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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Man bites dog

There's an old saying in journalism that it's not news when dog bites man. So what are we to make of a study suggesting Mitt Romney has gotten better news coverage than Barack Obama?

It's been a GOP talking point for so long no one can remember when Republican candidates did not complain about the media's liberal bias. So what are we to make of this observation of coverage coming from the Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism:

Of all the presidential candidates studied in this report, only one figure did not have a single week in 2012 when positive coverage exceeded negative coverage—the incumbent, Democrat Barack Obama.
While a sitting president may have access to the “bully pulpit,” that does not mean he has control of the media narrative, particularly during the other party’s primary season.
In Obama’s case, his negative coverage was driven by several factors. One was the consistent criticism leveled at him by each of the Republican contenders during primary season. The other involved news coverage of issues—ranging from the tenuous economic recovery to the continuing challenges to his health care legislation—with which he was inextricably linked. An examination of the themes in Obama’s coverage also reveals that the coverage placed him firmly in campaign mode. His coverage that focused on the strategic frame exceeded that relating to policy issues by 3:1.
I've long believed that while reporters may indeed have personal opinions (who doesn't?) they manage to keep them out of their work -- unless they work for Fox News. If there is any innate journalistic bias it is against someone holding the reins of power.

The line has been blurred in recent decades as cable television has become a 24-hour opinion fest that requires fresh fodder and more and more reporters have been sucked into the vortex. Add to that the right-leaning slant of yakkers on Fox and the left-ish drift on MSNBC and you have opinion tainting everything.

The report will certainly not dissuade the true believers who have built a Faux News empire to combat their obsession -- and cheapen the debate. But it is worth considering -- in its entirety -- something else the right is often to do.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"leftish drift"? When Chris Matthews declares his job as a journalist is to "make this thing work, this new presidency work" don't you think that was a little overboard? It helped lead to the divide and distrust of all journalistic coverage. I watch the spin from MSNBC and Fox and know the truth is somewhere in the middle.

April 24, 2012 5:40 AM  
Blogger Liberal Bias said...

Great article! Keep up the good work!

April 29, 2012 10:29 AM  

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