Sunday, November 02, 2008

Media Bias Reality or Study Bias?

A study showed a 65 percent media bias in favor of positive for Obama reports and coverage?

Who conducted the study?

Center for Media and Public Affairs.

Just think, critically so.

And think this way, if the study were conducted of the Internet and the way news reports were dissected or supported by liberal leaning or conservative leaning websites and blogs, what would the study reveal?

It would reveal whatever it would reveal, but at the base of the analysis is this:

every consumer of news has the same opportunity as everyone in this country to read a wide wide wide variety of resources to attempt to gather information to make an informed decision.

If consumers want to be swayed by one newspaper or another, that's their problem.

The information is out there, and it can be found.

Whether the truth is out there or not is left to the individual to determine.
Net the Truth Online

Study: Media coverage has favored Obama campaign

AP Photo
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., throws a bottle of water to a supporter in the crowd who had passed out during a rally at Wicker Memorial Park in Highland Ind., Friday, Oct. 31, 2008.

NEW YORK John McCain supporters who believe they haven't gotten a fair shake from the media during the Republican's candidacy against Barack Obama have a new study to point to.

Comments made by sources, voters, reporters and anchors that aired on ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts over the past two months reflected positively on Obama in 65 percent of cases, compared to 31 percent of cases with regards to McCain, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

ABC's "World News" had more balance than NBC's "Nightly News" or the "CBS Evening News," the group said.

Meanwhile, the first half of Fox News Channel's "Special Report" with Brit Hume showed more balance than any of the network broadcasters, although it was dominated by negative evaluations of both campaigns. The center didn't evaluate programs on CNN or MSNBC.

"For whatever reason, the media are portraying Barack Obama as a better choice for president than John McCain," said Robert Lichter, a George Mason University professor and head of the center. "If you watch the evening news, you'd think you should vote for Obama."

The center analyzed 979 separate news stories shown between Aug. 23 and Oct. 24, and excluded evaluations based on the campaign horse race, including mention of how the candidates were doing in polls. For instance, when a voter was interviewed on CBS Oct. 14 saying he thought Obama brought a freshness to Washington, that was chalked up as a pro-Obama comment.

When NBC's Andrea Mitchell reported Oct. 1 that some conservatives say that Sarah Palin is not ready for prime-time, that's marked in the negative column for McCain.

ABC recorded 57 percent favorable comments toward the Democrats, and 42 percent positive for the Republicans. NBC had 56 percent positive for the Democrats, 16 percent for the Republicans. CBS had 73 percent positive (Obama), versus 31 percent (McCain).

Hume's telecast had 39 percent favorable comments for McCain and 28 percent positive for the Democratic ticket.

It was the second study in two weeks to remark upon negative coverage for the McCain-Palin ticket. The Project for Excellence in Journalism concluded last week that McCain's coverage has been overwhelmingly negative since the conventions ended, while Obama's has been more mixed.

Meanwhile, another survey issued Friday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showed that television continues to be Americans' main source for campaign news, particularly the cable news networks.

“Scholars hate the word ‘bias’ because they feel like they’re entering the ideological fray,” says S. Robert Lichter, head of the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University, who prefers the term “tone.” Despite his efforts, Lichter himself got sucked into that fray. His content analysis of the transcripts of TV news broadcasts at the statement level is a respected and widely adopted methodology. This past summer, just as the view that journalists were going softer on Barack Obama than on John McCain was becoming widely accepted, CMPA issued a report showing that 72 percent of the statements in TV news reports about Obama in late spring and early summer were negative, whereas 57 percent of the statements about McCain were negative. When Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly attacked Lichter’s method during a radio interview, saying it would embolden liberal bias, Lichter responded, “You can take all my studies or none of my studies”—an allusion to past uses of his work to support conservative views.

In study, evidence of liberal-bias bias
Cable talking heads accuse broadcast networks of liberal bias -- but a think tank finds that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Barack Obama than on John McCain in recent weeks.
By James Rainey, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 27, 2008
Haters of the mainstream media reheated a bit of conventional wisdom last week.

Barack Obama, they said, was getting a free ride from those insufferable liberals.

Such pronouncements, sorry to say, tend to be wrong since they describe a monolithic media that no longer exists. Information today cascades from countless outlets and channels, from the Huffington Post to to CBS News and beyond.

But now there's additional evidence that casts doubt on the bias claims aimed -- with particular venom -- at three broadcast networks.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.

Conservatives have been snarling about the grotesque disparity revealed by another study, the online Tyndall Report, which showed Obama receiving more than twice as much network air time as McCain in the last month and a half. Obama got 166 minutes of coverage in the seven weeks after the end of the primary season, compared with 67 minutes for McCain, according to longtime network-news observer Andrew Tyndall.

I wrote last week that the networks should do more to better balance the air time. But I also suggested that much of the attention to Obama was far from glowing.

That earned a spasm of e-mails that described me as irrational, unpatriotic and . . . somehow . . . French.

But the center's director, RobertLichter, who has won conservative hearts with several of his previous studies, told me the facts were the facts.

"This information should blow away this silly assumption that more coverage is always better coverage," he said.

Here's a bit more on the research, so you'll understand how the communications professor and his researchers arrived at their conclusions.

The center reviews and "codes" statements on the evening news as positive or negative toward the candidates. For example, when NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell said in June that Obama "has problems" with white men and suburban women, the media center deemed that a negative.,0,712999.story

The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) is a self-described nonpartisan and nonprofit research and educational organization that is affiliated with George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. It was founded in 1985 by Fox News contributor Dr. S. Robert Lichter and his now ex-wife Dr. Linda Lichter. It publishes a bi-monthly newsletter called Media Monitor...

The organization has been criticized for advancing a notion of objectivity thought to be ideologically consistent with the values of liberal democracy. Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky argue that the CMPA is organized around the creation of "flak," which they define as "negative responses to a media statement or program" and which they maintain is part of a project of "disciplining the media." [17]

The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has challenged CMPA's non-partisan claim, based on the argument that much of its funding has come from conservative sources, and that its founder, Dr. S. Robert Lichter, once held a chair in mass communications at the American Enterprise Institute and was a Fox News contributor.[18][19] After a Washington Post article referred to CMPA as "conservative," the Post published a "Clarification," which concluded, "The Center describes itself as nonpartisan, and its studies have been cited by both conservative and liberal commentators."[20]

according to, their seed money [was] solicited by the likes of Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson. [ 3.0 3.1 Joe Conason, "Letter: A question of bias", Salon, January 15, 2003.]

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