Health care debate dominates news media


The push to pass health care reform in the US House of Representatives was by far the dominant story in the news during the week of 3/15-21/10, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism. In fact, it’s the first time in awhile that one issue dominated like this – the story took 37% of all available time and space. No other made it into double-digits.

Only two media had a second double digit story on the individual charts, newspaper and radio, and in both cases the story was the economic crisis. It was #2 overall with 8%, claimed 13% of newspaper coverage and grabbed 10% of radio’s news time.

Online services paid the least amount of attention to health care, giving it 22% of its attention. Radio lavished 52% of its time, which was still not enough to match cable’s 57% health care tunnel vision.

Story Overall Newspaper Online NetTV CATV Radio
Health care debate 37% 28% 22% 30% 57% 52%
Economic crisis 8% 13% 7% 7% 6% 10%
Toyota recall 4% x 9% 5% x 2%
Israeli-Palestinian conflict 4% x 6% 4% 2% 5%
Afghanistan 3% 5% 6% x 1% 3%
Education system 3% 6% 2% x 4% x
Obama administration 2% 7% x x x 1%
Mexican drug war 2% 2% x 4% 2% x
China 2% 2% 5% x x x
ND floods 2% x 2% x 1% 2%
Cyberspace issues x 3% x x x x
Domestic terrorism x 3% x x x x
Taxes x 2% x x x x
NCAA basketball x x 3% 3% x x
Thailand protests x x 2% x x x
Mid-Atlantic storms/floods x x x 5% x x
Red River flood x x x 5% x x
Tiger Woods x x x 3% x x
Catholic priest abuse scandal x x x 3% x x
John Edwards x x x x 2% x
War on Terror x x x x 1% x
Haiti earthquake x x x x 1% 3%
Republic of Georgia x x x x x 1%
2010 elections x x x x x 1%

Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism