Republicans may have had another episode of Reading Noncomprehensia

Whether Republicans have had another episode of Reading Noncomprehensia or have simply chosen once again to only see what reinforces their perpetual persecution complex I don’t know. Courtesy INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY, Even Harvard Finds The Media Biased, Posted Thursday, November 01, 2007 4:30 PM PT

Journalism: The debate is over. A consensus has been reached. On global warming? No, on how Democrats are favored on television, radio and in the newspapers.

Just like so many reports before it, a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy — found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans. (emphasis mine)

If this is the case as IBD claims then why does this box on the Harvard study suggest otherwise. The Democratic and Republican front runners have the same negatives.


While Hillary Clinton may have gotten the most press, she did not get the most favorable. That distinction, among major candidates, went to Barack Obama.

In the other end of the ledger, Republican John McCain, the once possible GOP front runner, generated by a wide margin the most negative coverage of any serious contender.

The same ranking of candidates, incidentally, holds true if instead of number of stories, we look at the percent of all time or words devoted to each candidate. Eighteen percent of the total news coverage of the campaign was devoted to Clinton, 14% to Obama, 10% to Giuliani and 7% to McCain.

Interestingly, the two front runners in national polls in each party received nearly identical coverage when it came to overall tone.

Liberal press? Case closed? Hardly.

In this campaign, conservative talkers in the early months have a new target. Nearly nine out of ten Clinton segments in conservative talk (86%) were clearly negative in tone. The enmity of some of those hosts toward the New York Senator is so pronounced that both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have on occasional lauded her Democratic rival Barack Obama, with his chief virtue apparently being that he is not Hillary Clinton.

IBD’s and the Right-wing blog’s emphasis on Hillary’s slightly better coverage in the print media is a cause for alarm, yet no complaints about the Limbaugh-Hannity-O’Reilly-Savage-Beck consistently venomous attacks on Clinton. All newspaper stories must have, ironically “equal time”, but the winger noise machine is allowed to throw all the mud they like unchallenged. For every Clinton story newspapers must do a Rudy-Fred-John-Mitt story, but that standard doesn’t apply to that part of the media run by Conservatives. The press, that you know the press Cons don’t own is bias, but the conservative press like the extreme Right IBD is under no obligation at all to balance their coverage – the way that IRD nad all the right-wing blogs I’ve read have snipped the parts that support their agenda and left out the parts that do not – its called spin for a reason. Then there is what IBD’s and the Right’s answer to Elmer Fudd, Newsbusters blog which conveniently fails to mention the percent of negative coverage of Republicans, Newsbusters, Study: Media Elite’s Campaign News More Biased than Talk Radio, by Rich Noyes | October 30, 2007 – 18:55 ET

Nevertheless, the study — which looked at campaign coverage from January 1 through May 31 — offers additional evidence that the elite news media are tipping in favor of the Democrats, in both amount of coverage and the tone of coverage.

[ ]… Using that methodology, the researchers found that the news sources that hold themselves up as the most objective — newspapers, the three broadcast morning shows, the three broadcast network evening newscasts and NPR — were in fact the most tilted, all in favor of the Democrats. At the same time, cable news, commercial talk radio and online news were overall more balanced (with conservative and liberal talk radio basically canceling each other out).

Balance? Doesn’t that imply there is some Liberal/Right dynamic at work where the negatives about Republican candidates comes from supposedly liberal newspapers. No. The study included news from all sources. Some thought to have an editorial slant one way or the other. The vast majority of both Clinton and Obama’s coverage has a cultural bit by nature of the fact that for the first time in U.S. history we may have a woman president or a person of color. Isn’t that what the majority of the press and the morning news shows gravitate to – stories that people can watch while having their coffee, semi-puff pieces that rarely get into the nitty gritty of issues. This angle of the current election, the possible historical precedents has made for  large segment of Democratic coverage. Also let’s not forget the so-called liberal press ( any press not owned by Rupert Murdock or some other Republican standard bearer) isn’t the sole source for negative percentage in all coverage combined.

There was better news for Giuliani on the Fox News Channel where positive stories dominated over negative. (Eight out of 18 were positive, while three were negative). But perhaps indicative of the conservative qualms about Giuliani’s more socially moderate views, on conservative talk radio, nine out of the 16 segments were negative, while just four were positive.
One reason why a non-announced candidate like Fred Thompson attracted significant media attention in the first five months—and why there was also flurry of press interest in a Newt Gingrich candidacy—was a dynamic that emerged in the early phases of this campaign. Many Republicans were uneasy with their choices. Thus, the idea of Giuliani as a shaky front runner has been a consistent story line.

The right-wing blogs flogging this media study were and are some of the biggest echoes of bashing Republicans candidates. Unlike the Netroots, the Conservative blogs do not generate or talk about ideas. They are just another outlet in the noise machine. They echo what is said on Fox, written in the Weekly Standard and AM radio. Rudy has been accused of being a liberal, as has Romney. Only a winger could think and echo the sentiment that either of those two are liberals or centrists Democrats.. That narrative, and it is negative is coming from where, the Right who owns media like the Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox, The 700 Club, radio stations ( Clear Channel anyone).

A First Look at Coverage of the 2008 Presidential Campaign.
It is difficult to read this report and make the over the top claim that the media is clearly pushing for Democrats even though Obama does seem to qualify as a press favorite (with help from Limbaugh and Hannity).

Among other findings from the PEJ-Shorenstein study:

* Just five candidates have been the focus of more than half of all the coverage. Hillary Clinton received the most (17% of stories), though she can thank the overwhelming and largely negative attention of conservative talk radio hosts for much of the edge in total volume. Barack Obama was next (14%), with Republicans Giuliani, McCain, and Romney measurably behind (9% and 7% and 5% respectively). As for the rest of the pack, Elizabeth Edwards, a candidate spouse, received more attention than 10 of them, and nearly as much as her husband.
* Democrats generally got more coverage than Republicans, (49% of stories vs. 31%.) One reason was that major Democratic candidates began announcing their candidacies a month earlier than key Republicans, but that alone does not fully explain the discrepancy.
* Overall, Democrats also have received more positive coverage than Republicans (35% of stories vs. 26%), while Republicans received more negative coverage than Democrats (35% vs. 26%). For both parties, a plurality of stories, 39%, were neutral or balanced.
* Most of that difference in tone, however, can be attributed to the friendly coverage of Obama (47% positive) and the critical coverage of McCain (just 12% positive.) When those two candidates are removed from the field, the tone of coverage for the two parties is virtually identical.
* There were also distinct coverage differences in different media. Newspapers were more positive than other media about Democrats and more citizen-oriented in framing stories. Talk radio was more negative about almost every candidate than any other outlet. Network television was more focused than other media on the personal backgrounds of candidates. For all sectors, however, strategy and horse race were front and center.

As yet no complaints from the Right about how the broadcast media in particular has failed the public regardless of political affiliation by focusing on personal biographical oriented stories rather then the candidates stand on the issues and how the individual candidates polices would affect the average American.

update: One thing that many Democrats like myself have to complain about is while the polls might put Senator Clinton ahead, but this is a good field of Democrats. Where is the coverage of John Edwards. It is not much of a stretch to say that Edwards is the most progressive candidate running. If there is a clear media bias, and this study would hint at most a slant toward the most conservative Democrat in the bunch. I realize that in Wingerworld everyone less conservative then John McCain is a pinko commie, but in the reality based world Hillary is a fraction of a percent left of center. Like Bill, she will probably be one of the best Republican-lite presidents we ever had.