Talkers double down on Iran


It was all because of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the US. During the week of 9/23-28/07, the visit propelled Iran to the top of the Project for Excellence in Jounalism coverage chart with 13% of the newshole. Talkers found this story to be over twice as fascinating, giving it 28% of their time. They also came close to doubling the news focus on the 2008 election – newsers gave it 11%, talkers 20%. PEJ felt compelled to comment on a general difference between the two types of current events practioners. Whereas journalists strive to stay out of the way of the story, and talkers are known for bringing their attitude to bear on the news, the week featured two talkers – Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh – becoming stories themselves due to their remarks on two completely unrelated topics.

RBR observation: For newsers, such a situation is generally cause for embarrassment; but for talkers, it can be cause for increased ratings, especially in Limbaugh’s case. His "phony soldiers" remark was inextricably tied to the earlier "General Betray-us" incident and had Congress up in arms. But for all the heat Limbaugh took, there was no shortage of media voices rushing to his defense, nor was there a rush of paying advertisers from his show.