Other news topics anemic in face of health care onslaught


All media agreed: The endgame in the Congressional battle over health care was far and away the top story for the week of 3/22-28/10, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism. It got almost half of all available time and space, and commanded a whopping 68% of CATV’s attention.

All but radio put the economic crisis 2nd, and although radio precisely hit the total share of coverage the story got – 9% — radio gave 10% to stories PEJ lumped under the heading “talk show host wars.”

After the top two stories on the total media chart, nothing got more than 3%, and in that vacuum, there was room for a wide variety of stories to show up on individual media charts despite lacking the general interest necessary to make the overall top ten list.

Overall, health care won the week with 45%. The least coverage, far below cable’s tunnel-vision level was the 29% it received from newspaper, which generally tends to be the most balanced news medium.

Story Overall Newspaper Online NetTV CATV Radio
Health care debate 45% 29% 39% 46% 68% 38%
Economic crisis 9% 12% 13% 8% 4% 9%
Israeli-Palestinian conflict 3% x 4% 2% 3% 6%
Catholic abuse scandal 3% 2% 7% 5% x x
China 3% 6% 3% 3% x x
2010 elections 2% 2% 2% 4% 3% 2%
Russia 2% 3% 2% x 1% x
Education system 1% x x 3% x x
Talk show host wars 1% x x x x 10%
Obama administration 1% 2% x x 1% 3%
Cuba x 5% x x x x
Domestic terrorism x 4% x x x x
Afghanistan x 2% x x x x
NCAA basketball x x 3% 2% x x
David Paterson scandals x x 2% x x x
Mexican drug war x x 2% x x 3%
Yemen & War on Terror x x x 2% x x
Tiger Woods x x x 2% x x
Events in Iraq x x x x 1% x
Sarah Palin x x x x 1% x
Same-sex marriage x x x x 1% x
War on Terror x x x x 1% x
Haiti earthquake x x x x x 3%
Cyberspace issues x x x x x 2%
Immigration debate x x x x x 1%
Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism