Two nightly news programs on different networks – Fox’s Special Report with Brett Baier and CNN’s John King USA – have varying foci of coverage on policy issues. Over one quarter (26%) of the discussion on both programs is the economy. It has been a constant throughout the GOP Primaries and the general election to date that jobs and the economy are the number one issue, so this is not a surprise.
Differences arise once we look at the coverage of the other policy issues. Fox’s Special Report with Brett Baier has focused much more on energy (red) and social issues (green). A combined 35% of discussion in Baier’s program focused on those two policy issues. Energy Issue includes discussion of gas prices, the keystone pipeline and offshore drilling. Social Issues includes women’s rights, contraception, family values, abortion, gay marriage, etc. In contrast, CNN’s John King USA only discussed energy and social issues 23% of the time. King’s program discussed foreign policy almost twice as much (14%) as Baier’s (8%).
Lastly, CNN’s John King USA overall coverage shows slightly more diversity in policy discussion. King’s program focused on the top five policy issues 70% of the time, with other policy issues consuming 30% of coverage. On the other hand, the top five policy issues in Baier’s program consumed 79% of the discussion, with other policy issues getting 21% of the discussion.