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Study Shows Media MUCH Tougher On Obama

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Of course many are crying about the “liberal-media” bias favoring Obama, but it looks like that’s not the case.

From the LA Times:

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign. […]

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.

Now, is Obama getting more media coverage? Yes, as the Tyndall Report showed on Friday, and I don’t think there’s really any doubt about that. But that’s because McCain wrapped up his nomination 3 months before Obama did. So my guess is that Hillary Clinton has received more media coverage than McCain too.

In any event, this isn’t a liberal bias thing as much as it’s a focus on primary season and, after Obama won, the minutiae of his campaign since he’s seen as such a wild card by the media. And, when the Tyndall Report looked at who the media focuses on over the past 20 years, it’s a wash.

Jan-Jun (mins) Democrat/Republican
1988 – Dukakis/Bush – 53/167
1992 – Clinton/Bush – 158/94
1996 – Clinton/Dole – 37/130
2000 – Gore/Bush – 71/111
2004 – Kerry/Bush – 157/133
2008 – Obama/McCain – 389/203

The totals? 865 minutes for the Dems and 838 minutes for the Repubs. And if Obama had wrapped up the nomination in February like McCain did, I’m sure they’d be at near parity in terms of coverage.

Also, as the numbers from 1996 show, getting a lot more media coverage is not necessarily a good thing. Dole had nearly 4 times the amount that Clinton did, and Clinton mopped the floor with him in November.

In any event, please don’t buy into the spin that the press is in love with Obama when the exact opposite seems to be the case. Sure, he’ll occasionally get great coverage like he did this last week, but ultimately I think both candidates get a pretty even shake when you really look at the coverage. And that is as it should be.