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Head of the Class: The Most Buzzworthy House Freshmen of the 112th Congress

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Allen West, Joe Walsh, Tim Scott, and Sean Duffy are the most covered U.S. House freshmen of 2011

allenwest10.jpgWhile nearly eight-dozen new members entered the U.S. House of Representatives in January, only a choice few have become media darlings (or fodder) nearly nine months into their first year in office.

In fact, three Republicans have received more than one-third of the coverage of the entire Class of 2010.

And two of these are the GOP's only black Americans in Congress.

A Smart Politics content analysis of Lexis/Nexis news transcripts from ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and NPR finds that Republican U.S. Representatives Allen West (FL-22), Joe Walsh (IL-08), and Tim Scott (SC-01) have received as much attention as 70 of their freshman colleagues combined.

(Note: Lexis/Nexis transcripts cover most news programs on the cable TV networks, but not all morning and early afternoon programming (e.g. MSNBC)).

Representative West has been interviewed or mentioned in 222 news programs since January of this year - by far the most of the freshman class.

That accounts for 17.9 percent of broadcasts in which any House freshman has been mentioned on these networks.

Walsh comes in second at 148 broadcasts (12.0 percent) with South Carolina's Scott a distant third at 45 (3.6 percent).

Rounding out the Top 10 are Republicans Sean Duffy (WI-07) at #4 with 38 mentions, Michael Grimm (NY-13) at #5 with 27, Ben Quayle (AZ-03) at #6 with 26, Kristi Noem (SD-AL) at #7 with 25, Adam Kinzinger (IL-11) at #8 with 22, Mick Mulvaney (SC-05) at #9 with 21, and Mike Kelly (PA-03) at #10 with 20.

Representatives West and Scott are the only two black Americans in the Republican Party serving in either chamber in the 112th Congress.

While Scott did not join the Congressional Black Caucus, West is a member, though he has been critical of late of some of the statements made by Democratic CBC members against the Tea Party, such as Maxine Waters who recently said the Tea Party can go "straight to hell" last month and Andre Carson who said the Tea Party wants blacks "hanging on a tree."

West's coverage also spiked earlier in the summer when an email he sent to fellow Florida U.S. Representative (and DNC Chairwoman) Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was made public in which he scolded her for not being a lady and called her "the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives."

West is the most prevalent freshman on FOX News in 2011 (mentioned in 101 broadcasts), with Walsh coming in second (28), Scott in third (23), South Dakota's Kristi Noem in fourth (20), and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois' 11th CD in fifth (11).

Representative West has been mentioned in an astounding 29 percent of all broadcasts on FOX in which a Freshman was interviewed or his or her name was cited.

West also led with the most mentions on NPR (32) and CBS (13) and was tied with New Hampshire's 1st CD Representative Frank Guinta with the most mentions on ABC at six.

Representative Walsh, meanwhile, bested West for the most coverage on CNN (61 to 36) and MSNBC (39 to 34) - with a good share of it negative.

Walsh, one of the more outspoken members of the Republican freshman class, has been embroiled in a few controversies during his first year in office.

For example, in late July, Walsh's ex-wife sued him for $117,000 in unpaid child support and interest in Cook County Circuit Court, with the trial judge admonishing him in a preliminary ruling last week.

Walsh also received attention this month for announcing his boycott of President Obama's economic address to a Joint Session of Congress, calling the speech "political theater."

Party and Gender Differences

Not surprisingly, Republican freshmen in the House have made a much bigger proportional footprint in the media than their Democratic counterparts, wielding more power as the majority party as well as frequently making headlines by opposing President Obama's agenda.

The approximately seven-dozen GOP House freshmen have appeared or been mentioned in an average of 14 news broadcasts each, compared to just eight mentions for the nine new Democrats, who are led by Karen Bass of California's 33rd CD (tied at #11).

The differences were not so pronounced between newly-elected men (13 broadcasts) versus women (11 broadcasts), with South Dakota at-large Representative Kristi Noem setting the pace for the latter at #7 with 25 broadcasts mentioning her name followed by Bass at #11 with 18, and Republicans Nan Hayworth (NY-19) and Renee Elmers (NC-02) at #13 with 17.

And the Rest...

And which representatives are receiving no love (or hate) on the airwaves so far in 2011?

