New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was the only candidate who was mentioned in a larger share of both cable news clips and online news stories last week than the week before, according to data from the TV News Archive1 and Media Cloud.2 That’s in part because of his latest dustup with former Vice President Joe Biden. Last week, Booker called Biden “the proud architect of a failed system,” referring to Biden’s role in passing the 1994 crime bill, which Booker said harmed “black, brown and low-income communities.” And much of the media’s increased focus on Booker was in the context of Biden. More than half of the cable news clips that mentioned Cory Booker last week also mentioned “Biden.” That’s up from the two preceding weeks, when 20 to 40 percent of clips mentioning Booker also mentioned “Biden.”3
|Cable TV clips the week of …||online stories the week of …|
|Bill de Blasio||3.3||2.5||-0.8||15.7||9.4||-6.3|
This isn’t the first time attacking Biden has helped Booker get more media attention. In the week before the first Democratic debate in June, Booker called on Biden to apologize for his remarks about working with segregationist senators. The strategy of attacking Biden’s past stances on racial relations also got Sen. Kamala Harris more media coverage.
Going into the second round of debates, Biden remains by far the most mentioned candidate on the cable news networks we monitor — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — but he has lost his dominance in online news, where he is mentioned about as often as several other candidates. We’ll be waiting to see if Booker and Harris continue to call attention to Biden’s views on race in the second debate, and whether or not those attacks can keep broadening the media’s focus and boost coverage for candidates other than Biden. Stay tuned!