Bailout trumps the election again


For the second week in a row, the major troubles afflicting the US financial system outdrew attention from the media, which has spent most of the year giving rapt attention to the presidential campaign.

According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism study for the week of 9/22/08-9/28/08, the effort to bail out Wall Street grabbed 40% of the newshole, compared to a still robust 33% for the 2008 campaign. It certainly underscores the severity of the financial situation, however – since the campaign has occupied the top slot during almost every week this year and given the fact that the election is only about five weeks away, it’s amazing that any story is able to beat it out.

Of course, the Wall Street meltdown will play out as a campaign issue, and is already feeding that story any way. No other story was able to bust in for more than 2% of overall media coverage.

Story Overall Newspaper Online NetTV CATV Radio
Financial crisis 40% 45% 29% 42% 41% 40%
2008 campaign 33% 19% 28% 37% 51% 32%
Hurricane Ike 2% x 6% 3% 1% 1%
US economy 2% 2% 4% 1% 1% 1%
Pakistan 2% 1% 4% 2% x 1%
Paul Newman dies 2% 6% x x x x
China 1% x 5% 1% x 2%
Iran 1% x 2% 1% 2% 2%
Gas/oil prices 1% x 3% x x x
Events in Iraq 1% 2% x x x 1%
Catholic priest abuse scandal x 2% x x x x
Sudan/Darfur x 2% x x x x
Anthrax case x 1% x x x x
Global warming x 1% x x x x
Finland school shooting x x 2% x x x
OJ Simpson x x 1% 1% x x
Tropical Storm Kyle x x x 1% x x
Cyberspace issues x x x 1% x x
Congressional campaigns x x x x <1% x
Immigration debate x x x x <1% x
US auto industry x x x x <1% x
War on Terror x x x x <1% x
Missing girl in FL x x x x <1% x
Energy debate x x x x x 1%
Russia x x x x x 1%
Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism