Good Thing You Don’t Watch Fox News

Or mebbe you do. Regardless, if you’re reading this, it’s not likely that you would have voted differently. And via US News & World Report, this:

Media coverage of President Barack Obama was largely positive in the final week of the presidential campaign, while coverage of Mitt Romney was mostly negative, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

October 29 to November 5. The report analyzed 660 stories from 59 media outlets.

And according to exit polls, President Obama carried the 9% who were “late deciders,” 50-44.]

And Romney’s last lead in the RCP “poll of polls“? October 29.

And then came that Hurricane Sandy thing, where the incumbent president looked and acted downright presidential.

Do I think Mitt Romney would be president-elect right now if the breaks and the weather had gone his way? The numbers indicate perhaps yes; I think no.

Because the press did its predictable thing for their man. Fox with a marginal objectivity, MSNBC with an unblemished record of zero percent objectivity.

And as Rush Limbaugh used to say about where he fit into the Fairness Doctrine, it doesn’t give equal time, Fox News is equal time. If the “late-decider” in the 2012 election only consumed mainstream news, he’d have got twice as many bad stories about Mitt Romney than good [33%-16%], and half again as many good stories about Barack than bad [29%-19%]. The only way to fairly balance even a bit would have been to consume some Fox.

In 2004, Newsweek editor Evan Thomas famously said the press would be worth 15 points to the Democratic Party’s Kerry/Edwards ticket, although he later revised that downward to 5.

In 2008, Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain by 7 points; in 2012, he defeated Mitt Romney by less than three. All things considered here, I’m honestly surprised it was that close: the Presidential Super Bowl is always played on the DNC’s home field. It should be of some cold comfort to Brother Mitt as he heads out to political pasture that he at least beat the spread.

Our main source here is The Pew Research Center’s “Project for Excellence in Journalism.” Gentlemen, I’d scarcely be able to tell you where to look for excellence in journalism, and your analysis–for which America should be thankful–is a confession that you don’t either. Your best hope is to try to shame ’em into it next time.

In the meantime, it is what it is what it is.

Tom Van Dyke

Tom Van Dyke, businessman, musician, bon vivant and game-show champ (The Joker's Wild, and Win Ben Stein's Money), knows lots of stuff, although not quite everything yet. A past contributor to The American Spectator Online, the late great Reform Club blog, and currently on religion and the American Founding at American Creation, TVD continues to write on matters of both great and small importance from his ranch type style tract house high on a hill above Los Angeles.


  1. MSNBC is seen by maybe, a few million people total during the day and most of those people are committed partisans. But if you want to blame that for Romney’s loss, go ahead. Make yourself feel better than the mean ole biased press fooled people into voting for Obama.

    • MSNBC is seen by maybe, a few million people total during the day and most of those people are committed partisans. But if you want to blame that for Romney’s loss, go ahead.

      MSNBC cost Romney the election?? Thx for stopping by, Jesse, but no. MSNBC is where we calibrate zero for the American Political Celsius. It’s only up from there.


  2. Myself being one that followed FOX News for years, I can tell you that they are very biased. A better description is “the spear tip for the GOP.” They are experts at “half truth, half lie.” Took me a bit to see, but I finally figured it out.
    If you want to be an informed American, do like a good intelligence agency does; check multiple sources, and don;t think with the emotions.

  3. Here’s the thing: Fox “News” isn’t news. It is right wing propaganda. MSNBC is biased, sure, but it isn’t propaganda. How can we determine this? Easy. Watch Rachel Maddow or any of their opinion shows – they WILL give it to Obama when they disagree with him. Fox, like Republican congressmen, will always tow the line. It’s a solid narrative from Roger Ailes to John Boehner. From Rupert Murdoch to Mitch McConnell. Dems are a big tent party and the “mainstream media” is a big tent. Leaning liberal and Right Wing Propaganda only appear to be equivalent to someone who has been brainwashed by right wing propaganda. The sad part is over the years, Fox has become so blatant that you don’t even have to point out the subtleties anymore. It is so obvious that you just laugh at your Fox Addict, like “aren’t you seeing this? No, seriously… they want you to hate black people. They want you to believe minorities are the reason your life sucks.” Haha. Seriously. New Black Panther Party? Acorn? All of this is just noise and nonsense. Voter Fraud? If you take out all of the Republican led voter fraud in the 2012 elections, there have been only a handful of cases of voter fraud. It is all an amazingly orchestrated political play,from the Koch brothers to Karl Rove. I actually have to applaud them for the balls and the tenacity. I also have to applaud my American brethren and sistren who saw through their b.s. and kept democracy alive. Keep your eyes open though, the plutocracy is lurking, ready to take us out in the next election and the next election…

    • Fox News is propaganda and MSNBC isn’t? And your evidence is Maddow? Each time she mentioned Romney’s name spittle flew from her mouth and a vein in her forehead nearly exploded, and you are going to try to claim that she didn’t spout propaganda?

      Keep your head buried in the sand. The world won’t look any different to you either way.

      • By all accounts both L & R, Rachel Maddow is the MSNBCer who plays it the most straight.

        They make her the anchorperson of their convention and election coverage, yes?

        Where she fits into the 0% negative for Barack and the 0% positive for Mitt I do not know. Zero is zero.

      • Fox actively coordinates with the Republican party,a nd changes their views to suit the party’s convenience.

        Personally, I don’t watch TV.

  4. according to exit polls, President Obama carried the 9% who were “late deciders” 50-44.]

    It’s probably a mistake to take that at face value, but if we do, that means 4.5% for Obama, 3.96% for Romney. The difference of .54% would be less than one sixth of his 3.3% total lead in the popular vote.

    • Now you need to unskew that number to get at the truth the lamestream media is hiding from you.

      • Run it the other way, Early deciders split for Obama 46.3% – 43.5% (percentages of total final vote). For Romney to catch Obama, late deciders have to split 5-9%- 3.1%, or, considering just late deciders, 65% – 35%, well outside the range of the supposed advantage to challengers, which from the AEI’s charts is at most 55-42. Of course, the AEI is extrapolating from two data point, 2004 and 1996, one of which, being a three-way race, is a completely different beast.

        That is, to reach the desired conclusion, the AEI is using an insufficiently supported principle and on top of that, not doing the arithmetic properly. You’re the teacher, James. What grade does that get? (I’m in private industry, where it gets two weeks notice.)

    • Mike S.: Excellent point made by simple analysis. I glossed over that stat in the original post but had subconsciously registered a higher impact. Thanks!

      • Conventional wisdom says late deciders break for the challenger, magnifying the potential effect here. But thx for replying. The post really more about the media creating a home-field advantage for Dems than shoulda-woulda for Mitt.

        • I thought the post was about how if one argument that Obama should have lost doesn’t work, we can always find others.

          • He should have lost on his merits–the lack of them in his record as president–but no, the built-in media bias in his favor is just a fact of life. Romney beat the spread, is all. I don’t think anything could have been different, say if Sandy hadn’t hit.

            BTW, did you see this graph?

          • No, I missed it the first two times. Maybe if you posted it again with brighter colors, though.

            I am wondering how much of the positive/negative coverage was “He’s probably going to win” vs. “He’s probably going to lose.” Or how much of the negative coverage of Romney was about the “auto jobs being moved to China” BS. Because another way to describe both of those is “accurate reporting”.

          • Spin away. Find a time when it went the other way against the Democrat, and you have yourself the makings of an argument.

          • Pointing out that a (lovely, by the way) chart with four bars contains no actual information is not “spinning”.

    • More here.

      In the final week of the 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama enjoyed his most positive run of news coverage in months, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Only during the week of his nominating convention was the treatment in the press more favorable.

      Much of that surge in positive coverage, the data suggest, was tied to Obama’s strategic position, including improving opinion polls and electoral math, rather than directly to positive assessments of Obama’s response to Superstorm Sandy. The storm, however, appeared to reduce the amount of attention focused on Mitt Romney and may well have influenced public attitudes about the president.

      During this final week, from October 29 to November 5, positive stories about Obama (29%) outnumbered negative ones (19%) by 10 points.[1] A week earlier, negative coverage of Obama had exceeded positive by 13 points. The final week of the campaign marked only the second time in which positive stories about Obama outnumbered negative dating back to late August.

      More on the methodology here.

      • The early coverage was even more negative for Romney. It’s how they were playing the game early on. Take the 1000-yard stepback: Point is that you’ll seldom if ever find the Republican getting the better of the meatgrinder. It is what it is.

