Patterico's Pontifications

8/20/2008

Media Bias for Obama “Greater Than Imagined”

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 9:18 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

From the Washington Post’s Trailblazer blog, the Media Research Center says the good coverage the media has given the Obama campaign has been even “greater than anyone imagined” [emphasis supplied]:

“Now the conservative Media Research Center says the imbalance is far greater than anyone imagined.

The advocacy group, which lives to complain about liberal bias, has studied the coverage on the network evening newscasts from May 2000 (the first mention of the senator from Illinois) through the end of the Democratic primaries in June. Overall, the group says, 34 percent of the stories about Obama were positive and 5 percent negative. The rest were characterized as neutral.”

It’s always nice to start the day with a heaping cup of media bias and clearly the Washington Post, which lives to slam conservatives, knows bias when it sees it.

H/T Instapundit.

— DRJ

52 Responses to “Media Bias for Obama “Greater Than Imagined””

  1. No doubt the same blog would describe someone like Eric Alterman as a “media critic” or “media watcher.”

    JVW (d54fc4)

  2. . . . without appending an adjective such as “liberal” or “left-wing” that is.

    JVW (d54fc4)

  3. Mendoucheous little twatwaffles, they are.

    JD (5f0e11)

  4. The Washington Post “lives to slam Conservatives”? What edition of the Post are you reading, DRG? Not the one with Dana Milbank, obviously.

    You people clearly had tortured childhoods. Your demand for constant positive reinforcement, in which anything so much as neutral about Obama is regarded as praise, borders on the pathological.

    David Ehrenstein (1d6679)

  5. As usual, they failed to answer the conclusion in the study, preferring instead to cast aspersions on the sponsor.

    Dmac (874677)

  6. …the imbalance is far greater than anyone imagined.

    Perhaps it wasn’t imagined at all?

    Apogee (366e8b)

  7. twatwaffles. I like it. And of course it wasn’t imagined at all. Nothing to see here, move along, move along….

    J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3)

  8. Shocking! Of course the MSM’s solution will be to re balance the Obama stories to 99% positive and 1% negative.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  9. I’ve certainly seen huge examples of journalistic bias, but the Media Research Center botched this one. Since the study didn’t compile the same stats for McCain’s coverage, it’s not very useful.

    Bradley J. Fikes (a18ddc)

  10. If Vanity Fair truly did find The One’s brother living in a shack in Nairobo, where’s Obama’s hope and change been? Obviously more than just another Citizen of The World, I think we may have an Obama nightmare far greater than Billy Carter or Roger Clinton ever were.

    PC14 (ec0516)

  11. Since Obama never does anything wrong, I’m surprised they found any negative coverage among the big three networks.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  12. Bradley,

    It’s a bad study if the point was to compare the coverage of Obama with McCain’s coverage but I don’t think that was the point. I think the point was to look solely at the media’s coverage of Obama: Is it mostly negative, mostly positive, or somewhere in between?

    There are many ways to analyze media coverage. This one tells us the media sees more good than bad when it comes to Obama.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  13. Glen Beck commented this morning about the fact that his show has done dozens of parody songs over the years on all manner of topics, and since moving to NY they have never had a problem getting professional singers and musicians to record them.

    But over the last few days they tried repeatedly to hire singers and musicians to record a parody titled “Obamamesiah” to the tune of the Soviet National Athem, and were denied by every union in NY. The reason given for the refusal was that the paroldy was disrespectful to Obama.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  14. How would one go about quantifying the in-kind contribution from the MSM to the Baracky campaign?

    JD (75f5c3)

  15. I have been refreshing Yahoo! News for the last forty minutes, and whoever is in charge at Yahoo! refuses to prominently feature what is listed below as the most emailed and the second-most viewed article: “McCain takes lead over Obama: poll”.

    The Madrid plane crash is the top story, understandably, but the other stories at the top of the homepage have to do with Russia severing ties with NATO and Giuliani’s scheduled speech at the GOP confab (be still my heart…not).

    Even in the “More Stories” links just below, McCain’s first significant lead in a national poll is not as important as “Prospects grim for abandoned whale who took yacht as mother.” If you use Yahoo! News as a source, you have to hunt for the story about McCain’s lead. Apparently, more than quite a few have either hunted for the story or stumbled upon it, but that’s despite Yahoo’s efforts, not because of them.

    L.N. Smithee (ecc5a5)

  16. WLS wrote: But over the last few days [Glenn Beck] tried repeatedly to hire singers and musicians to record a parody titled “Obamamesiah” to the tune of the Soviet National Athem, and were denied by every union in NY. The reason given for the refusal was that the [parody] was disrespectful to Obama.

