THE ECON BOWL?: It's still the economy, stupid. The U.S. economic slowdown has galvanized the media's attention around economic matters at large and its effects on media spending in particular. With 682 stories in the Spindex sample of influential media outlets-including 582 minutes of TV news coverage-the economy dominated all other marketing-related events last month by a Spindex margin of 2-to-1. Not even advertiser backlash to the lackluster ratings of NBC and the World Wrestling Federation's new trash-talking XFL football league could come close to the economic story, though the new "league" turned in a respectable Spindex of 2,250. An even more tragic sporting event, the marketing implications surrounding the shocking live TV death of Nascar legend Dale Earnhardt, ranked third with a Spindex of 1,196. It bested both pre-Academy Awards coverage of Oscars-related advertising, as well as coverage of marketing fallout surrounding Eminem's performance on the Grammy Awards on CBS.