Media Bias? How About Facts, Not Opinion?

Negative NewsThere is now hard data for those on both sides of the media’s “liberal bias” controversy.

George Mason University’s Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) released the results of a study on July 28 showing that “Barack Obama is getting more negative coverage than John McCain on TV network evening news shows, reversing Obama’s lead in good press during the primaries.”

These results are based on content analysis of 249 election news stories (7 hours 38 minutes of airtime) that aired on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and Fox Special Report (first half hour) from June 8, 2008 to July 21, 2008. CMPA analyzed all on-air evaluations of the candidates by sources and reporters, but did not include comments by the campaigns about each other.

Since the primaries ended, on-air evaluations of Barack Obama have been 72% negative/28% positive. John McCain’s coverage was 57% negative/43% positive during the same period. Taking account of the higher number of Obama stories on the three network evening news shows during this period (120 vs. 80), Obama received 89% more negative mentions (in absolute numbers) than McCain.

cmpaThe Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) is a nonpartisan research and educational organization that conducts scientific studies of the news and entertainment media. CMPA has monitored every presidential election since 1988 using the same methodology: trained coders tally all mentions of candidates and issues and all evaluations of candidates.

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