Category Archives: News

Netanyahu’s Speech Overshadowed by Shutdown News

Israel's Netanyahu Speaks

By Becky Hogan

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the international community Tuesday to be wary of Iran’s recent change of heart on nuclear weapons.  He warned that Israel would act alone, if necessary, to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

In his address to the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu said Iran has pursued diplomacy in the past to disguise its nuclear ambitions.

His message comes in sharp contrast to last week when President Obama reached out to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the phone.  The phone call was dubbed “historic” by the news media since it was the first time since 1979 that Iranian and US leaders have had a conversation.

In fact, early last week Israel saw an uptick in news coverage after Rouhani specifically called out Israel as the only country in the region that had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and requested that it do so “without delay” at the UN Highlevel Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament.

By comparison, Israel and Netanyahu received far more national media coverage last week when Rouhani spoke out against Israel at the meeting.  And peak coverage on Israel occurred last week after Israel’s delegation boycotted Rouhani’s speech by leaving the General Assembly.  

Netanyahu Overshadowed

There’s no question Netanyahu is competing with news coverage on the government shutdown and the Obamacare implementation which are dominating the news cycle this week.  According to our data, even coverage of the United Nations was lower than news coverage of the Affordable Care Act.

The 24-hour news cycle is fickle–last week all eyes were on Israel after Rouhani’s speech, this week Israel issued its rebuttal but the media has been slow to react.

Netanyahu sought to counter the positive vibes Rouhani got over his debut at the UN General Assembly meeting, but so far his message hasn’t received the same attention that Rouhani saw last week.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on how news coverage develops in the midst of the federal government’s shutdown.


Benghazi News Coverage Overshadowed on Anniversary

By Becky Hogan

Wednesday marked the one year the anniversary of the attack on the Bengahzi consulate that killed four Americans and the twelve year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil.  It’s also the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin editorialized American exceptionalism.

On Wednesday, news coverage was dominated by the increasingly complicated situation in Syria, despite unanswered questions on the Benghazi attacks.

9-11 News Coverage

Data shows that Benghazi, even on its anniversary, still isn’t getting much media attention–even Putin saw more news coverage in both national and Beltway news compared to the Benghazi issue.

National news coverage on Syria saw over five times that of the coverage on Benghazi. And in Beltway media, Obama is mentioned almost as often as Syria.

While the White House has dismissed Republican claims that the issue on Bengahzi has become a “scandal,” there are still a lot of questions that linger about the ongoing investigations into the attacks.

In July, Senator Lindsey Graham and other Republican members of Congress recently sent a letter asking FBI Director James Comey to make Benghazi a top priority. And three weeks ago, the four State department officials that were placed on leave for their handling of the response to the consulate attack have been cleared by Secretary of State John Kerry and allowed to return to their posts.

So far, no arrests have been reported but the Justice Department says investigators have made progress.

Would media coverage on Benghazi be more pronounced were it not for the the crisis over Syrian President Assad’s regime? It’s hard to say.

A week ago, news coverage on Syria was dominated by whether Congress would authorize a military strike on Syria for using chemical weapons against civilians. Now it’s a much more complicated conversation.

It’s become a question about President Obama’s leadership, the United States’ relationship with Russia, and the role of the United Nations in diplomatic efforts.  And on Wednesday, it even became a question about American exceptionalism when in the midst of the U.S. and Russia attempting to work out a deal with Syria to give up their chemical weapon stockpile, Putin penned an op-ed in The New York Times  thumbing his nose at President Obama.

Reactions from Republicans and Democrats have been strong.

Action on Syria has split both political parties and the Benghazi issue remains fiercely partisan and almost unmentionable.

But there’s one thing that lawmakers could unite over on Wednesday: it was their response to Putin’s comments about the danger in thinking America is exceptional–for members of Congress, to say America is anything but exceptional is a scandal all its own.

