On Friday, The Wall Street Journal broke a story about a phone call between President Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, in which the president allegedly asked Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden. And the story has quickly taken over Biden’s news coverage.
According to data from the TV News Archive,1 which chops up cable news from three networks we monitor — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — into 15-second clips, the five words used most often in clips mentioning Joe Biden last week were: “president,” “Ukraine,” “Trump,” “son” and “investigate.” More than a third of the clips from Friday and Saturday that mentioned Biden also mentioned Ukraine. And according to data from Media Cloud,2 a database of online news, over 60 percent of stories that mentioned Biden in those two days also mentioned Ukraine.
And the story seems to have helped keep Biden’s name at the top of the cable-news heap. Biden was mentioned in a larger share of cable news clips than the next six Democratic candidates combined last week, including in more than two and a half times as many clips as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and more than five times as many as Sen. Bernie Sanders. But the trend doesn’t hold in online news — there, Biden is still the most-mentioned candidate, but by a much smaller margin.
The Ukraine story meant a big week for Biden on cable
Share of 15-second cable news clips mentioning each candidate vs. share of online stories mentioning each candidate in a Media Cloud search
|Cable TV clips the week of …||online stories the week of …|
|Bill de Blasio||0.1||1.6||+1.6||4.8||8.4||+3.5|
The story about Trump’s call to Ukraine is likely to continue to unfold in the coming week. Impeachment talk is once again swirling among Congressional Democrats, and Sen. Mitt Romney has expressed concerns over the matter, making him the first big-name Republican to do so. In the coming week, we’ll be looking at the numbers to see just how much this story continues to permeate media coverage of Biden’s 2020 campaign.
Check out the data behind this series and check back each week for an update on which candidates are getting the most coverage on cable and online.