Fueled by the spectacle of a televised bi-partisan meeting on the deeply polarizing issue, the health care debate re-ignited last week to dominate the news agenda.
From February 22-28, health care was the No. 1 story, filling 24% of the newshole according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. That represented a dramatic spike in coverage for a subject that accounted for only 4% of the newshole the previous week and had been recently overshadowed by the economy, the Haiti earthquake and big snowstorms.
Two closely related events fueled the narrative, according to PEJ's weekly News Coverage Index. First came President Obama's February 22 unveiling of his White House health care plan. That was followed, three days later, by the Blair House summit that much of the media viewed a fascinating exercise that did little but highlight the gaping chasm between Republicans and Democrats.
The No. 2 story last week, at 11%, was the U.S. economy. And a key storyline was a rare display of bi-partisanship in the Senate with the passage of a jobs bill.
Read the full report After Lengthy Hiatus, Health Care Dominates Again on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.