Tuesday, July 29, 2008

S. Robert Lichter: The Media Bashes Barack

For the past week we've heard the media narrative (driven by the McCain campaign) that the media is squarely in Barack Obama's pocket. They point to a report from Pew that:
Obama has appeared as a leading newsmaker in 78 percent of election stories, and McCain in 51 percent.
(via Howard Kurtz) However, that report does not state how much of the coverage was positive and how much as negative.

If you've been reading the news or watching any of the cable channels you've probably heard the media bashing themselves for covering Obama so much and for being "in love" with Obama. The McCain campaign made some videos which were supposed to portray the media fawning over Obama. Aside from a few clips (mostly of Chris Matthews) that showed some questionable quotes, the video showed clips of media talking heads arguing that that the media was supporting McCain.

Well, now a top media watchdog, S. Robert Lichter, and his team at the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) are replacing the speculation with (hold your breath)...FACTS! The CMPA did a study of 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. They were looking at those broadcasts which are most supposed to be non-biased, the shows that have the highest ratings and that Americans most count on for even-handed analysis.

Result?

Since the primaries ended, on-air evaluations of Barack Obama have been 72% negative (vs. 28% positive). That’s worse than John McCain’s coverage, which has been 57% negative (vs. 43% positive) during the same time period.


When linked with the previously mentioned Pew study (which might not be kosher, b/c I don't know the Pew methodology), that might mean that not only is the media more harsh on Obama, that harsh coverage takes up more broadcast time.

For the record, S. Robert Lichter has been a commentator for Fox News and has been criticized for being funded by conservative sources and for having "a conservative world view".

Facts...pretty important.

For much more on media mistakes for McCain click here.

I'm not a fan of bashing the media. The way the system works, the media reports those stories that they hope will sell best. I don't like the system, but I don't think anyone gets anywhere by complaining about it. But when a meme like, "Barack Obama controls the Media" comes out without any facts (contrary to the facts), someone has to say something.

1 comment:

Jill Rodde said...

I think you're totally right, Pablo, and more to the point, I'm unclear as to what the McCain camp hopes to gain through more coverage. It seems like every time there's a camera on him he puts his foot in his mouth, or worse.

For now, McCain just looks pathetic, begging for attention when all there is to report is that he's kind of old and crazy.