Research suggests that when it comes to covering bitcoin, bad news sells.
According to a study conducted by blockchain firm Clovr, the coverage of bitcoin by the mainstream media peaked at the time when the cryptocurrency fell from its all-time high at the beginning of this year.
While coverage of bitcoin by the mainstream media was also high during the run-up to the historic price high, it was not as high as in the aftermath of the price crashing, the Clovr report noted. The same pattern of coverage being heightened during other notable price declines also repeated itself in the first seven months of this year:
"The appeal of reporting disaster might explain more recent trends in coverage as well; in May and June 2018, for example, a slide in value correlated with a temporary increase in articles."
Who is to Blame?
While mainstream media could be apportioned some blame for their heightened coverage during ‘disasters’, consumers cannot escape blame either as they could be dictating this. For instance, the recent drop in the price of bitcoin from a key support level also coincided with searches for the bitcoin keyword on Google search engine reaching an eight-month high, suggesting that consumer demand is a key factor in driving coverage.
— Btctools (@Btctools) November 29, 2018
The Clovr report also noted that in its infancy the coverage bitcoin received was mostly positive, but that has changed as the flagship cryptocurrency gained in stature. According to Clovr, there were more positive articles on bitcoin as recently as two years ago but by mid last year, as the price surged, the number of articles with negative sentiment increased.
The situation got worse towards the end of last year when the price of bitcoin plunged with the number of negative articles multiplying.
Anti-bitcoin Stance on the Right?
Per Clovr, technology media outlets, as well as the media outlets that skew conservative and centrist, demonstrated more negative sentiment in their coverage than positive. Conservative media outlets had the highest level of negative sentiment – 88.7% negative versus 11.3% positive.
On centrist media outlets, the proportion of bitcoin coverage deemed negative was 68.2% versus 31.8% positive. With regards to technology publications, the percentage of stories with negative sentiment was 57.7% against 42.3% positive.
On the other hand, media outlets that skew liberal and the financial and economic media houses had more positive stories on bitcoin than negative. The percentage of positive sentiment stories on bitcoin on liberal media outlets was 51.7% versus 48.3% negative. Financial/economic publications and channels had the highest level of bitcoin coverage that was positive – at 54.4% versus 45.6% negative.
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