Sunday’s Virginian Pilot had an article by relatively new public editor Joyce Hoffman regarding the news coverage by the Pilot of Barack Obama. In it, she says that the paper has been biased in favor of the junior Senator from Illinois.
…on the national scene the press in general has made Obama a media darling. And since The Pilot had relied almost exclusively on the national media for its coverage of the presidential race, the results have relevance for Hampton Roads’ readers.
The national study undertaken by the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) and Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy analyzed campaign coverage by newspapers, radio, television and talk radio beginning in January 2007, when Sens. Clinton and Obama announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination.
The study, which looked at 1,742 campaign stories from 48 news outlets during the first five months of 2007, established a measure for tone and counted the positive and negative stories about the four leading candidates. Clinton and Obama were the top two Democrats. McCain and Rudolph Giuliani were then considered the top two GOP contenders.
The results are astonishing. Obama outpaced the three other contenders in the count of positive to negative stories by three to one. Moreover, while Obama scored 47 percent positives to 16 percent negatives, the other three candidates all had more negatives than positives.
PEJ studies done since June 2007, although not as comprehensive as that earlier analysis, provide a clear indication that the pro-Obama posture still holds.
The study that Hoffman refers to can be found here. If any of the other Democratic candidates thought that they were going to get any traction, the study certainly dispels that notion. In the conclusion:
One other finding of this study is that the news media also appear to be preoccupied with the head-to-head contest of the first major African American candidate and the first serious female contender for a major party nomination on the Democratic side.
As I mentioned to a voter on Primary Day, the media created this horse race, and they did so long before most voters were even paying attention. And, as Hoffman says, the pro-Obama bias continues. Where are the MSM stories about his failure to attend the State of the Black Union or the threats on the life of host Tavis Smiley, who dared to criticize Obama for not doing so? Outside of a few blog posts, I haven’t seen any. Yet as I type this, two of the five headlines from the AP feed in my sidebar are negatives about Hillary Clinton. The PEJ report says that the bulk of the early negative stories about Clinton came from conservative news outlets. Not anymore. Hillary-bashing seems to have replaced baseball as the national pasttime.
All I can say is that Obama supporters better hope this media bias continues through November, should Obama be the nominee. I suspect, though, what the media giveth the media also taketh away.
And that’s why everyone should be outraged. Or is it really 1984?