The U.S. media was transfixed by the 18 days of protests in Egypt that culminated in President Hosni Mubarak stepping down, but not every news outlet covered the story in the same way. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, Fox News' coverage diverged--both in tone and in language--from its rivals, CNN and MSNBC.
An analysis by Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism suggests that Fox expressed greater concern for how events in Egypt would affect America's security interests and relationship with Israel. When Egyptian Vice President Omar
Suleiman announced on February 11 that Mubarak was relinquishing power, PEJ notes, CNN's Ivan Watson discussed the "scenes of rapture" and shouts of "freedom!" in Cairo's Tahrir Square and MSNBC's Ron Allen described the "huge celebration" and the "feeling of just captivity" that Egyptians had under Mubarak.
PEJ claims that on Fox, the tone was different in the wake of Mubarak's resignation:
[Anchor] Megyn Kelly said: "One feels joy for those who are watching on screen left [but] there is concern for the United States of America and Israel at this hour." She interviewed a former intelligence officer who warned, "this is a very dangerous time for U.S. policy interests…Iran really is in position to be resurgent here."
PEJ also states that Fox used the terms "Muslim Brotherhood" five
times as often and "Israel" twice as often as CNN and MSNBC combined, and highlights the reactions of two high-profile anchors in particular:
Fox News host Sean Hannity and his colleague Glenn Beck were among those in the media expressing the most concern about the ouster of Mubarak. On his February 11 program, Hannity declared that "at the end of the day, I think we have weakened America's influence in the world" and he warned that the Muslim Brotherhood or a Muslim state could emerge.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.