News media coverage of labor traditionally has been used as a supporting example for Political Economy Theory. It holds that that content production and distribution, and hence the news content itself, is subtly influenced by ownership and control. Certainly one can notice over the past few decades a dramatic decline in the journalistic resources devoted to labor coverage. This has lead some observers to suggest the growing corporate concentration of media ownership correlates with strike coverage that has declined beyond any ratio suggested by the declining power of unions and the reduced number of strikes. This research examined whether U. S. network TV newscasts over time have shown less strike coverage, even adjusting for the lesser number of strikes. They did not, but fluctuated wildly based on when sports and other entertainment strikes occurred. The project also indicated a strike-impact-on-consumers focus with an element of social class that also may be at play. Network TV coverage opted for more time devoted to higher-class effects (airline strikes) as opposed to lower-class effects (intercity bus strikes).
Harmon, Mark D and Shu-Yueh, Lee, "A Longitudinal Study of U.S. Network TV Newscasts and Strikes: Political Economy on the Picket Line" (2010). School of Journalism and Electronic Media Publications and Other Works.