Saturday, February 6, 2010

U.S. Media Coverage Of Iraq Down, And Almost Out

Iraq has largely faded from the headlines of America’s media. From 2002-2008 it was one of the leading stories in the country, regularly making the top ten across the various media formats. Beginning in 2007 however, the press began to steadily reduce their coverage. In the first quarter of that year, Iraq made up 22.3% of all stories in America. By the last quarter of the year, it was down to 8.7%. For all of 2007, Iraq still accounted for 15.5% of reporting in the United States. 

By 2009 however, the war had dropped to just 0.4% of stories. In June 2009 for example, Iraq was not only not in the top ten stories in the country, it failed to break the top ten in any media format from newspapers to cable and broadcast TV to radio to the internet. Only in 11 of the 58 weeks that the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism analyzed last year did Iraq break the top ten. Of those weeks, the biggest event was the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq’s cities on June 30, which received 6% of media coverage. After that, the only time Iraq broke the top ten was when Baghdad was hit with huge bombings of government buildings occurring in August, October, and December 2009. 

U.S. Media Coverage Of Iraq - 2009


America’s media largely follows the lead of Washington. When the country’s politicians and elite are not talking about a topic, neither is the press. Iraq has fallen off the front pages of newspapers and the screens of TV stations because the government has moved onto other issues. The presidential campaign and the recession were two of the most important ones. Since then, only statements by the White House or large outbursts of violence like the Baghdad attacks will raise the attention of the media. 2010 is probably more of the same. The March election will garner some coverage, followed by the planned withdrawal of combat troops from the country afterward, but after those, unless a large number of Iraqis are killed in some incident Iraq cannot expect to get many stories in the U.S.

SOURCES

Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, “Iraq – The Incredible Shrinking Story,” 7/9/09
- “PEJ News Coverage Index – Top Ten News Stories By Percent,” 1/5/09
- “PEJ News Coverage Index – Top Ten News Stories By Percent,” 1/12/09
- “PEJ News Coverage Index – Top Ten News Stories By Percent,” 1/27/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: April 6-12, 2009,” 4/13/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: April 13-29, 2009,” 4/14/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector April 27-May 3, 2009,” 5/4/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: August 3-9, 2009,” 8/10/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: August 10-16, 2009,” 8/17/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: August 17-23, 2009,” 8/24/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: August 24-30, 2009,” 8/31/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: August 31-September 6, 2009,” 9/7/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: December 7-13, 2009,” 12/14/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: December 14-20, 2009,” 12/22/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: February 2-8, 2009,” 2/9/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: February 9-15, 2009,” 2/17/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: February 16-22, 2009,” 2/23/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: February 23-March 1, 2009,” 3/3/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: January 26-February 1, 2009,” 2/3/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: June 1-7, 2009,” 6/8/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: June 8-14, 2009,” 6/15/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: June 15-21, 2009,” 6/22/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: June 22-28, 2009,” 6/29/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: June 29-July 5, 2009,” 7/7/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: July 6-12, 2009,” 7/13/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: July 13-19, 2009,” 7/20/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: July 20-26, 2009,” 7/27/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: July 27-August 2, 2009,” 8/3/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: March 2-8, 2009,” 3/9/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: March 9-15, 2009,” 3/16/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: March 9-15, 2009,” 3/16/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: March 16-22, 2009,” 3/23/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: March 23-29, 2009,” 3/30/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: March 30-April 5, 2009,” 4/6/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: May 4-10, 2009,” 5/11/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: May 11-17, 2009,” 5/18/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: May 18-24, 2009,” 5/26/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: May 25-31, 2009,” 6/1/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: November 2-8,2009,” 11/9/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: November 9-15, 2009,” 11/16/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: November 16-22, 2009,” 11/23/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: November 30-December 6, 2009,” 12/7/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector, October 5-11, 2009,” 10/12/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: October 12-18,2009,” 10/19/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: October 19-25, 2009,” 10/26/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: October 26-November 1, 2009,” 11/2/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: September 7-13, 2009,” 9/14/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: September 14-20, 2009,” 9/21/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: September 21-27, 2009,” 9/28/09
- “Top Ten Story Data by Sector: September 28-October 4, 2009,” 10/5/09


2 comments:

Jason Dunn said...

Any update on this story with aditional data?

Joel Wing said...

Jason, I use to do monthly updates of the US media coverage but it got so low I stopped. Just from looking at the papers everyday as I do my research I would estimate that it has not gotten any better. It's been several days since the Ny Times or Wash Post for example have had a story on Iraq.

3 Protesters Killed By Police In Dhi Qar

(Al Nasiriya) Three protesters have been killed in recent days by police in Nasiriya the provincial capital of Dhi Qar. That city has seen t...