Democratic at-large congressman John Carney is the only freshman yet to be mentioned once on these broadcast networks (for the programs tracked by Lexis/Nexis). Carney, the former Lieutenant Governor of Delaware, sits on the Financial Services Committee.

Seven Republican freshmen received only one mention, including three of the five new members from the State of Ohio: Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), Bob Gibbs (OH-18), Robert Hurt (VA-05), Alan Nunnelee (MS-01), Jim Renacci (OH-16), Jon Runyan (NJ-03), and Steve Stivers (OH-15).

Number of National Broadcasts Mentioning or Interviewing U.S. House Freshmen in 2011

Rank
Representative
District
Party
Broadcasts
Percent
1
Allen West
FL-22
GOP
222
17.9
2
Joe Walsh
IL-08
GOP
148
12.0
3
Tim Scott
SC-01
GOP
45
3.6
4
Sean Duffy
WI-07
GOP
38
3.1
5
Michael Grimm
NY-13
GOP
27
2.2
6
Ben Quayle
AZ-03
GOP
26
2.1
7
Kristi Noem
SD-AL
GOP
25
2.0
8
Adam Kinzinger
IL-11
GOP
22
1.8
9
Mick Mulvaney
SC-05
GOP
21
1.7
10
Mike Kelly
PA-03
GOP
20
1.6
11
Karen Bass
CA-33
Democrat
18
1.5
11
Trey Gowdy
SC-04
GOP
18
1.5
13
Lou Barletta
PA-11
GOP
17
1.4
13
Mo Brooks
AL-05
GOP
17
1.4
13
Renee Ellmers
NC-02
GOP
17
1.4
13
Nan Hayworth
NY-19
GOP
17
1.4
13
Bill Huizenga
MI-02
GOP
17
1.4
18
Paul Gosar
AZ-01
GOP
16
1.3
18
Frank Guinta
NH-01
GOP
16
1.3
18
Raul Labrador
ID-01
GOP
16
1.3
18
David Schweikert
AZ-05
GOP
16
1.3
18
Frederica Wilson
FL-17
Democrat
16
1.3
23
Daniel Webster
FL-08
GOP
14
1.1
24
Charlie Bass*
NH-02
GOP
13
1.1
24
Blake Farenthold
TX-27
GOP
13
1.1
24
Mike Fitzpatrick*
PA-08
GOP
13
1.1
24
Tim Huelskamp
KS-01
GOP
13
1.1
28
Billy Long
MO-07
GOP
12
1.0
29
Hansen Clarke
MI-13
Democrat
11
0.9
29
Chip Cravaack
MN-08
GOP
11
0.9
29
Tim Griffin
AR-02
GOP
11
0.9
29
James Lankford
OK-05
GOP
11
0.9
29
Cedric Richmond
LA-02
Democrat
11
0.9
29
Bobby Schilling
IL-17
GOP
11
0.9
35
Ann Marie Buerkle
NY-25
GOP
10
0.8
35
Jeff Denham
CA-19
GOP
10
0.8
35
Andy Harris
MD-01
GOP
10
0.8
35
Vicky Hartzler
MO-04
GOP
10
0.8
35
Joe Heck
NV-03
GOP
10
0.8
35
Pat Meehan
PA-07
GOP
10
0.8
35
Mike Pompeo
KS-04
GOP
10
0.8
42
Jeff Duncan
SC-03
GOP
9
0.7
43
Diane Black
TN-06
GOP
8
0.6
43
Stephen Fincher
TN-08
GOP
8
0.6
43
Steve Pearce*
NM-02
GOP
8
0.6
43
Dennis Ross
FL-12
GOP
8
0.6
43
Steve Southerland
FL-02
GOP
8
0.6
43
Scott Tipton
CO-03
GOP
8
0.6
43
Tim Walberg*
MI-07
GOP
8
0.6
50
Colleen Hanabusa
HA-01
Democrat
7
0.6
50
Jeff Landry
LA-03
GOP
7
0.6
50
Austin Scott
GA-08
GOP
7
0.6
53
Justin Amash
MI-03
GOP
6
0.5
53
Steve Chabot*
OH-01
GOP
6
0.5
53
Reid Ribble
WI-08
GOP
6
0.5
53
David Rivera
FL-25
GOP
6
0.5
53
Steve Womack
AR-03
GOP
6
0.5
53
Rob Woodall
GA-07
GOP
6
0.5
59
Rick Berg
ND-AL
GOP
5
0.4
59
Bill Flores
TX-17
GOP
5
0.4
59
Chris Gibson
NY-20
GOP
5
0.4
59
Randy Hultgren
IL-14
GOP
5
0.4
59
Rich Nugent
FL-05
GOP
5
0.4
59
Steven Palazzo
MS-04
GOP
5
0.4
59
Kevin Yoder
KS-03
GOP
5
0.4
66
Robert Dold
IL-10
GOP
4
0.3
66
Cory Gardner
CO-04
GOP
4
0.3
66
Bill Johnson
OH-06
GOP
4
0.3
66
Tom Marino
PA-10
GOP
4
0.3
66
Todd Rokita
IN-04
GOP
4
0.3
66
Todd Young
IN-09
GOP
4
0.3
72
Sandy Adams
FL-24
GOP
3
0.2
72
Dan Benishek
MI-01
GOP
3
0.2
72
Francisco Canseco
TX-23
GOP
3
0.2
72
David Cicilline
RH-01
Democrat
3
0.2
72
Jamie Herrera Beutler
WA-03
GOP
3
0.2
72
Bill Keating
MA-10
Democrat
3
0.2
72
David McKinley
WV-01
GOP
3
0.2
72
Scott Rigell
VA-02
GOP
3
0.2
72
Martha Roby
AL-02
GOP
3
0.2
72
Terri Sewell
AL-07
Democrat
3
0.2
82
Larry Bucshon
IN-08
GOP
2
0.2
82
Rick Crawford
AR-01
GOP
2
0.2
82
Scott DesJarlais
TN-04
GOP
2
0.2
82
Morgan Griffith
VA-09
GOP
2
0.2
82
Richard Hanna
NY-24
GOP
2
0.2
87
Chuck Fleischmann
TN-03
GOP
1
0.1
87
Bob Gibbs
OH-18
GOP
1
0.1
87
Robert Hurt
VA-05
GOP
1
0.1
87
Alan Nunnelee
MS-01
GOP
1
0.1
87
Jim Renacci
OH-16
GOP
1
0.1
87
Jon Runyan
NJ-03
GOP
1
0.1
87
Steve Stivers
OH-15
GOP
1
0.1
94
John Carney
DL-AL
Democrat
0
0.0
 
