The Project for Excellence in Journalism talker topic index for 5/20-25/07, as per usual, followed and amplified the news, at the top of the chart anyway. The top news stories for that week were immigration and the Iraq policy debate, both with 10% of the newshole. Talkers gave immigration 24% of their time and/or space, and another 15% to the policy debate. For the record, even though the 2008 campaign registered a quiet 6% on the news chart, talkers pumped it up to 13% on their own ranker list. However, PEJ was interested in the talker's interest in two non-top-10 news items, however. Both were adult versions of playground fights, the O'Donnell/Hasselbeck flap on "The View" and Jimmy Carter's verbal assault on the Bush administration. They rated 5% and 3% on the Talk chart. PEJ noted, "One of the things the talk show culture seems to appreciate is a good fight – particularly one with ideological implications."
RBR observation: We would note a certain cannibalistic strain in O'Donnell's case, which happened, after all, on a talk show. Many talkers seem to relish getting into a good verbal fight, and this time, they are feasting on one of their own.