PEJ News Coverage Index: March 18 - 23, 2007, The Scent of Scandal Makes Gonzales the Big Story

  • March 27, 2007
  • By Mark Jurkowitz

After a news report on embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, National Public Radio's March 23 “Morning Edition” program raised a crucial question about Washington's scandal du jour.

“The controversy over the firings of the U.S. attorneys has consumed official Washington,” said host Renee Montagne. “But what is the public reaction to this story?”

“Really kind of minimal,” responded NPR's political editor Ken Rudin. “If you look at polls, not many people are paying attention to it, but those who are are really outraged…”

The people paying the most attention are journalists, according to PEJ's News Coverage Index. The fallout over the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys was not only the biggest story last week, March 18-23, it really amounts at this point to a mega story. Filling 18% of the overall newshole, it was the second-biggest story of the year. The only one to receive more coverage was the debate over the Iraq war, which filled 34% of the newshole the week in January when President Bush announced his troop “surge” plan.

Read the full article and view charts on the Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.