This post is the continuation of our media monitoring series examining coverage behavior of various media outlets during Election 2012. Today’s post discusses the statistical data analysis of the sourcing and sentiment behaviors of the Wall Street Journal, with a focus on their coverage of fiscal issues.
WSJ Covered Fiscal Issues More Heavily Than Other Print Outlets
The Wall Street Journal dedicated more coverage than the average print outlet in 4th Estate’s statistical data sample when it came to fiscal issues such as the Economy, Taxes, and Entitlements. Over 18% of the Journal’s coverage was about the Economy, almost 5% more than the average of the rest of the print outlets in our sample. In addition, the Journal covered Entitlements almost 1% more on average. The largest discrepancy on fiscal issue coverage was concerning the coverage of Taxes. The Journal covered Taxes more than twice as much as the average of the rest of the print outlets in our sample.
Another major contrast between the Journal and other print outlets in our sample was the coverage of Social Issues. On average, Social Issues were covered almost 6% of the time from May to November, while the Journal dedicated under 3% of their coverage to Social Issues. This 3% was lower than almost all other outlets, and was significantly less than a number of print outlets such as the San Francisco Chronicle, which dedicated 16.5% of their coverage from May through November to Social Issues.
Candidates Defined Journal Coverage on Fiscal Topics
In the Journal’s coverage from May to November on the Economy, Taxes, and Entitlements, candidates and their running mates had the highest VoiceShare; a full 44.2% of the statements about the three fiscal topics came from Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Joe Biden combined. While Obama and Romney had very similar VoiceShare’s on the three topics overall, Romney had much more coverage on Entitlements. Between Ryan and Biden, the GOP running mate received twice as much coverage as Biden. Like Romney, Ryan received significant coverage regarding Entitlements. The Journal coverage for the GOP team on Entitlements consisted mainly of Medicare discussion, and the syndication of Romney’s disastrous “47%” comment.
Citizen Newsmakers Dominated VoiceShare in Journal Coverage of Fiscal Topics
Among newsmakers outside of the campaigns, the Journal quoted citizens much more than other newsmaker types. In the final stretch of the campaign, citizens played an increasingly larger role in all print media. In the Journal, almost 40% of all statements about the Economy, Taxes, and Entitlements among newsmakers outside of the campaigns came from citizens. Unsurprisingly, Corporate Officials also had significant VoiceShare, followed by Partisans, Former Politicians, and State or Local Officials.
Obama received significant negative coverage from these newsmakers on the topics of Economy, Taxes, and Entitlements – 24.8% of all statements in the Journal made by newsmakers not connected to the two campaigns were negative to Obama, while just 7.5% were negative to Romney. Coverage from Citizen newsmakers was especially unfavorable toward Obama, with 26.2% of their statements about the three topics being negative toward him, and only 7.7% positive.
While the Journal maintained a balanced sentiment in their ‘granted’ coverage to Obama and Romney on the Economy, Taxes, and Entitlements, the majority of the coverage from newsmakers outside of the campaigns was largely negative to Obama.