        • I’ll point out this one sentence again: “The final week of the campaign marked only the second time in which positive stories about Obama outnumbered negative dating back to late August.”

          And it looks on further investigation that most of the stories coded as “positive” were indeed the sort of “he’s ahead in the polls” variety. So I don’t think the “Obama gets favorable treatment from the media” is supportable… at least, not in a vacuum. Relative to Romney, Obama probably got favorable treatment in the media.

          I’d like to see their source data, though. Particularly to see if you’re right about Mitt getting even more negative coverage. I suspect you’re correct, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure I’d be happy with how they encode stuff, regardless.

          For example, consumption is pretty important. It’s one thing for five media outlets to report on the same positive or negative story, but how many eyeballs see it (or ears hear it) is an important factor. I mean, a front page story on the NYT or the WSJ or the lead-in story for FOX or CNN or MSNBC or ABC Nightly News is one thing, a negative story or positive story 20 minutes into the broadcast (or up against Monday Night Football) is something else.

          On social media (not blogs, but Facebook and Twitter), the slams seemed much closer to even, which would indicate a difference between the overall production media and how people self-select their own publication activities, which would actually provide you some credible ammo that the media does indeedy hold a liberal bias.

          I think an interesting analysis would be in print media, the AP and Reuters stories that get picked up by various newspapers and where they get play on the page. There I’d bet you’d see placement advantages for the Democrats in mass urban publications, and placement advantages for the GOP in smaller rural publications. Demographics, and all.

          • Particularly to see if you’re right about Mitt getting even more negative coverage.


            All totaled, in the period from August 27-November 5, the number of unfavorable stories exceeded favorable one for both men in the mainstream media, but the tone for Obama was considerably less harsh.

            In the end, 20% of stories during the fall period about Obama were favorable compared with 29% that were unfavorable (a gap of 9 points). For Romney, 15% of stories during this full period were favorable while 37% were unfavorable, a gap more than twice as large as Obama’s.


          • Right, Tom, but the favorable/unfavorable bit isn’t “negative” vs. “positive” in terms of the candidate, but of the candidacy (according to their methodology). Since the aggregate polls consistently favored Obama, any reporting on the polls would come down as a “positive” story for Obama and a “negative” story for Mitt. So, one would expect that – given the polls consistently favored Obama, remember – any poll reporting story is double-dipping, there.

            Now, I absolutely grant that this isn’t going to make up the entire differential, since not all of the differing stories are going to be about the polls. But “the differential is twice as bad for Mitt!” is probably largely (not entirely!) explained by that difference in the poll reporting. Again, we’d have to see the raw data. I bet we can get it.

          • Or they could say that although he’s behind, Romney is rising in the polls and that’s a positive story. These bias things always get dragged into the tall weeds on epistemological niggles and get their throats slit, never to be heard from again.

            There’s no way this door swings both ways, not when a Krauthammer is outnumbered 3-to-1 on a PBS show like Inside Washington.

            4-to-1, actually–the “moderator” Gordon Peterson is a litigant as well.


          • Tom, are open to the possibility that you and I are just outliers? That – especially looking at everything that’s being written about him post-election by his own side – that most people just didn’t particularly like Mitt Romney?

          • Or they like/love Barack much more. Absolutely, Rod–that’s what happened. Many folks don’t realize Obamacare is a turd of unimaginable dimension though, and the press is partly to blame. Now it hits the fan.

            That Romney beat the spread was quite an accomplishment, really, having no real native charm working in his favor.

  5. “However, most of [President Obama’s slightly better coverage from August 27 to October 21] could be accounted for by the horse-race stories, which generally showed Obama with small leads in important state and national polls. If those horse-race stories were removed from the sample, the coverage of the two candidates became quite similar-15% of the remaining campaign stories about Obama were positive, 32% were negative and 53% were mixed. For Romney it was 14% positive, 32% negative and 55% mixed.”

    There’s no similar stats for other periods, but it does note that horse race stories increased significantly in the final week. And it does note that “of the 16 stories in the sample that focused exclusively on the hurricane and included Obama in a significant way, only 3 were positive and 5 were negative. (Romney was only a significant presence in two hurricane-focused stories-both of them neutral.)”

