Underplayed Story of the Day

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The Iraq War, apparently. The Project for Excellence in Jouralism finds that, in the second quarter, coverage of the presidential campaign is supplanting the amount of space and time being devoted to the war by news organizations. From its News Coverage Index, a survey of 48 different news outlets:

Together the three major storylines of the war—the policy debate, events on the ground, and the impact on the U.S. homefront—filled 15% of the total newshole in the quarter, a drop of roughly a third from the first three months of the year, when it filled 22%.

That decrease resulted largely from a decline in coverage of the Washington-based policy debate, which fell 42% from the first to second quarter, once the Democrats failed to impose timetables in legislation funding of the war.

It also notes this distinction among the cable channels:

There continue to be clear differences in the news judgments of different cable channels. As in the first quarter, the Fox News Channel devoted roughly half as much coverage to the war (8%) than its rivals, CNN (18%) and MSNBC (15%). On the subject of the presidential campaign, MSNBC stood out, providing more than twice the percent of airtime of either competitor.

As for political coverage, Republican candidates are starting to get as much of it as the Democrats, who received more than twice as much in the first quarter.