An analysis of media coverage on gas prices that aims to provide a better understanding of the public debate and opportunities for reframing.
Climate Nexus examined news stories and blog posts from December 2011 to mid-March 2012 to compare gas price coverage with reporting on other prevalent political issues. The study also considered related sub-topics including efficiency, oil profits, drilling, the Middle East and the Keystone XL pipeline.
News stories about gas prices exceeded recent reporting on contraception and came close to the volume of stories on unemployment.
Gas price stories were slightly less prominent with bloggers than traditional news media. Blogs tended to focus more on personal experiences with high gas prices and less on related policy issues.
Higher levels of news coverage about the Middle East paralleled the public's concern that oil companies and Middle East nations are taking advantage of recent gas price hikes to increase profits.
Keystone XL received relatively little coverage (compared with the Middle East and drilling) and Americans remain unfamiliar with the pipeline debate.
A lack of coverage on oil company profits and the stockpiling of leases for drilling indicates potential opportunities for reframing the debate.