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Thread: balanced media coverage?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2003
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    Post balanced media coverage?

    Winning the Media Campaign

    October 22, 2008
    How the Press Reported the 2008 General Election


    The media coverage of the race for president has not so much cast Barack Obama in a favorable light as it has portrayed John McCain in a substantially negative one, according to a new study of the media since the two national political conventions ended.
    Press treatment of Obama has been somewhat more positive than negative, but not markedly so.
    But coverage of McCain has been heavily unfavorable—and has become more so over time. In the six weeks following the conventions through the final debate, unfavorable stories about McCain outweighed favorable ones by a factor of more than three to one—the most unfavorable of all four candidates—according to the study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
    For Obama during this period, just over a third of the stories were clearly positive in tone (36%), while a similar number (35%) were neutral or mixed. A smaller number (29%) were negative.
    For McCain, by comparison, nearly six in ten of the stories studied were decidedly negative in nature (57%), while fewer than two in ten (14%) were positive.
    McCain did succeed in erasing one advantage Obama enjoyed earlier in the campaign—the level of media exposure each candidate received. Since the end of August, the two rivals have been in a virtual dead heat in the amount of attention paid, and when vice presidential candidates are added to the mix the Republican ticket has the edge. This is a striking contrast to the pre-convention period, when Obama enjoyed nearly 50% more coverage.
    Much of the increased attention for McCain derived from actions by the senator himself, actions that, in the end, generated mostly negative assessments. In many ways, the arc of the media narrative during this phase of the 2008 general election might be best described as a drama in which John McCain has acted and Barack Obama has reacted.
    As for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, her coverage had an up and down trajectory, moving from quite positive, to very negative, to more mixed. What drove that tone toward a more unfavorable light was probing her public record and her encounters with the press. Little of her trouble came from coverage of her personal traits or family issues. In the end, she also received less than half the coverage of either presidential nominee, though about triple that of her vice presidential counterpart, Joe Biden.
    The findings suggest that, in the end, Palin’s portrayal in the press was not the major factor hurting McCain. Her coverage, while tilting negative, was far more positive than her running mate’s.
    These are some of the findings of the study, which examined 2,412 campaign stories from 48 news outlets, during six critical weeks of the general election phase from the end of the conventions through the final presidential debate. Tone was examined on a subset of this sample, 857 stories from 43 outlets, those campaign stories that were focused on one of the candidates. Marion Just of Wellesley College served as a consultant on the study. The Project is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
    MC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
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    14,676

    Post Re: balanced media coverage?

    It truly cracks me up that the media is just now getting around to publishing articles about how unfair they have been in this campaign. I'm surprised they didn't wait until after the election.

  3. #3
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    Post Re: balanced media coverage?

    Well McCain has run a very negative campaign. I'm not surprised that the coverage would be seen as negative. After all........the media is there to supposedly report what's happening- not make a value judgement.
    Is it the media's responsibility to show the candidates in a "positive" light? I don't think so.
    On the other hand- the media loves a winner.......and, like it or not, Obama has been the frontrunner for a while now.
    I generally don't like all this whining about the media all the time. I notice that no one complains about media coverage as long as their guy is winning! But whenever anyone slips behind- it's blame the media time.
    John McCain has run a very negative campaign. So negative that even Republicans have been complaining....and a lot of endorsements by newspapers have mentioned it. That's just reality. So why is it surprising or an indication of supposed bias that so much of the coverage of him is also "negative."?

  4. #4
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    Post Re: balanced media coverage?

    I think the data is skewed by the last two months. I would be more interested in seeing the data upto a week after the Repub convention. McCain's campaign has fallen apart since then....I would expect since the conventions that McCain has had more negative press...he has deserved it.

  5. #5
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    Post Re: balanced media coverage?

    Yes.......and I'd like to see a comparison going way back also. It's pretty well known that McCain has always had a very good relationship with the press- up to a couple months ago when his campaign managers convinced him to shut them out. McCain used to spend hours kibbutzing with them- but now there's a curtain between him and the press covering him- and they have no free contact with him.
    Remember, McCain publicly called the media "his base". There's a reason for that! McCain always got very good coverage from them. Until his campaign went negative.

  6. #6
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    Post Re: balanced media coverage?

    I sometimes laugh at this media bias thing...because in some cases the person actually deserved the negative coverage. I agree I think up until the last two months McCain's relationship with the press had always been good. I do think media bias can occur but I don't think it is as widespread as the righties would have one believe.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Post Re: balanced media coverage?

    And I don't think it's responsible for one candidate winning.....or losing. We've been hearing this media bias thing for years.......all those years that Republicans were winning, despite the so-called "media bias". We heard it when Clinton was losing the nomination........and now we're hearing it again, when McCain is down in the polls.
    C-mon people.........if McCain had a coherent, strong message that resonated with the public..............he might be ahead in the polls. No matter what the media is covering!

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Re: balanced media coverage?

    No one is saying the reason McCain is losing is because of biased media.. but it is a variable that contributes to the equation.
    MC

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