You may have read Scott Shane’s recent New York Times article concerning President Trump’s misguided claim that the media has been lax in its coverage of terrorism. Credible experts in terrorism studies unanimously refuted the claim, and we have the media metrics to back them up.
mediaQuant tracks the earned media coverage of thousands of news topics, including terrorism, with historical data going back 4 years. We track and report media mentions across global print, broadcast, and online segments, as well as calculate a comparative media rating, by indexing these mentions against the 4,000+ other topics we track.
As the accompanying graphic illustrates, media coverage of terrorism has not declined over the last 4-years. It’s currently at an extremely high media rating of 96 (out of 100; President Trump is a 99). It received more than 5.5 million mentions last month. The topic has been media-ranked #1 or #2 in the crowded U.S. Politics sector over the preceding 12 month period. It has consistently held a top-5 position among competing headlines for political news coverage.
Two other related topics receive similarly strong and sustained coverage in the news — U.S. national security (95 / no change) and Islamic extremism (89 / no change).
Like terrorism coverage, national security stories have also been consistently increasing over the prior 4-year period, actually up +3 percent over the prior year and +4 percent over 4 years. And while the growth of coverage of Islamic extremism has been flat over the prior year, it is up +5 percent over the prior 4-year news cycle.
It’s important to keep in mind that media ratings and coverage metrics this high are difficult to improve upon. There just isn’t that much more room to squeeze additional coverage into the existing news flow. In summary, looking at just how much coverage has occurred over both the long- and near-term, the President’s claim of an underplayed narrative around terrorism in not borne out in the factual (vs. “alternative”) facts.