Afghanistan Gets Small Slice of 2011 News Coverage

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The war there resulted in about 2 percent of the news media's headlines, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The war in Afghanistan fell short on the national news agenda in 2011.

According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a branch of the Pew Research Center, the decade-long war grabbed about 2 percent of headlines across print, internet, TV and radio news media outlets, the New York Times reported. Other topics dominated coverage: the U.S. economy was No. 1, followed by the upheaval in the Middle East, the 2012 presidential election, the earthquake in Japan, the death of Osama bin Laden and the Tucson shooting that claimed six lives and critically injured Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

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To arrive at its stats, the project consumed a weekly diet of 52 newspapers, websites, TV networks and stations, and radio stations; researchers observed that "despite a drop in coverage of the war in Afghanistan," there was an overall spike in world-news headlines because of the war in Libya and protests in Tunisia and Egypt, among other countries, the Times said.

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Pew began studying trends in national news coverage in 2007, and has found so far that the war in Afghanistan has not sanctioned more than 5 percent of yearly media coverage; last year, it garnered 4 percent amid media companies' tightening budgets for international coverage and the feeling that there is a lack of public interest in the war.

Also off the media's grid: the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, which nabbed less than 1 percent of headlines.