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What? Media Bias? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!
Posted by: McQ on Friday, November 02, 2007

Let the age-old debate begin again:
Just like so many reports before it, a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy — found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.

Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which "produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic candidates than on Republicans."
*Cough, cough*.

Who is it that said the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans? Not a typo? Not a misprint?

Hmmm. Maybe there is something to this.
The most flagrant bias, however, was found in newspapers. In reviewing front-page coverage in 11 newspapers, the study found the tone positive in nearly six times as many stories about Democrats as it was negative.

Breaking it down by candidates, the survey found that Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the favorites. "Obama's front page coverage was 70% positive and 9% negative, and Clinton's was similarly 61% positive and 13% negative."

In stories about Republicans, on the other hand, the tone was positive in only a quarter of the stories; in four in 10 it was negative.
They couldn't be talking about the New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times could they?
The study also discovered that newspaper stories "tended to be focused more on political matters and less on issues and ideas than the media overall. In all, 71% of newspaper stories concentrated on the 'game,' compared with 63% overall."
Whether you believe in bias or not, this is definitely something I've noticed to be true. You can't find out a thing about the issues, but you can certainly get your fill of the politics of an issue.

On to TV:
Television has a similar problem. Only 10% of TV stories were focused on issues, and here, too, Democrats get the better of it.

Reviewing 154 stories on evening network newscasts over the course of 109 weeknights, the survey found that Democrats were presented in a positive light more than twice as often as they were portrayed as negative. Positive tones for Republicans were detected in less than a fifth of stories while a negative tone was twice as common.
Key words: "network newscasts".

And cable? Ready for a shocker?
The gap between Democrats and Republicans narrows on cable TV, but it's there nonetheless. Stories about Democrats were positive in more than a third of the cases, while Republicans were portrayed favorably in fewer than 29%. Republican led in unfriendly stories 30.4% to 25.5%.

CNN was the most hostile toward Republicans, MSNBC, surprisingly, the most positive. MSNBC was also the most favorable toward Democrats (47.2%), Fox (36.8%) the most critical.
So does that mean the authoritarian moonbat left will demand that Democrats refrain from debating on MSNBC in the future?

And, of course, the target of the "Fairness Doctrine", talk radio:
The anti-GOP attitude also lives on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." There, Democrats were approvingly covered more than a third as often as Republicans. Negative coverage of Democrats was a negligible 5.9%. It seemed to be reserved for Republicans, who were subject to one-fifth of the program's disparaging reports.

Even talk radio, generally considered a bastion of conservatism, has been relatively rough on the GOP. On conservative shows, Obama got more favorable treatment (27.8%) than Rudy Giuliani (25%). Sen. John McCain got a 50% favorability rating while Mitt Romney led the three GOP candidates with 66.7%.
Actually no surprise about NPR. But it does restore a bit of my faith in conservative talk radio, because there is certainly no doubt that the Republicans deserved to be roughed up. But I'm a bit lost as to why Mitt Romney leads with that significant of a favorability rating.

That said, there are the numbers folks, and from a source that is going to be hard to push off as some sort of right-wing drone. Agree, disagree, think it's all a bunch of bunk?

The comment section is yours.

Oh, and since a picture is often worth a 1000 words (and that's especially true in this case - although the picture is of words), this provides a fine summary:

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Previous Comments to this Post 

Simple rationale: the media thinks, like many others, that the Democrats will win next year, and therefore tracking the race among the Democratic candidates (and staying nice with them) is more important.

I’m not saying that’s actually what happens; I’m just providing the obvious way to trivialize the results of the study. In addition, I’d like more details on how they determine favorable and unfavorable. And more details about which candidates are portrayed more favorably. (For instance, my impression from watching the MSM is that the candidates are treated "favorably" in this general order: Obama, McCain,Romney, Edwards and all other Democratic candidates except Clinton, most of the other Republican candidates, Clinton, Guiliani. So while the Democrats in general get better treatment than the Republicans, some Republicans are treated better than most Democrats, and the bottom spot is a dule between a Democratic and and a Republican, which I suspect is due to their perceived status as frontrunners: a very mixed picture compared to the generic lable of Democrat and Republican.)

