Citation de la semaine
"Politically, Republicans are relieved by Obama's weak start. Obama allowed the GOP to begin the term with a reinvigorating series of intellectually successful assaults on the stimulus bill."
—Weekly Standard's William Kristol

Poids média de l'actualité américaine (9-15 février) selon le Pew Research Center:

Actualité États-Unis

Actualité États-Unis

Stimulus Success Shifts the Storyline

Whatever difficulties Barack Obama has faced in controlling the tone of his coverage as President, he has surely dictated the subject matter. Obama made the economic crisis his top priority, and in his first weeks in office, coverage of the meltdown has overwhelmed the news agenda.

The President may not control the message, but he still controls the agenda.

The week of Feb 9-15, the financial crisis filled 47% of the newshole as measured by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. That is the highest level of attention to any story since the final week of the presidential campaign consumed 54% of the time on TV and radio and space in print and online from Oct. 27-Nov. 2.

To put that into further perspective, in the first two months of 2008—which included key contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as well as Super Tuesday—the campaign accounted for 44% of all coverage studied. In the three full weeks since Obama’s inauguration, the economic crisis has accounted for 46%.

Last week, which ended with a stimulus bill on the President’s desk, also brought some change to the tone of coverage. A week earlier, with the stimulus bogged down in partisan rancor and Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle withdrawing from Cabinet consideration, media commentary reinforced the theme of Obama’s rocky start.

But the narrative was kinder to the President last week, with the stimulus approved (albeit with only three GOP votes) and polls showing Obama still enjoying high public approval ratings. On the media scorecard, apparently, a big legislative victory—even an imperfect one—goes into the win column.

And the most recent Cabinet glitch—Republican Judd Gregg’s withdrawal last week from Commerce Secretary consideration—didn’t have the same resonance as some previous ones. Coverage of the mechanics of the new administration—which included the Gregg episode—was at only 6% of the newshole. A week earlier, with the Daschle debacle as chief storyline, administration coverage filled nearly three times as much newshole (17%).

With the political struggle over the stimulus over, at least for now, one question is whether the news agenda will begin to broaden. Washington fights make it easy for the press to converge, cover and commentate. But as the Obama agenda now fans out to deal with everything from Afghanistan to Detroit, to what extent will the media follow?

Stimulus Success Shifts the Storyline