Media Slow To Cover Drones In Obama's First Term

4798 It's been all drones all the time this week. NBC News kicked things off Monday with a major scoop on the administration's legal rationale for targeting U.S. citizens linked to al Qaeda, and extensive coverage followed in print, online and on cable news.

John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, during his confirmation hearing for CIA director before the Senate Intelligence Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
In the three days leading up to White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan's confirmation hearing Thursday to become the next CIA director, the words "drone" and "drones" were used hundreds of times on MSNBC, Fox News and CNN, according to a TVEyes search. The drone media debate over drone warfare, which gained steam in the weeks leading up to President Barack Obama's second inaugural, has only gotten more intense since.

But where was the media during Obama's first term, given that the president authorized his first drone strike just days after taking office and has greatly expanded the secret program from the Bush years?

Tara McKelvey
, a correspondent for Newsweek and the Daily Beast, writes in a new report for Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy that in "2009 and 2010, the media fell short in its coverage of the Obama administration's drone program."

But, she continued, "once the drone program expanded its range of potential targets to include American citizens and its geographic scope to countries such as Yemen, Libya, and Somalia, however, news organizations increased the breadth and depth of their coverage."

McKelvey, who was a Shorenstein fellow in the fall, surveyed drone coverage from five publications: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and Time. She found that drone coverage nearly doubled from the first to fourth year of Obama's presidency, from 326 articles in 2009 to 625 articles in 2012. And she found The New York Times covered the topic most extensively.

Source: Huffington Post Media | Michael Calderone
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