U.S. TV News Coverage of Ricardo Rosselló and Carmen Yulín Cruz After Hurricane Maria

Yesterday’s post analyzed Google Trends data for the United States and Puerto Rico to explore which politician – San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz or Governor Ricardo Rosselló – received the most attention after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico September 20, 2017.

While the data clearly demonstrated that Cruz earned the most attention, interest in Governor Rosselló among Google Search users in Puerto Rico was stronger than in the United States. Implied in yesterday’s post is President Donald Trump’s role on Google Search users’ interests on Puerto Rico and its political leaders. Interest in Cruz dramatically increased after her Twitter feud with the President. The same applies to Rosselló after his meeting with President Trump in the White House on October 19.

Google Trends is a wonderful tool, but it has its limitations. Thus, we should also look at U.S. media organizations’  coverage of Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts and see whether these bodies paid more attention to Cruz than to Rosselló.

For this post, I measured the number of mentions both politicians earned in the country’s television news networks. We limited our search queries to the TV news coverage from September 18 through October 30, 2017. We collected these data by searching Archive.Org’s TV News Archive.

chart (25)

Cruz’z coverage increases during her Twitter feud with President Trump and one of the spikes in for Rosselló’s  mention happens during his visit to the White House. Although these trends are similar to the ones that we saw in yesterday’s Google Trends graph, it is important to note that Rosselló was mentioned more than Cruz in the news coverage.

chart (27)

What if we filter the results by the type of TV news networks? The U.S. has primarily two types of networks: the cable news channels (i.e. CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc…) and the affiliated networks (i.e. ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS).

chart (28)

chart (29)

Based on these two bar graphs, we can make the following observations.

  • Mayor Cruz received more mentions in the cable news channels than in the affiliated news networks.
  • The opposite is true for Governor Rosselló, but it is important to note that his mentions in the PBS News skew the amount of attention he received overall.
  • CBS News has paid closer attention to Puerto Rico than NBC News or ABC News. This is probably the David Begnaud effect, an issue I will cover in a later post.
  • CBS News mentions Cruz slightly more than Rosselló in its reporting.
  • The business news channels have paid closer attention to the Governor than the Mayor and this is because Cruz has little influence over the island’s economy and because these channels are less political, more conservative, and Rosselló has been less critical of President Trump.
  • The more “liberal” news channels have mentioned Cruz more than Rosselló.

To conclude, the TV news networks’ reporting of Puerto Rico’s recovery post-Maria mentions Governor Rosselló more than Mayor Cruz. These figures do not tell us whether the coverage has been fair, critical, or supportive. It is important to keep this in mind. But the TV news coverage has elevated both politicians’ standing in the U.S. As Puerto Rico tries to gain more financial and political support to rebuild its infrastructure and economy, these two leaders will play a role shaping Americans’ understanding of the island’s challenges and future opportunities.

So far we have seen data for Google Trends and the TV News Networks. What about the U.S. print and online media’s coverage of Puerto Rico’s crisis? I will be looking at this in a future post.

 

 

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