December 14, 1989

News Interest Index

Report Summary

Only 28% of Americans are paying close attention to the sweeping political changes taking place in Eastern and Central Europe. This represents a significant fall off in public interest in this story since November, when the Times Mirror News Interest Index found 50% following very closely the breaking news about the opening of the Berlin Wall. In a period when foreign news is dominating coverage, a national story, abortion, is of more interest to the American public than any other. Thirty five percent say they are following very closely news about attempts to change the abortion laws. This is less attentiveness than was measured in July right after the Supreme court’s ruling but, is significantly more than was observed in May, during the court’s deliberative period. The current level of attention to this story is not in response to a major news event but rather, to a steady stream of commentary and analysis on this divisive social issue.