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Mainstream Media 'Occupy Wall Street' Coverage Increases Sharply, But Still Relatively Low Priority

by Jack Mirkinson

Media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement has increased sharply, though the protests are still not at the top of the news agenda.

A study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center showed that seven percent of media coverage from Oct. 3-9 was devoted to Occupy Wall Street. That's four times as much coverage as the movement received the week before, and Pew says it is also roughly the same amount of coverage as the Tea Party drew in its first weeks in 2009.

The uptick in coverage was especially evident on cable news, where coverage increased twelvefold. MSNBC has thrown itself wholeheartedly into tracking the movement, sending multiple anchors to Lower Manhattan for live coverage. Occupy Wall Street has also provided ample fodder for CNN and Fox News.

Even so, Occupy Wall Street remains a relatively low priority for the media (where it was the fourth-largest story for the week, behind the 2012 election, the economy and the death of Steve Jobs) and for the public at large. Just seven percent in the Pew survey said that the protests were their top story, as opposed to 27 percent who were most interested in the economy. Also, the study found a lower level of broader public interest in the movement than in the Tea Party.

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