After being delayed by the political brinkmanship of the government shutdown, President Trump’s State of the Union address finally happened Tuesday night. How did the media react to this year’s event compared to last year?
Using data from the GDELT Project, global online news coverage mentioning “State of the Union” or “SOTU” and “Trump” was examined across the project’s 65 monitored languages from the start of Tuesday through noon on Wednesday.
Predictably, given its role in the most recent government shutdown, around 46 percent of coverage of the SOTU mentioned the word “wall.” In contrast, just 20 percent of articles did so during the same day-and-a-half period surrounding last year’s address.
The words “border” and “borders” were also popular, mentioned in around half of all SOTU coverage during and after the speech. Last year they accounted for just 35 percent of articles during the SOTU and quickly fell afterward to just 15 percent.
Strangely, while borders and walls dominated 2019 press coverage, the word “immigration” was mentioned in only 40 percent of coverage this year and remained relatively constant. In contrast, last year it was mentioned in nearly half of all coverage published during the SOTU and was a fixture in more than 30 percent of coverage in the hours after.