Friday, October 13, 2006
I've continued to follow the press coverage of the Foleygate scandal via counts of Google News stories, and some interesting trends may be developing.
Before the Foley story broke on the 28th, "Republican scandal" was running at about 200 stories, which could be considered the background rate for this meme. Now, despite having dipped down drastically after an immediate peak on the 5th, that meme has seen steady growth, and now outruns the other search terms by over 500 stories, more than twice the previous background rate. That can be interpreted to mean that the media is about twice as apt to refer to Republican scandals as it was before the Foley scandal -- and that they are talking about those scandals without necessarily specifically concentrating on the Foley matter.
Not only that, but the other search terms (Foley/page, Foley/Hastert and Hastert/scandal) seem to be coming together after some diversion, which implies that the conventional take on this story now routinely combines mention of "Foley", "page", "Hastert" and "scandal." This would seem to mean that the identification of Hastert with the Foley scandal is complete, which will make it much harder for him to shuck it off.
The trend on both "Republican scandal" and the Foley/page/Hastert/scandal complex is upwards, with the slope of the former more severe than that of the latter. We'll see in the next few days if these trends continue.
(The previous entry on this subject is here. Also, please note the "Foleygate press coverage" box on the sidebar, which I'll try to keep updated daily.)
Update: Josh Marshall:
In itself, Foleygate isn't going to drive many people's votes. And even fewer will admit that it has in polls. But I think Foley has provided a collective gut-check moment for the country, when perhaps a critical portion of the country has said, Enough. it's not about Foley. It's really about everything that has come before. But it's allowed people to step back, take in the whole picture and say: No, I'm done.
Update (10/14): Today's graph shows the "Republican scandal" meme disconnecting even more thoroughly from the specifics of the Foley/page/Hastert events as it continues to take off on its own.