PublicationsAugust 27, 2009

In Social Media, Zombies and Cocaine are the Hot Topics

Health care or zombies and cocaine? In the debate over which is better fodder for discussion, social media last week chose the latter pair—a simulation of a worldwide zombie attack and traces of cocaine on much of the U.S. currency. On YouTube, though, confrontations from the health care town hall meetings captured the most eyeballs.

PublicationsAugust 26, 2009

Clunkers Make Good Copy

While coverage of the financial crisis and economy has diminished in recent months, it remains a major summer story.  And the most prevalent economic storyline in recent weeks doesn’t involve the housing market, unemployment numbers, troubled banks or the stimulus package.

PublicationsAugust 24, 2009

Health Care, Afghanistan Emerge as the Summer’s Big Stories

The fight over health care legislation continued to dominate the news, but with a narrative twist that was tough on Barack Obama. And a crucial election kept the spotlight on Afghanistan, a conflict increasingly showing up in the headlines.

PublicationsAugust 20, 2009

Heated Health Care Battle Explodes in the Blogosphere

For the first week all year, health care was the leading topic of conversation among bloggers. And it was an often contentious conversation as liberals and conservatives accused each other of spreading untruths—and sometimes worse. On Twitter, technology-focused stories led the agenda as Iran dropped out of the top story list for the first time since the disputed June 12 elections.

PublicationsAugust 19, 2009

The “Other” War Starts Making News

Although U.S. troops have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan since 2001, for most of that time the conflict has generated only modest press attention. But lately, with the conflict escalating and the Obama administration making it a strategic priority, the media are beginning to take more notice.

PublicationsAugust 17, 2009

Anger and Rancor Fuel Cable’s Health Care Coverage

Coverage of the debate over health care policy increased dramatically, dominating the news agenda last week. But with contentious shouting matches and overheated rhetoric driving the narrative, America’s news consumers may have gotten more heat than light.

PublicationsAugust 13, 2009

Twitter Troubles are the Top Topic for Tweeters

Last week, for the first time in two months, the most discussed news story on Twitter was something other than unrest in Iran. Instead, it was Twitter itself and the outage the site faced on August 6. In the blogosphere, attention was focused on an unusual lawsuit. And on YouTube, the top videos involved rising political temperatures in the dog days of summer.

PublicationsAugust 12, 2009

Plane Crashes in the News

The turbulent August 3 Continental flight and the deadly Hudson River crash five days later are two of the most recent air travel accidents to attract media attention. And according to PEJ’s News Coverage Index, 2009 has been, sadly, a busy year when it comes to air disasters in the headlines.

PublicationsAugust 12, 2009

The Starting Line–Media Coverage of the Faith-Based Initiative in the First Six Months of 2001 and 2009

One common thread between the Obama and Bush administrations is their commitment to advancing the “faith-based” initiative. Yet a new study by PEJ and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that the media created two very different narratives in the early days of the two presidencies.

PublicationsAugust 10, 2009

Town Hall Showdowns Fuel Health Care Coverage

Last week, the health care debate remained the lead story as talk hosts argued about whether the confrontations between protestors and politicians were genuine or choreographed. And thanks to a dramatic prisoner release in North Korea, a former president made almost as much news as the current one.