Thursday, July 2, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Where's that liberal bias?

Already the 2016 presidential campaign is well under way which has had me thinking back to the last campaign in 2011-12 and how the media covered it. 

There is a strong belief among conservatives that the mainstream media is always against them and that the way they write and talk about things is invariably slanted toward the left. An actual review of that coverage in 2011 told quite a different story. I suspect a similar review conducted in 2015 would show much the same thing. 

For example, that well-known "liberal" media outlet The New York Times has yet to write a positive news story about Hillary Clinton. Indeed, one could make a pretty strong argument that, for whatever reasons, the paper has engaged in a vendetta against her. At the same time, the Times generally seems to be straining to report positive things about the Republican candidates.

I wrote the following post on October 17, 2011 after the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism released its study. I look forward to their study of the current campaign.

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Where's that liberal bias?  

It's a well-known fact, constantly reiterated by right-wingers, that the traditional media (newspapers, magazines, network television) in this country are strongly pro-liberal. Except that, like so many other well-known facts parroted by the right-wingers, this, too, is a lie.  Now, someone has actually quantified exactly how false it is.

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism has just released a study delineating the media's coverage of the Republican candidates for president versus coverage of President Obama over the last five months.  Can you guess which one received the most negative coverage? 

It turns out that Obama has received the most consistently negative press of any of the presidential candidates, with negative assessments outweighing positive ones by almost four to one.  Again, this is not Rush Limbaugh we are talking about here.  This is the New York Times,Washington Post, CBS News, etc.

Pew found that only 9 percent of the president's coverage was positive and 34 percent was negative.  By contrast, Rick Perry - Rick Perryfor heaven's sake! - had 32 percent positive coverage and 20 percent negative.

Tom Rosenthal, the director of the project stated that Obama had had substantially more negative coverage in every one of the last 23 weeks of the last five months, including the week that Osama Bin Laden was killed.

In contrast, the top four most favorably covered candidates were all favorites of the tea party.  Perry, with his 32 percent positive coverage, rated number one, followed by Sarah Palin (31 percent positive), Michele Bachmann (31 percent), and Herman Cain (28 percent).  Mitt Romney had 26 percent favorable coverage.

The next time Sarah Palin or any of her cohorts start whining about how they are so ill-treated by the "lamestream media," perhaps someone will show them this study.  Not that they would accept it, of course.  Too "scientificky."

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