These 4 Democratic 2020 contenders are getting tons more free publicity than their competitors


The 2020 media primary is on – and so far, there are four clear winners of both the battles to dominate cable and digital news coverage.

Both FiveThirtyEight’s media TV news tracker, compiled with the help of TV News Archive, and a new study from media analysis firm Meltwater commissioned by Politico have found that former VP Joe Biden,Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen.Elizabeth Warren, and Sen.Kamala Harris are leading the pack.

Based on both analyses, these four candidates are dominating media coverage across all platforms.

FiveThirtyEight’s tracker, which exclusively tracks cable news clips, found that Biden received 2,232 cable news mentions the week of April 29, compared to 602 for Sanders, 419 for Harris, and 339 for Warren.


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Meltwater’s study analysed the “hundreds of thousands” of digital and online news articles written about each candidate from both national and local sources and came to the same conclusion about which candidates were receiving the most coverage.

Their analysis also found that three of the other senators in the race, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand all received about five to 10 per cent of the total digital news coverage.

And while former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas began the race as somewhat of a media darling with a glowing cover story in Vanity Fair with photos by Annie Leibowitz, the Huffington Post reported last month that he’s now adopted an anti-media strategy, doing very few interviews and being one of the only 2020 candidates not to do a CNN town hall.

Now, less than 5% of digital news coverage is focused on O’Rourke, and he ranked in fourth place behind Warren in cable news mentions for the week of May 29.


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South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is taking the opposite approach and has successfully boosted his name recognition by appearing on any and every media platform from cable news to print interviews and podcasts. But like O’Rourke, Buttigieg too was mentioned in fewer than 5% of digital news articles on the 2020 race.

Meltwater also found that the candidates who received the most mentions in news articles also got the most buzz on social media platforms, with 50% of all social media posts that discussed a 2020 candidate mentioning either Harris and Sanders.

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