Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders was the most-mentioned candidate in online news. According to data from Media Cloud,1 a database of online news stories, Sanders was mentioned in about 45 percent of online news stories that mentioned any 2020 Democratic hopeful, up 11 percentage points from the week prior. Some of that coverage focused on a series of proposals Sanders released last week on topics ranging from combating climate change to supporting labor unions to reforming the criminal justice system: For example, 26 percent of online stories that mentioned Sanders also included the word “climate.”
But according to data from the TV News Archive,2 the share of cable news clips that mention Sanders across the three networks we monitor — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — barely changed. Instead, it was former Vice President Joe Biden who saw his cable news mentions increase by almost 10 percentage points between last week and the week prior.
|Cable TV clips the week of …||online stories the week of …|
|Bill de Blasio||1.2||2.4||+1.2||7.7||7.6||-0.2|
That’s consistent with a pattern that we’ve seen for a few weeks now. Since July, Biden has continued to dominate in cable news mentions but has not always been the most-mentioned candidate online, sharing the spotlight with Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who were both mentioned more than Biden last week. While Warren was not the most-mentioned candidate on either medium, she continued her recent steady rise in media attention. Warren was mentioned in a larger share of both cable news clips and online news stories compared to the week prior, and was once again mentioned in a larger share of cable news clips than since at least April, when FiveThirtyEight began to track cable news mentions.
Regardless of which medium we examine, Biden, Sanders, and Warren have consistently been getting more media coverage than the rest of the field since the last Democratic primary debate.3 The same can’t be said for other candidates. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton were the only two other candidates who got noticeably more media mentions on both online and cable news last week. When all else fails, you can always get the media’s attention by dropping out of the race, apparently.