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« John Kerry (Inaccurately) Belittles Our Troops. | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 77 »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 365 -- Media Coverage This Fall.

Tilted Toward Democrats, Of Course-

The Center for Media and Public Affairs is decidedly non-partisan. It's respected by everyone. The CMPA is such a non-shill for either side that its findings even often end up in left-leaning academic papers. I love the Media Research Center (MRC) and think they do great, objective work, but unlike the MRC, the CMPA has credibility with the establishment media.

So when the CMPA issues the results of a study on the media, it's time to pay attention.

First, from a study released a couple of weeks ago, the intensity (frequency) of coverage from September 5 through October 3 quadrupled this year, relative to 2002 (.pdf):

Bigger Than the “Revolution”: The first four weeks of this year's midterm coverage has been more than three times as heavy as in 2002 and more than three of the last four off year elections combined. The nightly network newscasts have broadcast 83 campaign stories, over four times the 20 they ran during the same time period of 2002, and eight times greater than the midterms in President Clinton’s second presidency. (10 stories) The 2006 coverage is also 38 percent greater than that given the “Republican Revolution” midterm election in 1994. (60 stories)

So, the media are covering more stories this year. That might not be such a terrible thing if the stories are honest and objective, right?


Fixated on Foley: Since the scandal involving Rep. Mark Foley 's instant messenges broke, 85 percent of election stories (23 of 27) been about the investigation and how the scandal will affect the balance in Congress.

So, yeah, the Foley obsession. Sure, it's probably news, maybe even national news, but to shut down the entire campaign issue discussion in favor of one guy's misconduct is just not proportional. Nor does it follow precedent, when a Democrat did similar but worse things than Foley in 1994.

Beyond the Foley Follies: After taking the Foley scandal coverage into account, however, the 60 remaining stories still equal the 1994 total and exceed the combined totals of 2002, 1998, and 1990.

Think about that one. Why on earth would the number of mid-term stories on the same networks jump so dramatically? Could it have something to do with an agenda.

“Macaca” Mania: Most stories paint with broad strokes, covering the nation’s political climate and the parties' overall prospects. Among individual races, Virginia’s Senate race stands out with 5 in depth stories, due to a number of highly publicized verbal gaffes by Republican incumbent George Allen. The only other contests to attract in depth coverage are the Senate races in Missouri, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania – all with one story apiece.

I think the media, with an assist from George Allen, can safely say that they created a new English word this summer. And a taboo word, at that-- an actual racial slur from thin air. How often does that happen?

ABC Leads The Pack: ABC’s 32 stories accounted for 38 percent of the network election coverage in the four weeks after Labor Day. CBS devoted 26 stories (31 percent) to the midterms, while 25 stories were broadcast on NBC (30 percent).

So, in other words, there have been more stories, across the board. ABC is the most eager network, it would seem, to push a narrative.

What narrative might the collective "MSM" be pushing this year, anyway?

Now, look at how absurdly those stories have been slanted, from September 5 through October 22 (.pdf):

Weighing the Positives and Negatives: 3 out of every 4 (77 percent) on-air evaluations of Democratic candidates and members of Congress were positive during the first seven weeks of the campaign. By contrast, only 1 out of every 8 assessments (12 percent) were favorable toward their Republican counterparts.

Yikes. Here's the visual (.pdf):


It's almost too lopsided to even be believable, but then again, this is the establishment media we're talking about here.

Mid-term Overkill? In the first seven weeks after Labor Day in 2002, network coverage of the mid-term elections totaled only 35 stories. 2006's coverage has been almost five times as heavy, with 167 stories.

What were the networks filling their airtime with back in 2002, anyway? Five times the number of stories means there was a concerted effort to push a narrative. I wonder what narrative that might be?

Three Dominant Storylines: Only three issues have received more than sporadic coverage: the Mark Foley scandal, the Iraq war, and terrorism. The Foley scandal produced nearly as much coverage as the other two combined -- 59 stories, compared to 33 on Iraq and 31 on terrorism/national security. No other issue was covered in more than six stories.

So, again with the Foley. What's so frustrating about the Foley situation is that the story broke just as President Bush and Republicans were gaining a bit of traction on the terrorism issue. No wonder Foley was such a disproportionately big deal.

Also, notice how there's been little or no coverage of the robust economy in relation to the 2006 elections. Gee, I wonder why not.

Local Candidates, National Spotlight: Due to the extensive coverage of the Mark Foley scandal, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert's campaign was featured in 42 stories. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) was featured in 10 stories, even though he's not seeking re-election this year. Hillary Clinton's possible presidential run in 2008 has been discussed in 9 stories. No other candidate was covered in more than five stories.

So, the media don't like Dennis Hastert and want him out, they do like Barack Obama, and they are going for ratings with the Hillary Clinton pieces. Not shocking.

The media are the Democrats' 12th, 13th, and 14th man, plus the crooked officiating crew. They are not just rooting for their team on the weekends, they are doing everything in their collective power to tip this election.

This sort of bias is just not healthy for our country.

That being said, how awesome will it be when Republicans maintain both chambers of Congress next week, in spite of all of this heavy-handed media assistance?


Previous Trivia Tidbit: The Overall Ideological Impact Of Each State's Congressional Delegation.

Posted by Will Franklin · 31 October 2006 05:25 PM