As the 2014 election wound down, the political conversation focused on the threat of Ebola, and the threat of the Islamic State and, in New Hampshire and Arkansas, the combined threat of Ebola-ridden Islamic State supporters sneaking across the border to blow us up with bodily fluids -- or something.
And then it stopped. Right after Election Day, we noted the drop-off in interest in Ebola, in particular -- a natural artifact of cases in Texas and New York being cured. A month later, we have a more complete picture.
Google Trends offers as good a look at America's current obsessions as anything. Even before Election Day, marked on the chart with a vertical line, interest in the topic had evaporated. (A note on the graphs: Searches for "ISIS," another name for the Islamic State, were more common, so that's what is reflected below.)
In naming exaggerations about Ebola as its "lie of the year," Politifact noted that media interest in the story also faded over the course of December. (Our Glenn Kessler included comments about Ebola and the Islamic State in his yea-end fact-checking round-up, too.) We pulled daily mentions of the two topics from Nexis.com to track how media interest had changed. At the end of November, Ebola and the Islamic State were barely mentioned at all.
The news, by definition, deals with things that are new. Ebola and the Islamic State didn't offer much new since the election ended -- with the exception of the CIA torture report and the spike in searches in mid-November, coinciding with another murder by the terror group.
The issues that were central to -- and in some cases drove -- the 2014 election are barely part of the national conversation anymore.