  6. Your chart lists Fox News as 5% favorable for Obama and 56% negative; for Romney, it shows 42% and 11% negative. Presumably the rest (39% for Obama, 47% for Romney) were neutral and/or mixed.

    And this amounts to “marginal objectivity”.

    • Marginal as compared to MSNBC’s zero objectivity. “Marginal” wasn’t really intended as a compliment.

  7. More broadly, here is my issue with an approach like this:

    There are two possible reasons for such a skew:
    1.) The media is biased.
    2.) Obama was the better candidate, thus justifying more positive stories.

    My belief is that it is a combination of the two. As I’ve written about before, I think there does exist a liberal bias; one less of the “global liberal conspiracy” type and more of the “Hmmm, all our editors/producers strive for objectively but 90% of them are liberal and that impacts what eventually goes to print/air” type. But I also think Obama was a better candidate, and that the type of media bias I’ve described could not alone explain the gap in numbers here. I’m sure if we did a study on the media coverage of Mother Theresa and Hitler (Note: I am not comparing Obama to Mother Theresa or Romney to Hitler), we would see a great skew in favor of the holy woman and not because of a pro-Catholic media bias.

    Are you willing to concede that at least part of the gap was a function of the actual strengths and merits of the two candidates and their campaigns (probably more of the latter than the former; O ran a much better campaign when it was all said and done)? Or do you believe it is solely the function of media bias?

    • Still missing that story about heavy metal poisoning in Tennessee. Might that have something to do with GE running one of the major networks?

    • 2.) Obama was the better candidate, thus justifying more positive stories.

      No. He was a worse candidate and his record as president proves it. But this is thumb-wrestling in jello stuff: reality has a liberal bias, Obama deserved the bias in his favor.

      • My point is that a reported disparity can be evidence of a bias or evidence the disparity is real. Obama’s record is only part of the story because Romney didn’t have one. More importantly, Obama ran a better and smarter campaign. You’d be hard pressed to argue otherwise.

        • I’ll cede the point if it makes you happy, Kazzy. Unlike some on the losing side, I have no complaints about the Romney-Ryan campaign. I think they did about as well as they could: any more aggression against Barack Obama would have lost as many votes as it might’ve gained. Neither am I going to complain about Obama’s record-setting % of negative ads. All’s fair.

          In the end, if you watched the LeagueCast, I challenge[d] anyone to name a single criticism of Barack Obama the man or Barack Obama the president that stuck. Romney ran a second best-record setting % of negative ads, but where Obama successfully negated Romney’s positive record at Bain and in Massachusetts, Romney’s own attacks simply didn’t stick.

          Did the press and its self-appointed and biased “FactChecks” help Barack Obama? My answer is that they tried to help him, and did carry his water, but in the end 51% of the American electorate decided Obama’s virtues outweigh his flaws. Which is OK.

          Was it an informed decision? Not a fully informed one, I think is obvious from the Pew survey of the coverage on emotional content alone, and Lord knows a significant %age of people vote their “gut.”

          Pew’s methodology intentionally avoided judging substance in favor of a “thumbs up or down” approach–was the story positive or negative in “tone”—a methodology I think is actually less subjetcive than it would appear. I bet you and I, Kazzy, from opposite sides of the aisle, could sit on a couch together and watch these news stories together and overwhelmingly agree whether the story was positive or negative toward either candidate.

          To the bleat about me being a Soreloserman—Would/could Barack Obama have won re-election anyway–if the media playing field were truly level? Would, I dunno. If Romney had won, it clearly would have been a squeaker.

          Could, definitely. As we see in this very discussion, facts and figures make no impression on some people. They can always be talked around. Obama’s crap record is because the GOP House obstructed him, and exit polls said that Bush was to blame more for the crap state of the economy than Obama after 4 years as president.

          There’s your key to this election, and it wasn’t the media’s fault—they never sold that meme. People voted their “gut,” then rationalized the president’s record by blaming Bush.

          Even the Dem-left-lib media isn’t that good, Kazzy. It’s true that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time—sometimes they prefer to do it themselves.

          • I’ll say this:

            I only watched CNN for debates. I don’t watch the news. In my car, I usually listen to Hannity and/or Levine. So, by your logic, I was almost exclusively exposed to right-friendly media. And I still voted for Obama. Explain that.

            Maybe the news isn’t as influential as you believe.

