Cryptocurrency and the mainstream media have never got on particularly well, but now the media’s feeling towards Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been laid bare by research from iGaming company Clovr. Clovr analyzed 7,527 cryptocurrency-related articles from 48 media outlets between January 1, 2013 and July 31, 2018, using an algorithm that assessed broad sentiment in the pieces. Clovr found patterns in a number of areas, from reader age to the political leanings of the publications, as well as Bitcoin’s price action at the time.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the total amount of cryptocurrency coverage increased with heavy price action, first during the 2013 bull run and then on a far bigger scale during the 2017 bull run. At its peak, 2013 saw around 30 articles per week in the mainstream media, while the 2017 peak saw over 400. In terms of sentiment, some publications that were “glowing” in the early days of Bitcoin turned negative as time went on and the price went up, with spikes in negative news occurring after big crashes.
Some outlets in particular have held very strong views over time, with The Wall Street Journal – perhaps unsurprisingly – reporting with a 70% negative crypto bias and Reuters topping that with a 77.5% negative bias. Alternately, Forbes has been 80% positive in their reporting while CNET leads the way in the pro-crypto stakes with an 87.7% positive bias.
Clovr also found that the average age of the readership and political leanings of the publications had a huge impact on their reporting. Established mainstream outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Financial Times are particularly harsh with their cryptocurrency coverage, while those that are skewed towards a younger readership, such as Forbes and Business Insider, tended to be more positive than average. It can be assumed that the dissenting voices of influential individuals like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates had an impact on the more traditional publications, who are always ready to engage in a spot of Bitcoin bashing.
Times, They are (Not) a Changin’
The 2017-18 market cycle seems to have cemented the views of many publications, especially the more traditional ones. It is hard to see what will change their minds, except for positive exposure to cryptocurrencies or mass adoption leading to a change in viewpoint from the general public. It’s safe to assume that in the short to medium term these views will be reinforced rather than challenged. In many ways it’s up to cryptocurrencies to force a change with genuine use cases that counter the arguments such publications put forward.