Apr 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

Partisan publishers plateau amid pandemic

Data: CrowdTangle; Chart: Axios Visuals (Data includes Facebook engagement with 8 partisan publishers on the left, 8 partisan publishers on the right, 8 national news publishers and 8 local news publishers)

New data from CrowdTangle shows that engagement for national and local news sources on Facebook is exploding during the coronavirus pandemic, while engagement with hyper-partisan publishers is hardly growing.

Why it matters: Consumers are looking to local and national outlets with authority to understand the impact of the virus on their health, the economy and their communities. This is different from the past few years, when hyper-partisan publishers dominated engagement on Facebook.

Driving the news: According to the data, engagement with stories from local outlets, like Detroit Free Press and Tampa Bay Times, as well as national outlets, like The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, has spiked dramatically, but traffic to several hyper-partisan sites has only grown modestly.

  • Some partisan publishers like dailykos.com and infowars.com similarly aren't seeing as heavy bumps in page views compared to some select local and national outlets like foxnews.com, washingtonpost.com and cnbc.com, or local outlets like seattletimes.com or bostonglobe.com, the N.Y. Times reports.
  • Partisan publisher traffic spiked in early February around the time of President Trump's acquittal in the impeachment trial.

Between the lines: According to the latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, most people say they have a great deal of trust in local news outlets and national newspapers, compared to cable news, which tends to be more partisan.

The bottom line: For the first time in several years, political stories are not at the center of our nation's psyche.

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