Citation de la semaine
"The last thing the President wanted was a high-profile ceremony as he signed a bill stuffed with pork barrel spending — including such items as $950,000 for a Myrtle Beach South Carolina convention center and $238,000 for a Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawaii."
—Chip Reid (ABC News) about the $410 billion spending package

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

Actualité États-Unis

Actualité États-Unis

Actualité États-Unis

Media Focus on Economic Villains: Bonuses, Bernie and Blather

In a week highlighted by a rise in the stock market and a showdown between a comedian and cable host, the financial crisis was again the top story in the news—by a wide margin.

The economic meltdown, with its spreading storylines, accounted for 35% of the newshole from March 9-15, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Related stories, such as the Bernard Madoff scandal and problems in the auto industry, added another 8%, as measured by PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index, an examination of 55 different mainstream news outlets across five media sectors.

Last week, the narrative seemed to focus more on what had been a smaller but ongoing element, the hunt for people or institutions that appear to embody the nearly unbridled excess that contributed to the unraveling of the financial system.

One earlier example was former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, who generated attention and scorn for spending more than $1 million to refurbish his office. Or troubled Citigroup, recipient of billions in bailout money, which made headlines with plans to buy a $50-million jet—before reversing course.

Last week, that spotlight moved back onto insurance giant and multiple-bailout recipient AIG, which was lampooned as a financial “black hole” by late night host Jay Leno. Over the weekend, AIG also made front-page news that provoked populist and political outrage after revelations the company would pay a reported $165 million in bonuses despite taking $170 billion in federal funds, and the storyline appeared to be spilling over into this week as week as well.

Another culprit also emerged during the week—the media itself, particularly the financial cable news channel CNBC. Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show, had recently spent time fingering CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer, among others. Things culminated on March 12, when Stewart, channeling Mike Wallace, grilled Cramer and accused CNBC of abandoning journalism for cheerleading in the run-up to the Wall Street collapse. The encounter, complete with Stewart’s four-letter expletives, became an instant online video hit and made its way to the White House, where Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters he had “enjoyed it thoroughly.” By week’s end, the feud had become a major event in the mainstream press, page one material and a Twitter favorite.

Madoff, perhaps the single-most-visible villain in this run of economic bad news, also attracted substantial attention last week for pleading guilty to bilking investors in a $65 billion Ponzi scheme. By himself, Madoff was the No. 3 story of the week, filling 7% of the newshole.

Media Focus on Economic Villains: Bonuses, Bernie and Blather