How often are books and bookshelves seen on television news? The timeline below used AI to scan every second of news programming across BBC News London, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News since the start of last year to count how many seconds per day a book was visible somewhere onscreen. Pre-pandemic, books were seen just a few minutes a day on each channel, but in the middle of March 2020, as lockdowns spread and television news presenters, personalities and guests were suddenly forced to present from home, many positioned their cameras in front of their bookshelves. All four channels show a marked rise in books starting in the middle of last March, with books visible on CNN and Fox News around 5 minutes a day over the past year and a half, while books are visible on BBC News and MSNBC for more than 30 minutes on a typical day.
In all, books have been visible on MSNBC for more than 287 hours of airtime since the start of last year, followed closely by BBC News London with 281 hours. CNN is a distant third with 75 hours, with books visible on Fox News just 53 hours over that time period.