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Fox Tops Anna Nicole Coverage

Fox News spent the most time on Anna Nicole Smith's death of the three major 24-hour cable news channels in the first quarter of 2007, devoting a tenth of its news hole to the story versus 6% for MSNBC and 4% for CNN.

That's according to the first quarterly report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism's News Coverage Index, a content analysis of a cross-section of 48 news outlets .

The biggest story of the quarter for all three was the war in Iraq, with MSNBC devoting the most at 31% of its news hole; 25% for CNN and 15% for Fox.

While the cable nets differed markedly on among of coverage for different stories, the three nightly network newscasts were virtually identical devoting about a quarter of their time to the Iraq war (ABC 27%, CBS 24%, and NBC 26%), and each had the same top four stories in terms of percentage of news hole: Iraq policy, events in Iraq, the homefront, and the presidential campaign.

Looking at all the news outlets studied, broadcast, cable, print and online, Democratic candidates for president got three times as much news coverage as their Republican counterparts, with most of that attention focused on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and nine out of ten stories dealing with tactics (so called "horse race" stories) rather than issues.