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« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 459 -- Temperature & Carbon Dioxide. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 461 -- Inequality Fleets, Moots & Peeves. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 460 -- Media Bias.

Proving The Obvious-

The Project for Excellence in Journalism, affiliated with the Pew Research Center, has produced a highly illuminating study on bias in the media. They teamed up with Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy to objectively analyze campaign media coverage in America this year.

Now, Pew and Harvard are not dismissable as far-right-wing groups, but they-- of course-- discovered that America's collective establishment media is giving both MORE coverage and more POSITIVE coverage to Democrats, especially Barack Obama, while extending LESS coverage and more NEGATIVE coverage to Republicans.

Let's look at some of the findings.

First, the major newspapers were farcically tilted toward the left:

For the top tier Democrats, the positive tilt was even more the case than for Democrats in general. Obama’s front page coverage in the sample was 70% positive and 9% negative and Clinton’s was similarly 61% positive and 13% negative.


Okay, well, that's the papers. They're dying as a medium. They're still the kingmakers now, but they are dying off. What about network television, cable television, PBS, and NPR?

Still biased:


A strong plurality of Americans who consume news regularly still get their news from network television, which makes these numbers especially troubling.

With regard to taxpayer-funded NPR, specifically:

Looking at specific candidates, stories about Barack Obama carried a clearly positive tone two-thirds of the time. Not a single Morning Edition story was negative. Furthermore, 43% of Hillary Clinton’s coverage was positive vs. 14% negative.


NPR was also the one outlet where there was a marked difference between the total amount of airtime vs. total number of stories. While 24% of the campaign stories were about a Republican candidate, just 15% of the total airtime was spent on them. This suggests that stories about the Republican candidates were brief, creating an even greater gap in the total coverage of Republicans and Democrats.

NPR has some quality programming, but why do they have to be so slanted? And why such little attention to the Republicans?

Also, looking at specific cable networks, Fox News was really no more biased than any of the other outlets:


CNN also had a 4.5% positive story margin (positive stories minus negative stories) for Democrats, and a 27% negative story margin for Republicans. That's a difference of 31.5%.

FOX had a 12.6% negative story margin for Democrats, and a 10.7% positive story margin for Republicans. That's a difference of 23.3%.

MSNBC, meanwhile, had a 29.5% positive story margin for Democrats, and an 8.2% positive story margin for Republicans. That's a difference of 21.3%.

What is great about this Pew/Harvard study is that it mirrors what the Media Research Center published back in August. To those who claim the MRC is just injecting its own conservative bias into its research ("of course the media looks left when you are so far right!"), this certainly bolsters the Media Research Center's credibility.

Those entrusted with informing the public have chosen to lavish far more positive stories on Democrats, while priming the public with far more negative stories about Republicans. Meanwhile, maybe Republicans shouldn't complain too much about the lopsided bias in the media, as Democrats are receiving the bulk of the media coverage.

"See, it's not so terrible, Republicans! We aren't that biased, when you consider than we're not really paying attention to you, anyway."

Media, heal thyself.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Al Gore & Carbon Dioxide & Temperatures.

Posted by Will Franklin · 31 October 2007 03:19 PM


As much as I miss the caption contest, articles like this make Willisms very much worth visiting. Please keep it up!

Posted by: Nathan Hale at October 31, 2007 11:48 PM

Quality over quantity - now that's Willisms classy.

Posted by: Hoodlumman at November 1, 2007 08:12 AM

This is why Talk Radio is popular with the right, and with Republicans.

Question .... what is the breakdown on Talk Radio when it comes to Democrats and Republicans?

Posted by: Victor at November 1, 2007 12:38 PM


Posted by: Randykvl at November 2, 2007 01:39 PM

I read your posts everyday. Wish I had some comments to make what I say seem smart.

You seem to say it all.

Amen, brother, keep it up.

By the way, hope Ms.Willisms.com and the pup(or now dog, (Heidi.Willisms.com) are doing fine.
Thanks, keep it coming.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at November 3, 2007 12:17 PM