PEJ News Coverage Index: Feb. 9 - 15, 2009, Stimulus Success Shifts the Storyline

  • February 18, 2009

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%. 

Read the full report Stimulus Success Shifts the Storyline on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.