Citation de la semaine
"Wall Street, as one analyst I spoke to put it today, is underwhelmed by what’s going on in Washington"
—Betsy Stark (ABC News) about Obama’s stimulus and financial sector bailout plans
Poids média de l'actualité américaine (2-8 mars) selon le Pew Research Center:
Falling Stocks and Rising Rush Fuel the News
Last week, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to a 12-year low, coverage of the ever-worsening economic crisis shifted again to yet a new narrative.
Led by falling stock prices, the financial meltdown accounted for 43% of the newshole from March 2-8 as measured by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. That is up modestly from the previous week when the story registered at 38% of the newshole.
In the six full weeks since President Obama’s inaugural—January 26-March 8—the economic crisis has accounted for 43% of the newshole. (And that does not include related stories, such as the U.S. auto industry or Obama’s February 24 speech to Congress.) That is roughly six times more than the next biggest story—the logistics and evaluations of the new administration—which registered at 7%.
These numbers for the floundering economy in 2009 conjure up comparisons to the Presidential election in 2008. It is an ongoing saga that shows no signs of abating (at least the campaign had an ending date) and is consuming the overwhelming share of media attention. In the same period in 2008—one that included Super Tuesday and other key primaries—the election filled 46% of the newshole, and the economy was the second-biggest story at 6%. The numbers are remarkably similar.
Aside from the sheer gravity of the situation—comparisons to the Great Depression are increasingly creeping into the media narrative—the other striking feature in the coverage is the complexity and breadth of the economic problems, which also suggest a story with massive staying power. Last week marked the fourth time in four weeks that a different component of the crisis was the top storyline.
As the key player in the economy story, Obama has easily been the top newsmaker since taking office. But last week he shared some headlines with a subject at least partly of his own choosing. The No. 2 story, at 8%, revolved around Republican Party leadership with the focus on conservative radio talk host Rush Limbaugh. The White House and other Democrats are aggressively portraying Limbaugh as the GOP’s de facto leader, a task made somewhat easier when Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele became the latest member of his party to follow critical comments about Limbaugh with a quick mea culpa.
Obama versus Limbaugh was, in many ways, a classic tale of political tactics and inside-the-Beltway intrigue. But last week, it may have offered the media—and news consumers—a bit of a distraction from pink slips, zombie banks and fleeing investors.