It's no surprise that the Virginia Tech shootings dominated cable news on April 15 and the five following days. But the degree to which it did so is startling. According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's News Coverage Index, the shootings and their aftermath represented an amazing 76 percent of all stories on cable news outlets during the five-day period. That's more than double the coverage of the year's previous biggest story, the troop escalation in Iraq, which account for 34 percent of cable news stories from Jan. 7 to 12.
Almost as surprising, at least to me, was how little coverage was devoted to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on partial-birth abortions: just 3 percent of the stories. With both sides claiming it was a landmark event, I would have expected cable's talking heads to go wild.