In recent weeks, Sunday morning network news programs have virtually ignored economic issues, instead devoting hours of coverage to the September attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya; improper targeting of conservative nonprofits by the Internal Revenue Service; controversial federal investigations of national security leaks; and new revelations about National Security Agency surveillance programs.

Large Majority Support Discussion of Jobs, Economy

Americans Prioritize Economy Three-To-One. According to a report by Quinnipiac University, 73 percent of Americans would prefer Congress to focus on economic growth and unemployment compared to 22 percent who prefer further investigations into the IRS, Department of Justice and the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya. [Quinnipiac University, 5/30/13]

Outside Of MSNBC, Sunday Shows Have Dropped Economic Coverage


Over Five Weeks, Network And CNN Sunday Shows Combine For Just Half An Hour Of Economic Coverage. Since May 12, Sunday morning political talk shows on the major broadcast networks and on CNN have devoted less than 36 minutes to coverage of economic issues. The same programs devoted roughly 10 hours to discussions of Benghazi, the IRS, the leak investigations, and NSA surveillance programs.

CBS' Face The Nation Devoted Only 12 Seconds To Economic Coverage. During the period reviewed, CBS' Face The Nation spent only 12 seconds on economic issues. The program provided more than 2 hours and 12 minutes of "scandal" coverage, second only to Fox News Sunday's two hours and 25 minutes of "scandal" coverage.

MSNBC Programs Devote Greater Coverage To The Economy. MSNBC provided nearly four hours of economic coverage during this period - roughly seven times the coverage on all the other networks combined. MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry provided nearly three hours of economic coverage while Up with Steve Kornacki provided more than 51 minutes. Even correcting for the fact that MSNBC programs are two hours each while the other programs are only one hour, each MSNBC program clearly devoted substantially more coverage to the economy.


Methodology

Media Matters viewed coverage of Sunday morning network and cable news programs on May 12, May 19, May 26, June 2, and June 9, and recorded the amount of time spent discussing economic issues and on what we classified as "scandal" coverage.

We defined "scandal" coverage as that which focused on developments regarding the September attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya; improper targeting of conservative nonprofits by the Internal Revenue Service; controversial federal investigations of national security leaks; and new revelations about National Security Agency surveillance programs.

We defined economic news as that which focuses on either micro or macroeconomic issues.

(The analysis includes NBC's Meet the Press, CBS' Face the Nation, ABC's This Week, Fox News Sunday, CNN's State of the Union, MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki, and MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry.)

This story first appeared in mediamatters.org