Wright Out-NewsMakes Everyone and Everything!

Can’t get snatches of Rev. Wright’s sermons and speeches out of your head? The Project for Excellence in Journalism explains why with its News Coverage Index for April 28-May 4 (emphasis mine):

In a number of recent presidential campaigns, someone or something has emerged from obscurity to become a household word and an integral part of the media narrative…

Last week—as Wright re-emerged into full public view to speak to PBS’ Bill Moyers, the NAACP and the National Press Club—the controversy he generated made more news than both Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Clinton was a significant or dominant factor in 41% of the campaign stories and McCain registered in 14% of them. Meanwhile the relationship between Wright and his former parishioner Obama accounted for 42% of the week’s campaign coverage. Obama, who moved to decisively denounce Wright last week, was the significant or dominant newsmaker in 69% of the stories…


There were significant policy issues at play in last week’s Democratic campaign leading up to the May 6 primaries in North Carolina and Indiana. Clinton and Obama sparred over how to handle Iran and the proposed gas-tax holiday. The issue of gas prices accounted for the second-biggest category of campaign stories last week at 7%. And the next biggest chunk of campaign coverage, at 5%, was Indiana superdelegate and former Democratic National Committee chair Joe Andrews switching his support from Clinton to Obama.

But even after combining the gas and the Andrews coverage, that is less than one-third of the attention paid last week to Wright.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.