This study examines the level of politicization and polarization in COVID-19 news in U.S. newspapers and televised network news from March to May 2020. Using multiple computer-assisted content analytic approaches, we find that newspaper coverage is highly politicized, network news coverage somewhat less so, and both newspaper and network news coverage are highly polarized. We find that politicians appear in newspaper coverage more frequently than scientists, whereas politicians and scientists are more equally featured in network news. We suggest that the high degree of politicization and polarization in initial COVID-19 coverage may have contributed to polarization in U.S. COVID-19 attitudes.
Hart, P. S., Chinn, S., & Soroka, S. (2020). Politicization and Polarization in COVID-19 News Coverage. Science Communication, 42(5), 679–697. https://doi.org/10.1177/1075547020950735