The Four Stages Of TV News Trade Coverage 2009-2019

Trump's presidency has become defined by trade, yet a closer look at television news coverage suggests there have actually been four stages of trade coverage over the past decade.

The timeline below shows the density of mentions of "trade" on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News 2009-2019.

Live Version.

Look closely at the graph above and you will see that the period from the data's start in 2009 to 2012, consisting of Obama's first term, saw "trade" being mentioned in the news at a fairly stable rate. Obama's second term saw mentions of trade cut almost by half. Trade was clearly less important to the news cycle during his second term. As the election cycle heated up in mid-2015 and especially after Donald Trump's entrance, trade leapt upwards as a major story. Finally, March 2018 is when the modern era of the trade discourse began, where it became a central tenant of economic coverage.