          • Everyone knows you have a strong mind, Kazzy. But think how stupid the average person is, and that half of everybody is even stupider than him. Recently, you jokingly wrote, does Romney have a tax plan??!! Your average Obama voter would say that without joking. How could he know? MTV don’t do tax plans.

            Oct 16:


            November 13:

            The Democrats Are Quietly Stealing Romney’s Tax Plan

            Lee Brodie, CNBC | Nov. 13, 2012, 8:21 PM | 4,743 | 12

            Ahead of the election, Mitt Romney scored well on economic issues – with many polls saying Romney was viewed as better for the economy than Barack Obama.

            It appears Democrats in the Senate and House are heeding those results.

            A plan presented by Romney and embraced by the GOP to cap deductions appears to be gaining traction despite Romney’s loss.

            “Let’s just say there’s a renewed interest,” said Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee in a New York Times Report.

            Back on October 2nd Mitt Romney began talking about stemming the budget crisis and the resulting fiscal cliff by reducing income tax deductions to a flat $17,000.
            Ironically, when Mr. Romney presented the idea it was ridiculed by President Obama as window dressing to a “sketchy deal.”

            However, chatter in the nation’s capital suggests Democrats now see it as an important element of a potential deficit reduction agreement.

            Read more:

          • I wasn’t joking when I said that. Romney may have had a tax plan but he did a poor job selling it. As I said, the campaigns more then the men themselves was whwre the biggeat disparity lied (laid? lay?).

          • I listened to Hannity near every day. He saud little of Romne’s tax plan. He said much of Obama’s radicalism.

            That’s not the MSM’s fault. That is Romney’s. And Hannity’s. And the right’s. They had every chance to convince me of Romney’s tax plan’s worth and didn’t even try. Can’t fault Maddow for that.

          • Well, I watch MSNBC from time to time and they don’t convince me of anything either, so I’m not sure we’re on the right track with this.

            For one thing, I don’t accuse the Hannity or Levin shows of being “news.” They’re shows. As for Romney getting his message through the media filter, well, that’s sort of what this is about. Not that it would have many any difference in your vote, but he did have an OK plan, a lot better than the president’s non-existent one. They say you can’t beat something with nothing, but in the case of Barack Obama “they” are wrong.

      • He was a worse candidate and his record as president proves it

        You’re confusing subjective evaluations with objective evaluations. There is no “proving” the accuracy of a subjective evaluation, so Obama can’t be “proven” either better or worse than Romney.

        I challenge[d] anyone to name a single criticism of Barack Obama the man or Barack Obama the president that stuck

        Which suggests that tens of millions of Americans disagree with your evaluation of Obama, and absolutely nothing else.

        • “I challenge[d] anyone to name a single criticism of Barack Obama the man or Barack Obama the president that stuck”

          Easy: He is a socialist, he wasn’t born in the US, he hates white people, he believes in reparations for black people, he is not supporting Israel, the economy didn’t grow fast enough under him, the ACA will destroy the US, he didn’t do enough to correct Bush’s civil rights errors, should have taken us out of Afgan already and was to quick to use violence such as bombing.

          Plenty of people believe all those ideas firmly and will for years. Those beliefs have stuck. Some of those beliefs aren’t even crazy. I think what you really mean Tom is your guy lost so therefore no criticisms of O exist or are believed by people.

          • Obama did lose some Jewish vote, down from 78% to 69%. So that’s one, thank you. The rest is the usual blahblah, of course. He might have lost some white votes on Obamacare.

          • But people believe all those statements. Isn’t that what “stuck” means? Or are you going with something like people still voted for O even though these criticisms are out there? Losing votes from from a group is different from something “sticking”. Plenty of people believed criticisms of O and still voted for him because they thought he was better than Rom.

          • Not debating your bottom-feeding laundry list. Not going there, it’s a waste of time.

            Stipulated that on balance, folks went for O, that they didn’t find his record bad enough to boot him. That’s a duh. And that if people knew what unpleasant surprises are waiting for us when Obamacare and the rest of his agenda truly reveals itself, well, they still might have voted for him. But the press certainly didn’t tell us much.

            Google “fiscal cliff” and it’s all over the news. Especially starting November 7, the morning after the election. It would be hilarious if it were the least bit funny.