    As opposed to that other guy…what was his name? Oh yeah, Jesus.

    L.N. Smithee (ecc5a5)

  17. Russia severing ties with NATO should be one of the stories at the top of the home page.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  18. “Greater Than Imagined”

    — A telling measurement of the depth of their imagination. It is also a telling indicator of how much attention the MRC pays to blogs such as this one, which is to say: none at all. Maybe someone should conduct research into determining the quality, accuracy, and viability of their methodology.

    Icy Truth (b55029)

  19. …34 percent of the stories about Obama were positive and 5 percent negative.

    Just who were those racist hate mongers that wrote negative stories about Obama?

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  20. #14 LN Smithee – Yahoo! News has been to the left of MSNBC for a while now. It’s articles are so off that they could be mistaken as something from The Onion.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  21. aphrael wrote: Russia severing ties with NATO should be one of the stories at the top of the home page.

    No argument that it’s a biggie, but Rudy making the keynote address is the biggest headliner in domestic politics? That’s nonsense.

    L.N. Smithee (ecc5a5)

  22. Prediction: McCain will pick Joe Liberman for VP. Joe will immediately convert to Christianty as an exercise in “Bi-Partisanship.”

    David Ehrenstein (1d6679)

  23. If Obama does lose – in spite of the undeniable massive media support, promotion and bias toward him – it might be a reavealing and very loud statement of just how irrelevant and insignificant the MSM has become.

    OTH, if he wins, it will just show that there are more dumbclucks than believed.

    Dana (b4a26c)

  24. DRJ #11, your analysis is good but without a comparison to the media’s treatment of McCain “Media Bias” is a completely meaningless charge.

    Media Bias implies that candidate A is being treated in a different manner than candidate B giving candidate A an advantage. If there is no comparison over some X amount of time between the candidates then any legitimate charge of “bias” is transformed into little more than sniveling that the media is “being too nice to this guy”. If you really want to hear that you can go over to crooksandliars and listen to them go on and on about “McCain’s media”.

    If you want to read about another take on bias that was “greater than anyone imagined” check out the segment in “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell where he suggests that Peter Jennings biased his reporting on the Prez race that got Ronald Regan into office merely by smiling more when he was reporting on Republicans, thereby creating a subtle pro-Republican bias!

    What’s next? Will they find out that Wolf Blitzer is biasing Americans against John McCain by combing his hair off to the LEFT every time he interviews McCain? See? See? to the LEFT = commies!… followed by immediate images of commie tanks blasting away in Georgia or Poland. The associations between McCain and communism will be inevitable and subtle…. yet effective…..

    EdWood (c2268a)

  25. I don’t normally get a change to watch CNN, but this morning at the gym, through a 30 minute workout, every time I looked at the screen, it was all Obama, all the time.

    tyree (32022e)

  26. EdWood,

    I understand your point and I would agree if the media routinely published positive or “good news” stories regarding important topics, but they don’t. I understand why that’s true and I don’t think it’s simply because bad news sells. Thankfully, we live in a country where good things routinely happen so positive stories aren’t news.

    Thus, I think a study that shows stories about a specific candidate are heavily positive demonstrates one kind of bias. If further studies show there are fewer stories about McCain or that most stories about him are negative, that demonstrates even further bias. On the other hand, if the studies show stories about McCain are equally positive, then I’d want to know why all the good news when it comes to politics and not other aspects of our lives?

    DRJ (a5243f)

  27. David E#4,

    The phrase “lives to slam conservatives” was intended to jokingly mock the parallel phrase inserted in the WaPo article. However, I think it’s accurate for long-time readers who remember how much the Washington Post enjoyed the Watergate years and subsequent Republican debacles.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  28. Not the one with Dana Milbank, obviously.

    Dana is clearly a neocon Conservative.

    JD (75f5c3)

  29. “it was all Obama, all the time.”

    tyree,

    The next time you notice that, ask them to turn up the volume a little. I believe that more exposure is definitely what Obama needs. Tons more exposure, 24/7, with MSM lapdogs panting under their master’s gaze.

    After all, constant exposure has dropped public opinion concerning the reliability and utility of the press down to the level enjoyed by the Democrat controlled Congress. There is plenty of room at the bottom of the barrel for Obama – his sycophants won’t even have to scrunch over.

    Rick Ballard (0a8990)

  30. And you supported Nixon, DRJ?

    David Ehrenstein (1d6679)

  31. DRJ,
    Allegations of media bias are only meaningful when compared cross-party. The MRC could have compared the positive/negative coverage ratio of Obama and McCain, but failed to do so. So for purposes of deciding whether the media is favoring Obama over McCain, the study is useless.

    The MRC should do the study over again, this time comparing both candidates.

