In an interview with NPR this week, President Obama complained that the media is oversaturated with coverage of terrorism. “If you’ve been watching television for the last month, all you have been seeing, all you have been hearing about is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you,” Obama said.
The president’s remarks led to quick condemnation from the right-wing press, but the facts support what he is saying. The Intercept analyzed network news coverage of various topics, using Internet Archive’s TV News Archive search of television captions, and found that terrorism did dominate news.
For example, a search of CNN coverage between November 21 and December 21 of this year yielded 427 hits (instances where an individual show mentioned the word at least once) for the search phrase “terrorism” and 404 hits for “ISIS”; the same search for “poverty” yielded only 34 hits. Here are the terrorism search strings compared to the other topics in chart form (note that the anti-privacy CISA legislation, directly related to terrorism, was not mentioned at all):
Here’s the same search when run for MSNBC:
And here’s Fox News: