I love these stories that make it sound like media content analysis is some undercover dark ops. According to this AP report on post oil rig explosion expenses :
Among all the contracts, perhaps none is more striking than the Coast Guard's decision to pay $9,000 per month for two months to John Brooks Rice of New Orleans, an on-call worker for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, under a no-bid contract to monitor media coverage from late May through July.
Rice told the AP that he compiled print and video news stories and offered his subjective appraisal of the tone of the coverage. "From reading and watching the media I would create reports," he said. "I reported either positive coverage, negative coverage, misinformation coverage."
The Coast Guard provided the AP with a copy of two of Rice's printouts of news stories but didn't respond to a request for copies of his reports rating the tone of news stories. Rice said he had already deleted them. The AP requested copies of all Rice's reports under the Freedom of Information Act but hasn't received them.
Given the volume of coverage, I actually don't find $9000 an outrageous amount for solid, accurate analysis and full reporting. the question is, what did they really get and how accurate was it?