Until some event triggers renewed interest or attention in domestic surveillance, the topic may have already had its media moment (2013). Like many post 9/11 inspired issues, domestic surveillance is just beginning to regain a significant amount of lost media momentum, but it looks somewhat temporary.
Recent gains in May/June are almost entirely due to renewal of the controversial Patriot Act, which contains much of the legal foundation for domestic surveillance authorization.
The domestic or internal surveillance topic is up +4 points or +5 percent at 82, a fast moving topic in the U.S. Political Trends sector this month. From a media momentum perspective, the topic is not gaining any ground, which means it is trending down (as shown by the 4-year trendline).
Recent debate and congressional action around the expiring Patriot Act stirred enough media attention to lift the topic to a #35 position in the sector, up +14 positions over competing political topics. The sector itself saw more declining than advancing topics for the May/June period.
Much of the justification supporting domestic surveillance is to avert an act of aggression, potentially arising from Islamic extremism. Within the media the topic has typically followed events overseas where the U.S. has had some role in averting or responding to the event itself. Over the preceding 4-year period the topic has hit a surprising low rating of 65 points which contrasts with this month’s new high of 86. For the current media cycle, the topic is unchanged after reaching a rating high of 86 in April.
The May 2015 event in Texas involving two young Muslims who were shot by Garland, Texas police as they attempted to attack a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest drew massive media coverage as it ignited the topics of Islamic extremism, gun control, and domestic surveillance.
Just this week a racially motivated shootings at a church in South Carolina has also sparked many of the same media discussions. Gun control and failed legislative attempts to curb access to these types of weapons have played prominently in both events with the President commenting on the lack of progress at the Federal level.
Disappointedly, the gun control topic continues to lose broad media momentum, although many states (including my home state of Oregon) have successfully pursued common sense legislation that at the Federal level has met with both House and Senate resistance. Year-over-year media ratings are off -9 percent, at 78 points for the Gun Control topic.
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