    Bradley J. Fikes (a18ddc)

  32. DRJ
    “the studies show stories about McCain are equally positive”
    then we would have to conclude that there is ALSO “pro-McCain” media bias under the scenario you lay out above…. perhaps driven by similar numbers of biased stories put out by different papers, news-shows, etc.

    “I’d want to know why all the good news when it comes to politics”
    Maybe the media would be building up BOTH candidates in order to set them up to be ruthlessly torn down later… in order to create a “controversy” to sell more advertising….
    That seems like the most obvious media game to me… I am waiting for the articles to start flowing about our olympians…

    Nastia Liukin cheated in 3rd grade spelling bee! How can we ever trust her again???

    Phelps and gymnasitics team in love quadrangle, Shawn Johnson claims love child involved!

    Johnson calls Nasty Nastia “conniving By-ach”

    Just you wait….

    EdWood (c2268a)

  33. Bradley,

    I accept your statement if the term “media bias” is a term of art in journalism that is limited to direct comparisons in coverage of major political candidates/stories.

    So what about this: If a study revealed that a newspaper had written predominantly positive stories about abortion, does that say anything about its pro-choice bias? Or would you refuse to answer that question unless you first compared how the newspaper covered pro-life stories? I can see arguments both ways, but to me the fact that most stories were positive – in an environment where negative or neutral stories are more common – can be evidence of bias.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  34. EdWood,

    That publication sounds like a winner!

    DRJ (a5243f)

  35. EdWood wrote:

    If you want to read about another take on bias that was “greater than anyone imagined” check out the segment in “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell where he suggests that Peter Jennings biased his reporting on the Prez race that got Ronald Regan into office merely by smiling more when he was reporting on Republicans, thereby creating a subtle pro-Republican bias!

    What’s next? Will they find out that Wolf Blitzer is biasing Americans against John McCain by combing his hair off to the LEFT every time he interviews McCain? See? See? to the LEFT = commies!… followed by immediate images of commie tanks blasting away in Georgia or Poland. The associations between McCain and communism will be inevitable and subtle…. yet effective…..

    I don’t find many conservatives straining their brains looking for subliminal messages instead of what words and messages are clearly communicated. That’s the type of Shinola lefties dig.

    For example, the split second of the word “RATS” in a 2004 RNC ad, or Bob Herbert and Keith Olbermann alleging “The Leaning Tower of Pisa” (not) in McCain’s “Celeb” attack ad is a cynical attempt designed to make latent racists fear Obama’s penis, or the granddaddy of them all, the fatuous, 100% fact-free claim still made to this day by prominent Dems that a Sen. Saxby Chambliss campaign ad somehow associated former Dem Congressman (and multiple-amputee Vietnam vet) Max Cleland with Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. With straight faces, they tell America “The GOP is trying to play Jedi mind tricks on you! BEWARE!”

    The lie about Chambliss and Cleland is a pet peeve of mine, which is best illustrated in my rant in this August 2007 thread on Confederate Yankee. And BTW, for the record: I don’t count Mike Huckabee’s “floating cross” as a subliminal message.

    L.N. Smithee (ecc5a5)

  36. #22 – David Ehrenstein

    Prediction: McCain will pick Joe Liberman [sic] for VP. Joe will immediately convert to Christianty [sic] as an exercise in “Bi-Partisanship.”

    — Prediction: Obama will pick my governor, Janet Napolitano, for VP. Janet (who, although she has never come out, has long been thought to be a lesbian) will immediately cohabitate with the Chosen One as an exercise in “Bi-Partnership”.

    Further prediction: God will get you, who is at least half-Jewish by ancestry (if not by upbringing), for mangling Lieberman’s name.

    Icy Truth (b55029)

  37. DRJ

    I can see arguments both ways, but to me the fact that most stories were positive – in an environment where negative or neutral stories are more common – can be evidence of bias.

    So can I. My point is, the MRC could have easily designed the study so the result is not susceptible to multiple interpretations. It’s a basic oversight on their part.

    Bradley J. Fikes (a18ddc)

  38. I agree and well said.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  39. Sorry I misspelled Lieberman.

    As for re;ligious affiliations, my father was Jewish. My mother was Roman Cahtolic. I was raised Roman Catholic — a left the church at confirmation. I doubt that they want anything further to do with me But in light of its recent antics with Cardinal Newman’s corpse, you never know.

    David Ehrenstein (1d6679)

  40. Bradley, is it an oversight or is there something intentional behind it? How does one know?

    Dana (b4a26c)

  41. Hi Dana,
    I am assuming the most charitable interpretation of the MRC’s study omission. There is no evidence I am aware of that the MRC intentionally skewed the study.

