Worth Noting

Media Coverage Far From Balanced?

October 24, 2008

A newly released study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism has confirmed what some have already suspected—media coverage of this year's presidential race has been far from balanced.

The Pew study, released October 22, found that Sen. McCain has received nearly twice as much negative news coverage as Sen. Obama (57% vs. 29%) since the conventions ended.  As for positive news coverage, 36% of news stories focused on Sen. Obama were positive while just 14% of stories focused on Sen. McCain were positive.

In addition to Pew's findings, a recent Gallup poll found more than twice as many Americans—nearly half of those polled—said the news media was too liberal rather than too conservative (45% vs. 18%).

Recently, the two candidates have received almost an equal amount of media attention—a marked difference to the pre-convention period as demonstrated by the following chart.
% Stories With Candidate As Significant Factor, July 1 - October 19

While increased coverage might seem helpful to McCain, in reality his increased exposure has  been largely offset by its unfavorable tone, which has hurt McCain more than it has helped him. According to Mark Jurkowitz, of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, most of McCain's negative news coverage is self-inflicted—a result of his reaction to the current economic crisis.

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