Most Americans get the bulk of their information about the issue from the news media, and local television news has a larger overall audience than cable and network news. Local TV coverage of the issue skyrocketed after Republican senators released the first version of their health-insurance bill, and it seems safe to presume that coverage in other local media did, too.
"That drumbeat of coverage in their home districts during Senate debates may have made some GOP senators think twice about angering constituents — including those of their own party," researchers Erika Franklin Fowler and Sarah Gollust write for The Washington Post. Fowler is an associate professor of government at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.; Gollust is associate professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota.
To show the jump in coverage after the Senate bill was released, Fowler and Gollust mapped the average mentions of the issue before and after (click on image for larger version):
Fowler and Gollust caution that their research doesn't say how local TV covered the issue, but "a look at the drop in public approval of efforts to repeal the ACA suggests that local TV coverage cannot have made things easier for wary GOP senators."