Total
 
 
1,238
100.0
Broadcast mentions through September 17, 2011 from transcripts on Lexis/Nexis of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and NPR. * Previously served in the U.S. House prior to the 112th Congress. Note: Does not include Republicans Tom Reed (NY-29) and Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) who were elected in November 2010 but took office via special election at that time. Also does not include Democrats Kathy Hochul (NY-26) and Janice Hahn (CA-36) who won special elections in May 2011 and July 2011 respectively. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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6 Comments


  • Some of these people make one wonder what they are doing there. It would be helpful to us the voter, the country and themselves if they spoke out on some of the issues of the day, least they risk losing their seat next time around. We want our elected officials to let us know they are still with us on the issues and platforms that they were voted in on or have they fallen prey to the good old boy system of politics once they got to Washington!!!!

  • How can the general public be that ignorent to have voted these GOP freshmen fools in?

  • Here's the thing...FoxNews has brow-beaten other media outlets into thinking that they are liberal (and I don't mean passively liberal, I mean partisan activist...kind of like Fox themselves) that those outlets are scrambling to prove that they're not.

    And if conservative pundits, who hate non-NewsCorp outlets anyway, complain that having an equal number of liberal and conservative guests on is too liberal, well all they have to do is have more conservatives on! Then those same pundits will whine about how the few liberals they have on are saying things that hurt their feelings. Well, there's only one solution...more conservatives!

    Yup, that liberal media really is doing a number of this country.

  • never underestimate........

  • Walsh was elected by a little over 200 votes over a two-term moderate Democrat. This is the perfect example of what you get when the competent electorate stays home while the teabaggers get out the vote. He's a deadbeat dad, and a poor excuse for a representative who will hopefully not be back after the next election.

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  • Leave a comment


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