Koran, Mosque Coverage Drives News Cycle Sept. 6-12

By Alex Weprin 

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The proposed burning of Korans by a Florida pastor and the Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York combined to dominate the news cycle for the week of September 6-12, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s News Coverage Index.

Pastor Terry Jones and his plan to burn copies of the Koran led to stories about “Anti-Muslim sentiment” taking up 15% of the overall newshole. TV news was particularly interested in the matter, with the incident taking up 24% of the coverage on cable and 21% of the time on the network newscasts.

The Park51 Muslim community Center and mosque in lower Manhattan was the fourth most covered story of the week, taking up 5% of the newshole:

Coverage of the two controversies also illustrates the different news agendas of the ideological radio and cable talk hosts. While the conservative hosts last week dedicated modestly more coverage to the mosque story than their liberal counterparts, liberal talkers devoted about four times as much attention to the Koran burning saga as the conservative hosts.

The other top stories of the week were the U.S. economy and the upcoming midterm elections, which were given a boost in coverage due to a number of primary elections in some states.

The top newsmaker of the week was, not surprisingly, President Obama, with Jones second and park51 leader Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf third.