Who’s Saying What on Syria

By Becky Hogan

News that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons last week to kill an estimated 1,300 civilians has been dominating news coverage since last week. And just like that the violence in Egypt is talking second fiddle to the crisis in Syria as–both in the TrendPo Rankings and in current US foreign policy priorities.  The ensuing debate is over whether the United States should intervene militarily in Syria has drawn a varied response from Democrats and the GOP.

Media Surge on Syria

The issue is undoubtedly a complicated one.  President Obama called the use of large-scale chemical weapons in Syria a “red line” last year, and many believe that US military action in Syria is critical to signal that the US is serious that chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction cannot be used in Syria or elsewhere.

We’re recapping who’s saying what on Syria.


On Monday Secretary of State spoke out against the Syrian attack, calling is a moral obscenity.

“Make no mistake,” Kerry said. “President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapon against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny.”


Vice President Joe Biden reinforced Kerry’s statements yesterday saying that there’s “no doubt” that the regime of Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in an attack last week outside Damascus.

“There is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons, the Syrian regime  … Chemical weapons have been used. Everyone acknowledges their use. No one doubts that innocent men, women and children have been the victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.”


Russia has pushed back saying there is no evidence of whether a chemical weapons attack has taken place in Syria or who is responsible.

In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and  British Prime Minister David Cameron  spoke on a phone call Monday. Of the phone conversation, British government spokesman said, “President Putin said that they did not have evidence of whether a chemical weapons attack had taken place or who was responsible.”

While Russia’s reaction has gotten a lot of media attention in the past week, Kerry’s comments have dominated national new coverage.

Interestingly, it’s Biden who has been buzzing the most on social media since his statements. Perhaps Biden’s statements attracted more attention because they provided a more definitive statement on the crisis.

Biden Resonates on Social Media

Of course, not all Republicans are aligned on this issue.  And even some Democrats are against military action in Syria.


Republican Rep. Peter King believes President Barack Obama can take military action against Syria without congressional approval.

“I believe, as commander in chief, he has the right to take this action. It’s in his interest to consult with the leadership in the House and Senate, but I don’t believe he has to.”

King also said that the use of chemical weapons crosses a line and the US has to send a clear signal that such actions are not tolerated.


Republican Rep. Scott Rigell in a letter sent Wednesday to Obama that had been signed so far by 47 Republicans and eight Democrats said this:

“Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution,” he wrote in his letter to Obama.


Rep. Justin Amash joined his Libertarian colleagues in saying, it would be “unquestionably unconstitutional” for the White House to launch a military strike against Syria without congressional approval.

The Michigan congressman used his Twitter account to respond about a potential strike against Syria:

Amash Tweets


Senator John McCain has been a strong proponent of military action in the region, but says a US strike must have a lasting impact on the region.

“The important part of this whole situation is, is this just going to be just a retaliatory strike that has no lasting impact or something that changes the momentum on the ground in Syria?” he said.

McCain also pushed for the United States and its allies to provide weapons  to “the resistance on the ground.”

Of these Republicans, whose garnering the most buzz in the past week?

Republicans Divided

On Facebook the response seem to be more unanimous and is showing what national polls are revealing: most Americans are hesitant to get into another war with a Middle Eastern dictatorship. Amash has seen the most gains on Facebook this week and has also been very critical about intervention in Syria.

On Twitter, it’s a different picture.  McCain has been a staunch supporter of a military strike on Syria and has seen the most gains on Twitter of the four GOPers.  Interestingly, Amash has gained the second most Followers this week–indicating the Twitterverse is torn about the US’s role in Syria.

As the Obama Administration weighs what is likely one of the most important decisions of the second term, we’ll be monitoring the buzz on this issue.

The 2016 Democratic Field

president-campaign_04_620x350By Becky Hogan

As presidential wannabes flock to Iowa this summer to start testing the waters and make inroads in the Hawkeye state, the big question lingers–who stands a chance against the formidable Clinton machine?