    My guess is that the MRC didn’t sufficiently apply skeptical questioning to the study design. I’d like to see the design of such studies critiqued by ideological opponents before the study is performed.

    Bradley J. Fikes (a18ddc)

  42. Bradley, I agree that there is no evidence of intentionally skewing anything however, in this election all things become suspect when anything to do with the media is involved. I cannot remember an election where the intensity of accusations re biases has been so significant. And not that much has changed technologically in 4 or 8 years regarding media availability so obviously its the organizations themselves…. sorry for rambling, but this whole media agenda driven election coverage/bias is just fascinating to see unfold….thanks Bradley.

    Dana (084de8)

  43. Dana,
    I personally don’t doubt that many in the media are in the tank for Obama — far more than those who are equally enthused about McCain. I know of far more journalists who prefer Obama than McCain. Some of the pro-Obama types are reasonable, some are so besotted with The Precious that reasonable discussion is not possible.

    That said, rigorously proving a media bias toward Obama requires a higher standard of evidence. My litmus test is whether I personally would feel comfortable citing the study as evidence. I would not feel comfortable doing so with the MRC study, and that’s aside from the MRC’s own conservative viewpoint. The study design itself is defective.

    I can only shake my head and sigh about the MRC’s missed opportunity to do really persuasive media research.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  44. #31, Bradley,

    “Allegations of media bias are only meaningful when …” they’re true. In this case the bias is not only true, it’s as obvious as the nose on your face.

    Come on man, you’re a professional, and you don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  45. Ropelight,
    My point is that if one is going to do a study on media bias for Obama, do it properly. Otherwise it’s wasted effort. We should demand the same rigor in the evidence we accept ourselves as we do with those we disagree with.

    That said, I’m rolling my eyes at Obama’s equating the Iraq war with the Soviet invasion of Georgia.

    I’m sure the Russians loved to hear that!

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  46. Bradley – If the stories are about candidates, shouldn’t the expectation be that the starting point is neutrality? I understand you point about a need for comparison as well, but to avoid accusations of partisanship, isn’t the bellweather neutrality for political contests?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  47. #44, Bradley,

    Yes, of course. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. You won’t get any opposition on that point.

    But, we don’t need to count the trees to know there’s a lot of them in the forest. Nor do we need to pretend media bias is either subtle or anything but perverse and pervasive.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  48. Ropelight,

    All will be well once you accept The Lightbearer!

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  49. Daleyrocks

    Bradley – If the stories are about candidates, shouldn’t the expectation be that the starting point is neutrality?

    One would think so, but in practice that depend on whether the news about the candidates is favorable during the time measured.

    For example, I would not be surprised if the proportion of negative stories about Obama went up when Jeremiah Wright’s horrible beliefs, and Obama’s silence about them, came to full view. In fact, if that didn’t happen, it could arguably be the result of bias. We learned a lot of very unsavory things about Obama’s heroes then, and the stories should reflect that.

    Similarly, the positive image of Ron Paul took a nosedive when his office was discovered to have put out racist material. Paul said he didn’t write them himself, but the stuff went out under his name. I grew very disillusioned with Paul at that point.

    Interestingly enough, Paul makes a positive impression in the movie IOUSA, which I saw last night. Paul was the only one of the candidates in either party that really got it about our mountain of debt. If you haven’t seen the movie, by all means do so. Prepare to be scared out of your wits — IOUSA is a real-life horror movie.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  50. Bradley,

    My problem with media bias comes out of a deep respect for the profession of Journalism. It is an honor to be in such a important and privledged position. I’ve known a good many working reporters and editors over the last 40 years, and by and large they were conscientious, honest, over worked, and under paid.

    I started out as a paperboy in the 5th grade, delivering the Ledger-Star. In college I chaired the Communications Board, which had oversight responsibility for the campus daily. I’ve supported freedom of the press, and freedom from the press. In my mind they’re both sides of the same coin.

    When I see the magnitude of today’s overt support for the liberal agenda, and the corresponding prejudice against Republican, Conservative, and traditional values so blatently defended by members of the working press, it makes me fear for the future of the profession.

    Not only is such mendacity toxic, it demands exposure, and correction. It’s either that or the profession has outlived its usefulness.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  51. Ropelight,
    I was also a paper boy. And well said.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0f751c)

  52. Bradley,

    A friend just took early retirement, a life long newsman: paperboy, HS editor of the Red & Blue, sports editor of the Sagebrush in college, wrote for the Carson City Appeal and Reno GJ.

    When asked why he left after 50 years in the business he said, “I don’t recognize the profession anymore.” He once loved it, it was his life and he was proud of it.

    Ropelight (42c46d)


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