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07/27/2008

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You just can't help yourself can you?

Who you gonna believe, the study or your lyin' eyes? All one has to do is read the first few paragraphs to know the lengths they went to to find O'Bama gets negative coverage:

"For example, when NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell said in June that Obama "has problems" with white men and suburban women, the media center deemed that a negative."

Um, excuse me, but this says nothing negative about O'Bama. It is a neutral statement of fact. If anything, it says that The One is the victim of white men and women with unevolved opinions.

Try again Tom!

The source of Tom's info, the LA Times is, of course, well-known as a neutral and objective observer of the news. On the other hand, the hotbed of covert right-wing operatives at the Project for Excellence in Journalism were obviously biased when they reported that in the first quarter of 2008, 69% of all coverage of Obama was positive while only 43% of all coverage of McCain was.

You could have avoided embarrassing yourself with this post had you merely read this same article when I linked it right here at F/A.

Far from being a new trend, here's a summary of several studies showing that in the fall of '07, Democrats not only got more coverage, they got more positive coverage than Republicans.

It simply amazes me that a man of your obvious intelligence and insight cannot see the massive liberal bias in the mainstream news. Well, at least I'm not the only one pointing this out to you, so maybe, just maybe, someday it'll sink in.

@Pursuit
Content analysis is by no means easy, but criticizing the study’s method without even knowing much more than one tiny bit from their codebook is certainly daring.

@Squidley
The two studies cover different time frames, so they do not necessarily contradict each other. In fact another study covering also the first quarter of 2008 by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University (those are the guys that did the study quoted in the LA Times) found the same as the study you are linking to. Please note that not the LA Times conducted the study you are criticizing, but the Center for Media and Public Affairs. You will have a hard time blaming the LA Times for results they didn’t produce. I would be very careful when claiming that some fact like massive liberal bias is obvious. You could be fooled by your own bias. It is certainly better to assess such claims like massive media bias with content analysis and codebooks than with intuition.

Michael,

Daring? Secret to my success boy. Take notice, you might learn something.

But hardly something worthwhile considering. Maybe some insights in psychology?

The conservative complaint is persistent and pervasive media bias. That there are contradictory reports might indicate to rational people that media coverage grows more or less favorable depending on what's going on, which a sign not of bias but of objectivity.

@Tom
Well, that would be jumping to the conclusion a bit too fast. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of media bias just so easily.

It’s just that this is a complex question with no easy answer. This study certainly doesn’t answer that question. As to whether or not media is biased is one of the classic questions of communications science and a satisfactory answer has not yet been found.

Even if communications science were to find out that there is a huge media bias in the USA that doesn’t prove that the media actually influences people. So even if you found out about media bias you would have to make that second step (which includes studies of media effects and media usage – both really complex).

This is not an easy question. And it cannot be answered just like that.

Michael,

Good point--I missed that on my first glance through. However, Pursuit's comment about what counts as "negative" is telling.

By the way, thanks for your serious, intelligent comments. I hope you stick around.

Incidentally, here's a financial indicator of media bias:

An analysis of federal records shows that the amount of money journalists contributed so far this election cycle favors Democrats by a 15:1 ratio over Republicans, with $225,563 going to Democrats, only $16,298 to Republicans.

Not to mention the NY Times' refusal to print McCain's rebuttal to the Obama editorial they published.

Or the overwhelmingly positive coverage given to Obama's grandiose, self-important world tour.

You still sure that the news media lean to the right, Tom?

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