Media bias

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?


15 thoughts on “Media bias

  1. All I can say is that Obama supporters better hope this media bias continues through November, should Obama be the nominee.

    I think that Sen. Obama will continue to get fawning coverage until November. I just wonder how long it will last after his inauguration.

  2. Corporate media in this country is deplorable. I actually think the media is NOT doing it’s job with any candidate….there are lots of questions that should be asked of Hillary Clinton that aren’t asked or investigated (exactly what is in her income tax return that she is hesitant to release it during this primary?), John McCain has NOT had the proper research and investigation into his cozy relationship with lobbyists, nor is the public informed of his history with the keating five and the S&L debacle that cost taxpayers billions of dollars. The issues that have arisen on Barack Obama, his relationship with the real estate developer who moved next door Obama has issued answers to that sound “feasible” to me.

    I have perused the congressional record of Barack Obama and I haven’t seen anything alarming….in fact, he appears to have done remarkably well in this area. So far no issue has surfaced that raises alarms on Obama. that “sticks” to Obama and I believe that this partly due to the fact that Obama has not bought into the system of politics as usual with the dirt that will inevitably end up on every politician who does practice politics in the established, mainstream, status quo manner that is currently practiced in most of our capitals throughout this country. Obama’s way of working to find common ground with others in a powerful way that is not confrontational and in your face. He appears to be a different kind of leader and I think a leader that is different in a way that our country needs. (I refer folks to the daily whackjob today that has a link to a video of Barack dealing with an issue that our leaders have so far refused to address….and I think it’s one MANY of us need to look at seriously.) He is inspiring.

    I despise media propaganda and the insane personal attacks based on sex, sexual preference, race, gender, and class. I wonder if corporate media is not intentionally attacking Hillary on an unfair, irrational basis with sexist comments that anger me and others (supporters of HIllary and strong nonsupporters as well)….and yet important questions about her Senate record, income taxes, etc go unaddressed and unanswered. I am increasingly angered by Hillary’s negative Rove type of campaign tactics and the latest statement from her campaign that they are going to throw everything they can, including the kitchen sink at Barack Obama.

    Until there is some real dirt found to sling at Barack Obama I find Hillary’s tactic to simply sling mud at Obama in order to get something to stick disgusting. Clinton’s tactics are divisive and ugly. I am sickened by the continued comparisons with Jesse Jackson’s campaign run for PResident and her constant emphasis on how ‘she’ works hard (which is a linguistic devise to infer that Barack Obama doesn’t work hard but is a “smooth talker” which elicits an old racist stereotype concerning black men.)

    Quite frankly I’m tired of the divisiveness that Hillary brings to the arena and her confrontational manner. These are the qualities that seemed to attract negative media attacks to her in the past and like a magnet she continues to elicit negative reactions from many pundits.

    Why should anyone be slinging dirt at Obama or anyone else just to be slinging dirt? That’s dirty nasty politics as usual. The swiftboat lies that have become the “norm” in our current political culture. A “norm” that does not give us the best candidate…only the dirtiest fighter…

    I have had a long history of disliking Hillary Clinton and finding time and again how her words and actions don’t match. I believe we were sold out by the Clinton’s when he ran on a platform of national health care….or the horrid don’t ask don’t tell sell out policy for the gay and lesbian supporters of the Clintons (who were told that Clinton would issue an executive order to allow them to serve openly in the military)….to the current “sell out” of children to cluster bombs by Hillary in 2006. I’m also opposed to Hillary’s willingness to use our military might to push America’s agenda onto the rest of the world….her regard for Madelaine Albright’s brand of foreign policy gives me another reason to work for an alternative candidate.

    So I’m an ardent opponent of her becoming our president. I would hate to see her set the example of what a woman president can be. But that’s my opinion and I am basing it on what I have seen Hillary do in spite of what she may say. I am not attacking Hillary b/c she’s white, a woman, etc etc…

    But I don’t believe that my fellow citizens who disagree with me are evil or stupid. We are just looking at this race from different perspectives, from different lenses. I had no idea that Tavis Smiley had received death threats. I find tactics and behaviors like this abhorrent. I am not a fan of Tavis Smiley due to his Wal Mart connections but I wish him no ill will.

    I don’t think that Obama should be protected from the media. In fact, if I see him behave in a way that I believe is incongruous with his message I’ll be asking questions of him myself….but that hasn’t occurred yet. But to “assume” a nasty secret until one surfaces is not kosher either. To slur Obama supporters as stupid and naive is also not right.

    It seems to me that more of us should take Obama’s message to heart and work more towards addressing issues and less to attacking others with different opinions.

    Hopefully, enough of us will do the research and raise the questions on all candidates that our corporate media fails to do on a regular basis.


  3. A bit off topic but relevant, I think, to another topic discussed here on Vivian’s website: The Houston Chronicle has an interesting article titled “In Democratic primary, expect a GOP turnout” —

    Are we about to nominate a Democratic candidate that was heavily influenced by the temporary crossover Republicans across the country?

