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Media Analysis of the First 2020 U.S. Presidential Debate

Cision analyzes the latest media coverage in week 5 of its State of the Election series

Published on October 02, 2020

Cision, an industry-leading earned media communications management and media advisory platform, today published the latest data from its 2020 State of the Election blog series, a weekly nonpartisan media analysis of the U.S. presidential election. This week, Cision analyzed media coverage of the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Cision also looked at how coverage was consumed by left and right audiences and monitored the seven key issues asked by moderator Chris Wallace.

“As expected, the debate continues to garner significant media coverage and it remains important to Cision to look at the full picture from a nonpartisan point of view,” said Seth Gilpin, Product Marketing Manager at Cision. “As we’ve done in past analyses, we are keen to understand how the left- and right-leaning online publications cover important topics around the election, how that content is shared across social media, and the quality of coverage.”

Over the past week, Cision found there have been nearly 100k mentions across online media, newspapers, TV, radio, and podcasts related to the presidential debate. In the days leading up to the debate and on the night of the debate, right-leaning publications had published 32% more content than left-leaning publications; however, at the time of publishing the day after the debate, left-leaning publications generated 25% more coverage.

Left-leaning coverage was shared about 2x more on Facebook, 24x more on Reddit, and 2.9x more on Twitter. In past analyses, left-leaning content has always outperformed on Reddit, and right-leaning content has outperformed on Twitter. There was a discrepancy this week in Twitter amplification.

Cision also analyzed the seven debate themes and the key messages around the top three topics. The Supreme Court, the novel coronavirus, and the economy yielded the most coverage while racial inequality yielded the least amount of coverage.

View the full media analysis and subscribe to Cision’s election blog series here.

Cision is politically unaffiliated and does not endorse any political parties, platforms, campaigns, or candidates.

Executive Editor