The official Reagan Week media scorecard


Eric Boehlert
June 14, 2004 7:23PM (UTC)

For those who didnt Tivo all seven days of Reagan Week (or hire a newspaper clipping service), heres one look back at what you missed. According to a search of the Nexis electronic database, looking for stories, columns or TV transcripts that contained at least six mentions of the former president during the week that followed his death on June 5, we found the Boston Globe ran 33 items, the Dallas Morning News made room for 50, the New York Times churned out 59, while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran 62, the Washington Times 65, the Chicago Tribune 71, and the Los Angeles Times 72. USA Today printed 88 items, but since the paper doesnt publish on the weekend, that means the paper wasnt able to include Fridays funeral. Based on the papers previous performance, wed estimate its final tally would have been around 105 articles or columns.

But the Reagan print champ? The Washington Post, which published approximately 108 items during Reagan Week. The Posts ombudsman Michael Getler deemed the coverage to be excessive. As he told Salon last week, Its been the front section, the Style section, the metro section, even the sports section. Its just been too much.

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As for broadcasting, supposedly liberal National Public Radio aired 105 segments on the late conservative icon, which, ironically, is the exact same number as Fox News. But researchers beware, Fox traditionally does not list all of its transcripts with Nexis (its a cost issue), so its number was likely much higher. The NBC news family -- NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC --clearly did not hold back during Reagan Week; it was able to squeeze in 125 segments. But the Reagan title holder was clearly CNN, which somehow managed to produce 180 segments on Reagan in just seven days.

Just imagine what the Reagan coverage would have looked like if the press didnt have a liberal bias.


Eric Boehlert

Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."

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