Election Tracker

Even before Ukraine news, Joe Biden was the 2020 candidate with the most media coverage

Former Vice President Joe Biden has dominated the mainstream media’s coverage in the last month, even before the whistleblower’s complaint was reported in The Washington Post, prior to the Wall Street Journal suggesting that President Donald Trump urged the Ukranian President to work with personal Attorney Rudy Giuliani, and before the White House released the rough transcript of the phone call that proved the call regarded Biden and his son.

Biden was the Democratic candidate to be mentioned the most times by news organizations, according to data collected by Media Cloud which covers articles published by 22 news organizations including The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Huffington Post, CNN and Fox News.

Nearly everyday from Aug. 15 to Oct. 15, Biden was covered in these 22 outlets more than Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, the candidates leading the top five campaigns, according to the latest Fox News poll. Biden was mentioned in 43% of the 34,289 articles published in the last month. Warren was mentioned in 23%, Sanders in 13%, Harris in 12% and Buttigieg in 9%. This is roughly in line with what FiveThirtyEight’s Dhrumil Mehta has been finding, too, in his analysis of cable TV news and online media mentions of the 2020 candidates. 

The only day that Biden’s name dipped in mainstream coverage was Aug. 28, which was the week of the widely covered Monmouth University’s poll that showed a three-way tie between the top three candidates, with Sanders and Warren surging and Biden dropping as compared to their June poll.

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Mainstream media coverage of top five 2020 Democratic candidates between Aug. 15 and Oct. 15.

The fourth Democratic debate, which was co-hosted by The New York Times and CNN, was held in Westerville, Ohio on Oct. 15. That’s the last day in this analysis and the event seems to have, unsurprisingly, skewed coverage upward for all five candidates.

What’s next to watch? November’s Democratic Debate is scheduled and the impeachment inquiry vote has been delayed. Let’s see how mainstream media continues to cover rising candidates the closer we get to Iowa. Stay tuned to Storybench’s 2020 Election Coverage Tracker for updates.

Alexa N. Gagosz

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