    Here’s some tidbits from the article:

    “According to polling, as well as anecdotal evidence, an unusually large number of Republicans and independents may cast their votes in the Democratic contest next week, a prospect that could tip the outcome of what polls show is now a tight race. Such defections could also affect the many local and state legislative primaries around the state.

    An American Research Group poll released Monday showed Obama leading Clinton, 71 percent to 25 percent, among Texas independents and Republicans who are likely to vote in the Democratic primary.”


    “There is scattered evidence across the state that some Republicans may be voting Democratic, at least for a day. In one precinct in the suburban Houston neighborhood of Kingwood, where 82 percent of voters cast ballots for President Bush in 2004, Democrats were outvoting Republicans 4-to-1 last week in early voting.”

    “…almost a quarter of voters with a history of voting in GOP primaries planned on participating in the Democratic primary.”

    We’ll have to wait and see if these crossover voters will still be with Senator Obama in November. If not, the Republicans will have cleverly determined just who they want to run against in November. And that’s very disturbing to me.

  4. I have been arguing for weeks that republicans, itching to vote against a Clinton, are pushing Obama over the top. Obama will win Texas because of republicans. Obama’s margin of victory in many of his string of wins is because of republicans. To a man and woman, they will be with McCain in November. That is a shame and has not been a focus of attention when the fawning press reports another Obama win. I think HRC would be the slight favorite if only Democrats were picking our candidate.

    This is a screwed up system!!!!

    The press hates the Clintons. The press loves McCain and Obama. Still wishing on a HRC victory in TX, OH and PA and then on to the nomination in Denver so we can offer the VP slot to Obama!

  5. C’mon NN Dem (and I am a former member of the Newport News Dem Committee!),
    I am a hard core, yellow dog Dem and I love Obama! I think the world of HRC, I just want Obama to win.

  6. C’mon for/to What?

    I think Obama is getting a huge assist by republicans in our primary. I believe that to be true and it accrues to his benefit and hurts Clinton. Is making this observation some anti-democratic (or anti-Obama) rant? It is a “rant” against our screwed up system.

    Meeting is Thursday. Former members get a hug when they return!!!!!! See you there, right??????

  7. Sour grapes? I don’t think so. Facts and evidence have been laid out in this diary and its comments that conclude that 1) the press has barely laid a hand on Obama, and 2) there is evidence that Obama’s victories may be attributed to Republicans voting for him to avoid facing Hillary in November.

    My opinion, the MSM is unhealthily influencing voters. But beyond my opinion, it’s been written about extensively and Vivian’s reference to the article/study seems to validate that.

  8. Sour grapes? Hardly. I just wish I had been aware of the study earlier. Remember, that study covered the first 5 months of 2007, long before a lot of folks had jumped on the Obama bandwagon.

    Read the study, especially the section where it discusses the source of the stories. And then tell me again how an independent study is “sour grapes.”

  9. I agree and disagree with Sleepless.

    I know of many republican friends and family who voted in the VA primary. Each and every one of them voted for Obama. Each and every one of them will vote for McCain in the fall. Each and every one of them did it to only vote against Hillary to vote against a Clinton. It was not done out of fear of Hillary in terms of “facing” her in the fall.

    Wisconsin had a huge republican turnout for Obama and that will happen in Texas. I predict Texas will go for Obama (open primary) due to the gop vote and Hillary will win Ohio because it is an essentially (you have to sign a change of party affiliatiaon to vote in it) closed primary.

    This is not sour grapes, This is not an Obama attack. This is just observations from a political junkie.

  10. NN Dem, I miss the committee so much!!! Some of the best Democrats in the state are in NN!!!!
    Obama is doing great in liberal areas….look at Madison, WI for example.
    And how about VT, where are the Ben & Jerry granola liberals (who I love!) are completely on board for Obama. And watch the Austin area of TX, the turnout there will be mostly liberal.

    He’s got a cross section with some Republicans on board.

  11. The media and PR campaigns have decided this election. We are living in a celebrity motivated times and few people are using their brains because it’s swamped by a media campaign. Hillary demonized. Obama praised. And the press is completely biased.

  12. “All human beings are born free and equal.” I think all human beings are born free and stupid and it is their responsibility to get “un-stupid” by using the brain that was given to them.

    It is beyond me to understand when a person is given facts and proof of something they can’t accept it. If NBC, MSNBC, CNN OR FOX said there was media basis it would be generally accepted.

    They should siimply say that the media is biased, but it is for the candidate support, so it’s OK.

    The proof is in the pudding, but then some don’t eat pudding, they drink koolaid.

  13. I think one thing you may be missing is the “youth” vote. It is huge. They are for Obama for sure.
    My son, who just graduated from college and is “apolitical” is so excited about Barack.
    He and his friends all voted in the primary, which is unusual for them.
    They would vote in a regular election, but not a primary.
    The percentage of young voters is huge. Don’t count them out.
    And a lot of my repub “friends” voted for Ron Paul. Not McCain, not Obama, but Ron Paul.

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