Chart: The Media Moves on from 'Arab Spring'
The Middle East once received over half of all news coverage, now just 5 percent
It was only a few months ago that stories of the turmoil in the Middle East accounted for more than half of news coverage, peaking at a record-breaking 56 percent of the news in the first week of February, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Yet despite that fact that conflict in the region rages on, current media attention in the United States to these conflicts has fallen drastically. Coverage of unrest in the Middle East accounted for just 5 percent of all stories in May.
Recall that the protests in Egypt that captured so much of the world's attention began at the end of January. The record-breaking week of coverage for events in the Middle East was the first week of February, as protests intensified in Egypt. As the PEJ notes, coverage began to drop sharply only two weeks after the United States decided to intervene in Libya.
It's a little surprising given the chaos and upheaval continuing in places like Yemen and Syria, and the United State's continuing role in Libya. The PEJ offers a few explanations:
For one thing, a number of volatile situations—the power transition in Egypt, the crackdown in Syria, and the fighting in Libya—have dragged on somewhat inconclusively. For another, extensive overseas coverage is an expensive proposition in an era of shrinking reporting resources. And other stories, such as the budget showdown, the 2012 presidential campaign and most notably, the death of Osama bin Laden, have emerged as major newsmakers in recent weeks.