If it has seemed like you were bombarded with stories about health-care reform each time you turned on a TV, read a newspaper or browsed the Web, that's because the health-care debate accounted more than a third of the total media coverage last week, according to the latest data from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The report found:
Last minute deal-making, vote counting and suspense over a package of measures approved Sunday by the House of Representatives consumed 37% of the newshole during the week of March 15-21, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. That topped the previous high of 32%, which occurred twice before: during the week of August 10-16, when tempers were flaring at town hall meetings, and from September 7-13, when President Obama addressed the issue in speech before a joint session of Congress that was marred by heckling.
But the two most surprising findings were:
- By a ratio of nearly three-to-one, stories involving the politics and strategy of the reform effort exceeded stories about what was actually in the bills.
- 80% of the airtime on the 10 radio and cable television talk shows studied was devoted to the health care story last week.