Weekly Update: Week of March 7, 2011

The Japan earthquake dominated coverage this week, pushing the other big story, Libya, almost completely out of the cloud:

Compare political blogs vs. MSM, week of 03/07/11

Even Charlie Sheen gets pre-empted by events in Japan.  Here’s how this week compared to last week in the MSM:

Compare MSM 02/28/11 vs. 03/07/11

The similarity between political blogs and the MSM on Japan is remarkable.

Compare "Japan" MSM vs. political blogs, week of 03/07/11

Interestingly, Japan pops up a lot in coverage of Libya this week.  It may be an indication of a set of stories framing Obama as overwhelmed by events, such as this article from TalkingPointsMemo:

The devastation in Japan comes at a tumultuous time for the President who is also being forced to respond to the spiraling unrest in the Middle East — particularly in Libya — and political clashes at home where Republicans are impugning his spending priorities as a government shutdown looms.

Wisconsin remains in the coverage of political blogs.  Last week we reported the difference in coverage between the left and right blogospheres on this issue.  If anything, things seem to have gotten more vitriolic.  For example, the term “fleebagger” appears with significant frequency in the right blogosphere, referring to the Democratic legislators who left the state to avoid a vote on collective bargaining.

Compare "Wisconsin" left vs. right blogospheres, week of 03/07/11

One story in Pajamas Media manages to refer to both union thugs and fleebagger Democrats in the same post.  For its part, the left blogosphere has made “busting” the 17th most frequent word in sentences that also include “Wisconsin.”  Union-busting is a common phrase in blog posts from the left, like this one from the Daily Kos.

There are a few more interesting findings in the comparison between the left and right blogospheres in general this week:

Compare left vs. right blogospheres, week of 03/07/11

*The right has heavy coverage of Islam that is completely absent from the left and the MSM.  Terms like “allah,” “islam,” “muslim,” “arab,” and “terror” rank very high in the right blogosphere.  There’s also a lot of discussion about religion generally, as “Jews,” “Jewish,” and “Christians” also appear with high frequency.

*Only the right uses the word “Barack” which points to a preference in the right blogosphere for referring to the president as Barack Obama rather than President Obama.

*The left is covering James O’Keefe, notorious for bringing down ACORN and high-ranking officials at NPR with his hidden video tactics, though he’s not trending in the right.  Both blogospheres, however, are paying attention to NPR.


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