Discussion of Medicare and Ryan’s background caused coverage of Entitlements and Candidate Character to skyrocket.

Chart shows percentage of statements about Candidate Character (orange) and Entitlements (purple) out of total election coverage over time.  Time frame is July 20 - August 17.

Chart shows percentage of statements about Candidate Character (orange) and Entitlements (purple) out of total election coverage over time. Time frame is July 20 – August 17.

In the first week following Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan for his running mate, coverage of Entitlements and Candidate Character increased drastically. Paul Ryan’s presence in the campaign sparked a renewed discussion on the national budget, and in particular, Medicare. Classified as an entitlement by the 4thEstate Project, discussion of Ryan’s proposed renovation of the Medicare program in relation to his Budget plan dominated campaign coverage in the past week. Prior to this past week, discussion of Entitlements was 0% of the coverage in July and early August. From August 11 to August 17, coverage of Entitlements driven by Medicare discussion spiked from 8% to 28% of total election coverage.

Additionally, coverage of Candidate Character increased following the Ryan pick. Prior to the announcement, coverage of Candidate Character made up 24% of the coverage. Following Romney’s announcement, it increased to 32% of the election coverage. As a new face to enter the contest, much of this coverage was centered on Ryan, his background and biography.