The possible list of GOP presidential candidates continues to grow, but it seems Hillary Clinton has temporarily frozen the field for Democrats in 2016 until she formally announces whether she’ll run.

We’re still over 2 years away from Election Day and no one on either side has begun to lay the groundwork for a presidential campaign, but it’s never too early to see who is generating the most online buzz among some possible contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, and Minnesota Senator Amy Klochubar will all be making trips to Iowa this summer amid speculation that they are mulling presidential bids.

Fun fact: In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama also made the trek to Iowa, long before he received the Democrat nomination in 2007.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker handily won the New Jersey Senate primary last week and many believe that if he makes it to the US Senate, he will consider a presidential run in 2016.

Then there’s Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley who has been the most candid about his presidential aspirations to date.  He announced at the National Governor Association meeting earlier this month that he intends to continue to the lay the groundwork for a presidential bid by fundraising and beefing up his social media presence.

When it comes to media coverage, no one comes close to the amount of media buzz that Clinton has generated.  It seems that the media hasn’t stopped speculating about the former Secretary of State.


Biden has about half as much national media coverage as Clinton and he’s second in command! After Biden, the media coverage drops off considerably for the remaining Democrats.  Booker has less than a fourth of the Vice President’s media coverage—even with a recent primary win.

When it comes to social media, it’s a different story.


Booker, known for his social media prowess, has the largest following on Twitter of any of the possible contenders—he’s accrued twice as many followers as Clinton.  Biden has the most Facebook Likes of the Democrats we’ve selected.

Booker was the most “talked about” on Facebook over the past week—probably due to his recent primary victory.  Castro was the second most talked about is the past week after he announced he would attend the infamous Iowa Steak Fry, indicating the mayor is capable of generating a lot of buzz. Interestingly, Clinton was the least buzzed about in the past week indicating that Facebook users may be losing interest until she makes an official announcement.

So it seems the national media has a clear favorite in Hillary Clinton, but social media has yet to decide a clear contender.  What’s interesting is that these potential candidates seem to be buzzing in different ways—we’ll keep watching as the race for the 2016 Democratic nomination—er running mate— heats up.

News Data Shows Uphill Battle for Privacy Activists

Restore the Fourth


By Becky Hogan

Many Americans are outraged at the scope of data mining secretly conducted by the US government that has recently come to light.

The latest leaks last week revealed that the National Security Agency’s XKeyscore program makes browsing history, searches, content of your emails, online chats, and even your metadata available to NSA analysts.

In response, thousands of Americans held rallies across the country on Sunday to protest the recently revealed surveillance program run by the NSA.  Protesters gathered in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Raleigh, and other cities.
The protests are part of the national Restore the Fourth movement, which held its first protest on July 4 and designated August 4 “1984 Day.”
But national news coverage shows that national security still far outpaces privacy.  And as terrorist threats in the Middle East have renewed national security fears, the question lingers as to whether a national debate about the scope of government snooping will ever really catch on.


It seems a lot of the outrage over individual privacy is erupting at the state level. recently featured Montana State Rep. Daniel Zolonikov as an advocate for online privacy. The 26-year old state legislator sponsored a bill in that later became the first law in the United States to require police to get a warrant if they want to access cellphone location data.

Utah has also drawn the attention of privacy activists because the NSA’s primary storage center is in located in the state. Protesters rallied in Salt Lake City this weekend against government surveillance of citizens.

At the federal level, Members of Congress are considering 11 legislative measures to reign in the activities of the National Security Agency–representing a major shift of political opinion since Edward Snowden first revealed the NSA’s surveillance programs.

If enacted, the laws would represent the first reduction of the NSA’s powers since 9/11.

But will recent US embassy closures in the Middle East bolster the case for NSA surveillance?  We’ll continue to keep an eye on these trends as concerned citizens and lawmakers weigh in on the debate.

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