Today’s post breaks down the coverage of three different newsmakers: Obama, Romney, and everyone else (All Other Newsmakers) and their coverage on the economy. The chart below displays the percentage of each newsmaker’s discussion on the economy out of all discussion from that newsmaker.
The first, most apparent thing that jumps out is that Obama, Romney and All Other Newsmakers discuss the economy more (as a total percentage of statements from them), in the beginning of each month. This is a consequence of the release of monthly job reports, an early in the month event. With each jobs report came more discussion on the economy. As discussed by Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake in their post at the Washington Post and elsewhere, the jobs reports was considered of high importance in determining Obama’s chances against Romney.
Secondly, Obama and Romney consistently discussed the economy more that the rest. Surprisingly, Obama spent more of his airtime talking about the economy than Romney did. In early June and in early July, Obama spent significantly more of his airtime discussing the economy than any other newsmakers. In early June, Obama’s statement that “the private sector is doing just fine” got amplified in all media outlets, contributing to the sharp spike.
When the June jobs report was released in early July, Romney was especially brutal toward Obama regarding the jobs numbers. While both Romney and Obama’s discussion of the economy increased significantly from June 29 – July 9, the discussion of the economy from Other Newsmakers did not increase to the same degree. The ‘economic’ battle transpired solely between the two candidates, while their statements were amplified and analyzed by the others in terms of overall campaign strategy.
June and July saw the largest gap in discussion of the economy between the candidates and other newsmakers. While Obama and Romney spent much of their airtime discussing the economy, the other newsmakers were focused on Campaign Strategy. Obama and Romney spent over one-quarter (28.2%) of their airtime discussing the economy from June 1 – July 30.
In the same period of time, newsmakers other than Romney and Obama spoke about Campaign Strategy much more. Almost one-third (32.5%) of the airtime of other newsmakers was spent discussing Strategy, while only 17% was spent discussing the economy. This consisted of mainly TV analysts and commentators driving the summer coverage, while print coverage was on semi-hiatus.