The study would have more strength if it were extended in time to cover, say, the election cycles of 2004 and 2006.
Written By: kishnevi
URL: http://
Simple rationale: the media thinks, like many others, that the Democrats will win next year, and therefore tracking the race among the Democratic candidates (and staying nice with them) is more important.
I think that’s an important point (and one I had sitting in the back of my mind while writing this), and I’d love to see the same sort of survey taken at about this time in ’99 and ’03 to see if the numbers hold true (as you suggest).

Regardless, the media is smelling a winner (not specifically, but generally) and since access is life for them, nice equals access.

Now, that’s not to say that I accept they’re unbiased, by any stretch (which is why comparable numbers for the last two elections would be interesting). I do and have always felt they lean to the left as a whole. But I think the dramatic difference in treatment you see now may very well be precisely what you’re pointing out.
Written By: McQ
I can’t wait for Erb to come to the thread, pee all over everything, change the subject, get called on it, say he didn’t pee all over everything, change the subject again, and then duck out.

That’s my favorite.
Written By: A fine scotch
URL: http://
and in 5,4,3,2,1....

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrreeeeeeee’s Erb!
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Now, that’s not to say that I accept they’re unbiased...
Clearly the media is biased. 100% of people think the media is against their point of view.
Written By: Wulf
Interesting that PBS can not say one positive thing about Republicans and NPS finds very little negative things of Dems. Granted both have better ’neutral’ numbers that the other groupings. Evidently, these two are just better at not letting their biases show through.

For what it is worth, I find both News Hour with Jim Lehrer, along with Hume’s Special Report to be the best news programs. And yet, because I get most of my news via the internet, even these shows are merely "repeats" but with video.
...the media is smelling a winner (not specifically, but generally) and since access is life for them, nice equals access.
I think this is only partially true. Whereas the media being hard on the right is standard fare and much more across the board, the media has treated (spoiled?) the left. Russert was the first person to push Hillary, and look at the reaction. With so many venues willing to suck up, ya think she’ll be doing Meet the Press anytime soon? In other words, by treating the left with kid gloves for so long, the media has to play nice with Dems lest they lose access - not so in their approach to the ’battle-hardened’ GOP.
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Are the polls all showing a Democrat victory next year? If they are not, as I would guess, then that theory is shot down.

What about the "horse race" aspect of it?

Well, since Hillary is so far ahead, the media should actually be covering the GOP more, since its the more exciting up-in-the-air primary race, no?

In any event, things like the big goose egg for GOP favorable stories on NPR should be a warning sign.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
and by Democrats showing a victory in the polls, I mean 55% /45% with no margin of error issue, i.e. the margin of error can’t exceed their lead.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Presidential election coverage is one area where the MSM makes a conscious, deliberate effort to appear neutral and evenhanded. If the bias is so lopsided in this area, despite the self-consciousness, I would love to see the results of a similar study of general news coverage.
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I think that’s an important point

For further evidence of kishnevi’s point, search the report PDF for "Fred Thompson". You’ll find that reporting on him in the coverage period was greater than 7/1 ratio of positive to negative stories.

Hard to see why the "liberal media" made such a wildly discrepant exception for ol’ Fred ... unless other factors are at work.

If you look further at the report, you’ll find that if you take Barack Obama - liked by Republicans and Democrats - and John McCain - disliked by Republicans and Democrats - out of the equation, the coverage becomes "almost identical".

You can’t judge a book by Instapundit’s characterization of it.
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
If you look further at the report, you’ll find that if you take Barack Obama - liked by Republicans and Democrats - and John McCain - disliked by Republicans and Democrats - out of the equation, the coverage becomes "almost identical".
So what? They are part of the equation. If, in dealing with this as a sort of hypothetical, they were removed, then some other Democrat could have been the focus of more positive coverage and some other Reublican more negative.
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://

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