Pumas 4 Palin

McCain press coverage ‘heavily unfavourable’, Palin coverage more positive

Posted on: October 24, 2008

A reader sent the tip about a study done by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (I did not know such a unit existed at Pew Center, I only knew that they put out reports mainly on Immigration and Hispanic issues in USA). Journalism.org is the website and the article is about How the Press Reported the 2008 General Election.  (h/t truthseeker)

It is an extremely lengthy article, covering media coverage in the time between the end of conventions and the end of the presidential debates, with pages devoted to a discussion of each of the four principals, the top narratives, timelines of positivity versus negativity in stories, etc., etc. Quite a detailed report that mercifully includes several visually engaging charts, graphs etc.

The entirety of the article can be overwhelming for most, and is recommended read for the intellectually curious. For the rest, I would recommend at least 2 pages: Overview, Conclusions. Other interesting pages deal with McCain, Sarah Palin and Obama. Again, most of the article is really for journalism junkies.

A few of the numerous nuggets in the Pew study:

 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.

 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 ..

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.

Just about all the PUMAs, NObamists and,  Just SAy NoDealers are convinced that the mainstream media is enamoured of Obama and highly biased in the coverage of the One. The media bias is something the Pew study approaches gingerly. Here is a quote:

 Is there some element in these numbers that reflects a rooting by journalists for Obama and against McCain, unconscious or otherwise? The data do not provide conclusive answers. They do offer a strong suggestion that winning in politics begat winning coverage, thanks in part to the relentless tendency of the press to frame its coverage of national elections as running narratives about the relative position of the candidates in the polls and internal tactical maneuvering to alter those positions. Obama’s coverage was negative in tone when he was dropping in the polls, and became positive when he began to rise, and it was just so for McCain as well.

Well, I call it beating around the bush. The report goes to great lengths in describing their methodology, how they measured the ‘tone’ of the news story, etc. I think the study aims to make some grand survey of coverage of presidential campaigns, and they probably have data borne of their own materials and methods. That’s fine. This year, no one claiming to be an objective scholar is going to convince any puma or nobamist that the press coverage  su generis  has been anything but wholly pro-Obama.

What I really recommend to those who have reviewed the Pew paper is this: go read a lively, readable article at zombietimes, The Left’s Big Blunder. For just a general idea about zombie article read my post here.

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