Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Duckworth, Castro Lead House Freshman Class in Early Media Buzz

Bookmark and Share

While most new U.S. Representatives have lain low during their first month in office, a half-dozen freshmen have received more than half the media coverage of their entire class

tammyduckworth10.jpgAlthough D.C. is barely one month into the 113th Congress, a few House freshmen seem to already have established themselves as the media's go-to personalities.

A few have life experiences that give them the authority to speak issues like the military and defense.

Another has become a new national spokesman for his party on immigration.

And another has received attention for his conservative firebrand comments for which Tea Party predecessors like Allen West became known.

And who are these rising media stars on the Hill?

A Smart Politics analysis of news transcripts from seven major outlets (ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, NPR) finds that Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth has been mentioned in the most reports among House freshmen since the convening of the 113th Congress on January 3rd followed by Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro and Texas Republican Steve Stockman.

Smart Politics examined news transcripts culled from January 3rd through February 3rd and found 59 percent of the seven-dozen new freshmen (49) had been covered by these outlets.

(Note: This freshman tally includes nine U.S. Representatives who had previously served in the chamber, and two who took their seat in November after also winning special elections to their previously vacant seats).

Duckworth (IL-08), an Iraq war veteran and the first female double amputee of the war, was mentioned in 36 broadcast reports and in every outlet under analysis except FOX.

Duckworth was called a "new star" by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (January 3rd) and was highlighted by several programs on the day the 113th Congress convened (e.g. CBS Morning News, CNN's The Situation Room, CNN Newsroom, The Ed Show, Politics Nation).

During the last month the Illinois congresswoman was also frequently interviewed or quoted on military policy and veterans' issues (MSNBC's Chuck Todd, January 16th; CNN Newsroom, January 19th), gun violence (Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien, January 16th), and women in the military (ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, January 23rd; Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, January 23rd; NBC Nightly News, January 23rd; CBS This Morning, January 24th; Hardball, January 24th; NPR's Tell Me More, January 28th).

For the latter policy issue, several programs ran clips of a Duckworth quote about the role of women in the military prior to the new Pentagon policy allowing women in combat:

"Well, I didn't lose my legs in a bar fight."

Coming in second at 23 reports, Joaquin Castro (TX-20) entered the House with some buzz due to the amount of attention his twin brother Julian received as a keynote speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Castro was named president of the approximately four-dozen House freshmen Democrats and was a focal point of the media when immigration became a front and center issue after the president's inaugural address.

The Texas U.S. Representative was interviewed several times on MSNBC including the Daily Rundown (January 28th), Hardball (January 29th), NOW with Alex Wagner (January 30th), and Live with Thomas Roberts (February 1st).

Meanwhile, Castro's Lone Star State Republican colleague Steve Stockman (TX-36) was mentioned in the third most reports among freshmen at 20 - although for an entirely different reason.

Stockman (who previously served one term from the state's 9th CD in the mid-90s) made his mark within a fortnight of taking office again in D.C. by threatening to file articles of impeachment charges against the president as well as "defunding the White House" to thwart Obama's gun control agenda.

Stockman was mentioned in the largest number of reports by any House freshmen on MSNBC with his name coming up multiple times on The Last Word, Politics Nation, The Ed Show, Hardball, and the Rachel Maddow Show.

Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas' 4th CD received the next most coverage with 18 reports and was the most mentioned freshman on FOX.

Cotton, who volunteered with the 101st Airborne in Iraq and Afghanistan, was quoted or interviewed in several reports on the military and defense, gun control, and his opposition to the Senate confirmation of Chuck Hagel.

The only other two freshmen mentioned in 10 or more reports in the outlets under analysis during the first month of session were Republican congressman Matt Salmon (AZ-05) - who returned to the chamber after a 12-year absence - and Democrat Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) at 15 reports each.

Overall, these Top 6 most covered freshmen - Duckworth, Castro, Stockman, Cotton, Salmon, and Gabbard - account for 56 percent of the coverage of their entire House class to date.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Democrat Elizabeth Esty (CT-05), Democrat Joe Garcia (FL-26), Republican Ted Yoho (FL-03), and Democrat Ami Bera (CA-07).

Nearly three-dozen freshmen failed to get a single mention by the national broadcast media during their first month in office and more than 50 have not been name-dropped in more than one such report.

Democratic freshmen have been mentioned in an average of 2.9 reports in the broadcast media while their GOP counterparts have averaged 2.4 reports.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Michele Bachmann Jeopardy! Curse Continues
Next post: Keeping Up with Erik Paulsen

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting