Originally published: June 8, 2010
Last updated: June 8, 2010 - 10:47pm
In a week during which the government announced the launching of a criminal investigation of the disaster, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill topped the news agenda for the fourth consecutive time, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.
With public anger appearing to mount and President Obama making his third trip to the Gulf region, the story accounted for 35% of the newshole from May 31-June 6. That represents the second-biggest week of coverage (it was 38% from May 24-30) since the April 20 oil rig explosion that triggered the catastrophe. And news late in the week that BP's containment dome was siphoning off some of the oil was greeted with far more uncertainty, and even skepticism, than celebration. In the seven weeks since the late April explosion, the spill saga has come to overshadow every other subject in the mainstream news agenda, registering at 22% of the newshole for the period. The second-biggest story during those seven weeks, the U.S. economy, stood at 14%. No other subject has registered in double digits in that period.
Last week's No. 2 story was the fallout from Israel's May 31 interdiction of a flotilla headed for Gaza that resulted in the killing of nine people and triggered a significant international outcry. That episode accounted for 13% of the newshole and marked the most coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the Gaza fighting between Israel and Hamas reached 17% of the newshole from January 5-11, 2009.
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