Hot Docs: Details of the Citigroup Bailout, Media Coverage of Economy, Obama's Transition

Today's selection of timely reports.

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Citigroup Bailout a Two-Way Street: The government bailout of Citigroup, which includes guaranteeing up to $306 billion in assets, also provides that the institution will issue $4 billion worth of preferred stock to the U.S. Treasury and $3 billion to the FDIC, according to a joint press release by Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the FDIC. Under the deal, Citigroup must submit an executive compensation plan, with appropriate limitations, to the Treasury. Citigroup is also "prohibited from paying common stock dividends, in excess of $0.01 per share per quarter" for three years without government consent.

Media, Public on Different Pages on Economy: While the media gave equal time to the economic crisis and Barack Obama's transition plans, the public did not, according to a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. The study found that the media devoted 24 percent of their coverage to the economy and an equal 24 percent to the transition. But while the economy was listed as the news story followed the most by 43 percent of the public, the transition came in at just 19 percent. Also, the public view of the government's bailout of financial institutions seems to be shifting. While initially just 30 percent of the public thought the bailout was the wrong thing to do, that number has now risen to 43 percent.

Health News Big News: Health news coverage ranks eighth among topics in national news coverage, surpassing sports, the environment, education, and religion, according to an 18-month survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. But it only accounted for less than 4 percent of overall coverage, overshadowed by coverage of foreign affairs, crime, and natural disasters. The survey of newspapers, network shows, cable, radio, and online news also found that cancer was the most heavily covered health topic, accounting for more than 10 percent of all health coverage.

More Work Needed in Oversight of Cuba Program: A program that has sent $83 million to organizations to promote democracy in Cuba needs continued oversight to make sure the money is not misused, a report by the Government Accountability Office has found. The GAO report comes on the heels of revelations that two grant recipients had misused over a half-million dollars in grants. The report concludes that while the U.S. Agency for International Development has taken numerous actions to improve oversight for grantees in the Cuba Program, "the program's ability to ensure the appropriate use of grant funds remains in question."