Rossi Proves Money Doesn’t Follow Media Coverage

He collected big bucks, despite relatively little national attention.

A new study out confirms something you already knew: The more sensational a politician, the more headlines they’re likely to get. According to research from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, Christine O’Donnell has been the most-covered candidate of 2010, even though she had almost no chance of winning a Senate seat in Delaware, one of the nation’s least-populous states. If it bleeds, it leads. Even more so if it once claimed to be a witch.

That the media might become obsessed with a candidate for all the wrong reasons is, again, not going to shock anyone. What is surprising, however, is the contrast between what races the media values and what races were valued by those who actually have money to spend.

In order to find out who got talked about the most, Pew tracked coverage from 52 outlets across five platforms—broadcast TV, cable news, online news, newspapers, and talk radio—from the beginning of the year until October 31.

The final tally was unsurprisingly Tea Party–heavy, with O’Donnell, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, and Nevada’s Sharron Angle leading the list. Much further down was Dino Rossi, who, with only eight national stories in which he was the featured newsmaker, barely beat out Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who wasn’t even campaigning this year.

Contrast that relative lack of media attention to the monetary attention Rossi received from anonymous donors—at more than $4.5 million, his secret cash haul led the nation—and it’s clear: Rossi was a well-kept secret only to those who actually read the news.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

File photo
WA lawmakers propose making companies responsible for recycling improvements

SB 5697 would compel industries to report data, invest in infrastructure, meet standards.

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
Inslee: Officials’ lies about election results should be crime

Governor wants lawmakers to pass legislation making it a gross misdemeanor.

State Sen. Jesse Salomon
Shoreline senator’s bill would close loophole on police disciplinary actions

Jesse Salomon says Kent Police assistant chief case example of why changes are needed

File photo
County auditor finds agencies fall short on emergency services

The auditor’s office recommends clarifying responsibilities and accountability for effective planning.

File photo.
COVID testing centers shut down for lack of business license

Center for Covid Control announced Jan. 13 it would close all of its locations for a week.

During a news conference Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explains the deployment of the National Guard to hospitals to assist with the coronavirus surge. (TVW) 20220113
Surgeries paused, National Guard deployed to assist hospitals

King County health officials say 1 in 7 ICU and acute-care hospital beds are occupied by a COVID patient.

Credit: Pixabay
Prosecutor alleges Seattle man recorded Muckleshoot Casino employee using toilet

The Auburn Police Department reports that a Seattle man used his cell… Continue reading

Screenshot from City of Kent Facebook Page
Trash piles up in King County neighborhoods after agency postpones service for weeks

Collection company initially cited weather as the reason, but now a strike interferes.

Most Read