Controversy surrounding a New York mosque and the exit of troops
from Iraq were the two biggest stories of the week ended Aug. 22,
according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's news coverage index of
from print, online, network TV, cable and radio (local TV news is not
The mosque story, in which President Obama sparked further debate
about the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero with his statement of
support for religious freedom, topped the list at 15% of the news hole,
followed by the drawdown of the last combat brigade from Iraq (9%). The mosque
got the most play on cable news, where it accounted for almost a third (29%) of
the news hole.
Rounding out the top five were the economy with 7%, the trial of
former Illinois governor and reality TV participant Rod Blagojevich (6%),
and the upcoming midterm elections at 5%.
Blagojevich was the biggest story on the TV network
newscasts, claiming 11% of their airtime, according to the index.