Did Ricardo Rosselló Earn More Mentions than Carmen Yulín Cruz in U.S. Online News After Hurricane Maria?

Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, has become the strongest critic of the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria. Her growing popularity among Democrats in the United States has overshadowed Puerto Rico’s Governor, Ricardo Rosselló. In an earlier post, I used Google Trends data to show that many Google users in the United States started to search for more information on Cruz after her first Twitter battle with President Trump.

While Rosselló has earned more mentions in U.S. TV news organizations’ reporting of the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria, the San Juan mayor did receive more mentions in the cable news channels, especially in CNN and MSNBC.

In this post, we look at U.S. Online News coverage of the island’s recovery efforts and how many sentences include references to either Rosselló or Cruz. In this short analysis, I used MediaCloud,  an open source platform created by a team of researchers at Harvard University and MIT to study “media ecosystems”, to search its collection of U.S. Online News for articles printed between September 18 and October 30, 2017 that mentioned either politician. So, who earned the most mentions?

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Given the Google Trends data, this is not a surprising finding. While Rosselló did receive more mentions in the U.S. TV News coverage of Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts, it is important to note that she earned 47% of all the mentions and that his mentions were inflated by PBS News’ reporting.

If we look at a timeline of the media organizations in MediaCloud’s U.S. On-Line News Collection, we see a similar pattern to the trends we discussed in the previous posts.

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The number of sentences that mentioned Cruz increased dramatically during her Twitter feud in late September with Trump. Different from the trend-lines examined in the previous two posts, sentences mentioning the San Juan Mayor outnumber those mentioning Rosselló for most of the time period.

In the previous trend-lines, we see that Rosselló’s numbers increase after his meeting with President Trump at the White House on October 19. By the end of October, Rosselló’s earns more mentions and this associated with his criticisms of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s efforts to rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid and his decision to cancel the contract with Whitefish Energy, which Cruz, among many politicians in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, had criticized.

With these findings, we can conclude that Cruz has become a rising start in the United States. Her standing in Puerto Rico is more difficult to measure. Unfortunately, the tools we used to measure Cruz’s or Rosselló’s influence in the U.S. media environment does not apply to Puerto Rico. The Google Trends data for Google users in Puerto Rico does show that interest in Rosselló is still very strong. But we need to use these results with caution as many Puerto Ricans lack access to the Internet.

In the future, I will look at how Puerto Ricans perceive both Rosselló and Cruz, by comparing and contrasting Facebook users’ or Twitter users’ opinions of both politicians to a particular issue or event we can deduce their overall standing in the islands’ political system.



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.

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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.

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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).

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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.



Ricardo Rosselló vs. Carmen Yulín Cruz: Who Has Earned the Most Attention Following Hurricane Maria?


The two most visible Puerto Rican elected leaders in the United States are Carmen Yulín Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan, and Ricardo Rosselló, the Governor of Puerto Rico. Rosselló is also the president of the pro-statehood Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), while Yulín Cruz is one of the vice presidents of the Partido Popular Democratico (PPD) and is expected to challenge Rosselló in the 2020 gubernatorial elections. Who has garnered the most attention in the weeks following Hurricane Maria? 

There are many ways to answer this question. For example, we can collect Google Trends data to explore which politician has received the most attention in the United States and in Puerto Rico. The other way is to measure the number of times the U.S. media has mentioned Rosselló or Yulín Cruz in their news stories. In today’s post, we will use Google Trends data and in tomorrow’s we will examine the U.S. media coverage of Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts.

We will limit our analysis for Google searches conducted in the United States and in Puerto Rico between September 19, 2017 and October 28, 2017. The first pie chart shows that Google Search users in the United States were more likely to seek information about Yulín Cruz than about Rosselló.chart (22)

This should not be surprising. The San Juan mayor’s Twitter feud with President Donald Trump and her repeated criticisms of the federal government’s relief efforts made her a national icon.

The next graph captures the volume of Google searches for both elected leaders during the specified time period.

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The graph shows that Yulín Cruz’s Internet popularity among Americans was linked to her Twitter feud with Donald Trump, which took place before he visited Puerto Rico to survey the damage on October 3. On October 19, Rosselló earned more attention than the San Juan mayor. This spike followed the Governor’sWhite House meeting with President Trump on October 19, 2017.

Google users’ search preferences in Puerto Rico reveal a different story. Yulín Cruz is more popular than Rosselló, but by a smaller margin.

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It is worth highlighting that that the graph below shows that Puerto Ricans did not conduct any searches from September 21 through September 24. These were the days the island experienced a total blackout and Puerto Ricans lacked access to the Internet. The second observation is that interest in Rosselló is higher in Puerto Rico than in the United States, suggesting that the governor’s main political competitor is actually not the leader of the PPD, Hector Ferrer, but the San Juan mayor.

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Although Google Trends is a powerful analytical tool, the data does not inform us which leader is the most popular or which one is seen as more trustworthy. But it is clear from Google Trends that Yulín Cruz has garnered the most interest in the United States and in Puerto Rico.

What do you think of these trends? Do you think that Yulín Cruz deserves all this attention? What do you think of Rosselló’s leadership and his performance so far?