Health Care Reform “Not A Journalism-Friendly Story,” Part 2

Per PEJ, health care-related coverage filled one quarter of last week’s newshole! Hold your applause. The fine print (emphasis mine):

The debate over health care legislation filled 25% of the newshole last week and was the top story in four of the five media sectors [minus newspapers, where “economic crisis” received slightly more coverage than “health care debate.”]

…[T]he two media sectors that include the ideological and debate-oriented talk shows devoted the most attention to the story—38% on cable news and 35% on radio.

…In addition, a PEJ examination of storylines in last week’s coverage indicates that the horse race aspect of health care reform—the politics and strategy behind the legislative fight—was the overwhelmingly dominant theme

Explaining the complicated state of health care coverage, as well as the details of various ideas to reform it, can be a very daunting task for the media. Monitoring the spin wars between the two sides is far easier and helps explain why the subject has finally climbed to the top of the news agenda.

Or, as the New York Times’s (and CNBC’s) John Harwood told Politico, health care is “not only not a cable TV-friendly story; it’s not a journalism-friendly story….It’s incredibly complex to try and explain to people.” But the he-said/she-said and who’s ahead? No probs.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.