PEJ Campaign Coverage Index: September 22 - 28, 2008, Media Narrative Whipsaws Between Bailout and Debate

  • September 30, 2008

From the halls of the Capitol to the campus of Ole Miss, it was a week of high drama in the campaign.

The tension was driven by the intersection of two major storylines—the Administration plan to bail out the credit markets and the first presidential debate. And the drama of the week suggested that a national crisis and campaign for president do not easily mix. When it was over, the candidate who appeared to try harder to seize the moment may have had the tougher week.

After what the Sept. 28 Washington Post characterized as “A Wild Week on the Trail,” the paper ran a Page One headline that may have summed things up: “McCain Ready for a Change of Subject.”

For the second week in a row, what has been called the gravest economic crisis since the Depression generated more coverage than the election. It filled 40% of the time studied on television and radio and space in print and online for Sept. 22-28, according to the News Coverage Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. And it further raised the possibility that the economy may frame the coming days of the election narrative.

Read the full report Media Narrative Whipsaws Between Bailout and Debate on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.