on its evening programing between January and May 2020, most commonly referring to Democrats (29% of the time) or to a non-specific group like "political elites" (24% of the time). Many of these terms were used interchangeably, as if they were one group unified in their hatred.

Table: The Conversation CC-BY-ND Source: C. Knüpfer & R. Entman

As for the object of all this hatred, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and other Fox hosts most often name Trump. Anchors also identify their audience – "you," "Christians" and "us" – as the target of animosity. Only 13 instances of "they hate" also cited a reason. Examples included "they can't accept the fact that he won" or "because we voted for [Trump]."

Who's being hated, according to Fox News

Thirty-six percent of times that Fox News anchors said "they hate" between January and May 2020, Trump was the alleged target of that hatred. A smattering of other targets were also named ("you," "me," "Christians," etc.). Rarely did Fox anchors offer a reason for this animosity.

Table: The Conversation CC-BY-ND Source: C. Knüpfer & R. Entman

Citing liberal hate as a fact that needs no explanation serves to dismiss criticism of specific policies or events. It paints criticism or moral outrage directed at Trump as inherently irrational.

For loyal Fox viewers, these language patterns construct a coherent but potentially dangerous narrative about the world.

Our data show intensely partisan hosts like Hannity and Carlson are more likely than other Fox anchors to use "they hate" in this way. Nevertheless, the phrase permeates Fox's evening programming, uttered by hosts, interviewees and Republican sources, all painting Trump critics not as legitimate opponents but hateful enemies working in bad faith.

By repeatedly telling its viewers they are bound together as objects of the contempt of a powerful and hateful left-leaning "elite," Fox has constructed two imagined communities. On the one side: Trump along with good folks under siege. On the other: nefarious Democrats, liberals, the left and mainstream media.

Research confirms that repeated exposure to polarized media messages can lead news consumers to form firm opinions and can foster what's called an "in-group" identity. The us-versus-them mentality, in turn, deepens feelings of antipathy toward the perceived "out-group."

The Pew Research Center reports an increasing tendency, especially among Republicans, to view members of the other party as immoral and unpatriotic. Pew also finds Republicans trust Fox News more than any other media outlet.

Americans' divergent media sources – and specifically Fox's "hate"-filled rhetoric – aren't solely to blame here. Cable news is part of a larger picture of heightened polarization, intense partisanship and paralysis in Congress.

Sean Hannity portrays criticism of Donald Trump as hate-based.YouTube/Fox News/The Conversation

Good business

Leaning into intense partisanship has been good for Fox News, though. In summer 2020 it was the country's most watched network. But using hate to explain the news is a dangerous business plan when shared crises demand Americans' empathy, negotiation and compromise.

Fox's talk of hate undermines democratic values like tolerance and reduces Americans' trust of their fellow citizens.

This fraying of social ties helps explain America's failures in managing the pandemic – and bodes badly for its handling of what seems likely to be a chaotic, divisive presidential election. In pitting its viewers against the rest of the country, Fox News works against potential solutions to the the very crises it covers.


Curd Knüpfer is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin.

Robert Mathew Entman is J.B. and M.C. Shapiro Professor Emeritus of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.

This article first appeared on The Conversation. You can read it here.


Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

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Thanks to one YouTube poster with a passion for animals and an endearing sense of humor, all questions shall be answered. Well, maybe not all questions. But at the very least, you’ll have eight minutes of insanely cute footage.

In a series titled “Tiny Mic Interviews,” Maya Higa approaches little beasties with a microphone so small she has to hold it with just her thumb and forefinger. And yes, 99% of the animals try to eat it.

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
True

The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

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In Canada, about 29,000 infants are born prematurely each year, roughly 1 in every 13. But in the United States, around 400,000 to 500,000 are born early. That's about 1 in every 8 to 10 babies born in the U.S.!

Red Méthot, a Canadian photographer and student, decided to capture the resilience of many of these kids for a school photography project.

He's the father of two prematurely born kids himself, so the topic is important to him.

"My son was born at 29 weeks and my daughter at 33 weeks," he told me in a phone interview. "These are the kind of pictures I would like to have seen when my first child was born — they've been through that, and they are great now."

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