          • Tom i’m not trying to point out crazy stuff other than to note that those labels, crazy as they are, have stuck. That’s it. You say nothing stuck, i pointed to many things that did stick. You are focusing on share of vote and that you think bad things will happen with O being reelected. Fine, but that doesn’t mean all sorts of stuff hasn’t stuck to him.

            I’ve heard all about the “fiscal cliff.” Its an interesting metaphor, one i assume you like. But it really isn’t a cliff, even metaphorically and we have time to avoid walking down that staircase.

            “his agenda truly reveals itself”..ummm yeah well that sounds reasonable at not in any way like “OMG socialism is coming”

          • By “stick” I mean a campaign goes negative on the other guy and convinces some of the undecided. In this case, all that bottom-feeding stuff you name was not advanced by the Romney campaign [except the Israel issue].

            Indeed, the strongest and most indisputable charge, that the economy didn’t grow fast enough under him, didn’t even stick. People were still blaming Bush, an complete imbecility.

          • Yeah if you define your terms so they meet the point you are trying to make, then you prove you point. Simply plenty of poo has been flung at O, most of crazy, and its stuck. That is what you asked for and i supplied.

            People, well enough for you, didn’t think Romney’s plan was better than O’s. I suggest blaming the people who didn’t vote for Romney of lacking character.

          • Now you’re wasting my time, Greg. Many persons of good character voted for Barack Obama. Some never knew what they were getting into, and still don’t, is all.

            Not sure they care either way.

            And I’m not going to play the Muslim/birther game, sorry. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas—and that goes double for whatever lefties think their handy list of right-wing crazy makes Barack Obama any better a president.

            Critical thinking fail.

          • stop the whining. i listed things that stuck to O and you have tap danced around it.

            “not sure they care” umm yeah they are fine people they just don’t care about what voting for O entails. oy and oy.

          • Greg, you have had your say, and I in response. I wish us both luck over the next few years as the spit hits the fan. Peace.

  8. You act as though Obama’s actual actions don’t matter. If the Sandy response had been screwed up, like the Katrina one, it would have been very bad for him. He got good coverage regarding Sandy because the government actually did a good job.

    Now, how much credit he personally deserves for the work of thousands of government workers involved in the disaster response is another question, but not a partisan one; typically when things go well, whoever’s President gets the credit, when things go badly he gets the blame.

    • Did Obama do a good job? Well, that’s what the papers say. Not so much the people of Staten Island.

      • Yeah, but there’s more than just Staten Island hit. The people of New Jersey tend to think he did a pretty good job.


          For those left in the worst of Sandy’s wake, no matter what CNN may be covering, few have had the ability to move on. The local New York City-centric blog Gothamist describes the situation in The Rockaways area of Queens:

          “The city hasn’t reached out to us at all,” said Matt Calender, a Rockaway resident who helps direct a bustling relief effort from a house on Beach 96th Street. “The Red Cross gave us 500 blankets the other day. FEMA talked to us. But that’s it. We station volunteers here, but we also send people downtown, where there is immense need. If people come here we can actually give them something to do.”

          After Katrina, President George W. Bush was lambasted for FEMA’s response to the storm. Those aware of the situation in Far Rockaway and other hard-hit areas of New York know that the situation isn’t much different than New Orleans post-Katrina. New York City Councilman James Sanders, who represents the Rockaways, gave a chilling interview to a Boston NPR affiliate, stating:

          “FEMA did not arrive in a timely fashion, nor did the Red Cross,” Richards said. “If it wasn’t for everyday citizens coming out and giving us a hand, the Rockaways would be in a shape that is unfathomable.”

          Richards said that FEMA didn’t arrive until last Thursday, and he says the agency initially set up in an area that was inaccessible to poorer residents.

          “Every 24 hours that goes by, we get into a more desperate situation so FEMA has to respond quicker. I know we have a billion things to do but in a low-income area with 30 percent of the people on some sort of income subsidy we need them to move fast and move now,” Richards said.

          FEMA was unavailable for comment.

  9. Thank you for posting that same chart at the beginning AND the end of your post mr. Van Dyke. Like many of Fox’s geriatric watchers, I often need to be prompted more than once with visual cues.

    • I dunno, Mr. Harris. I’m thinking I should have posted it at least three times, by the looks of things. Too many words, not enough pictures.

  10. My question is what kind of objective measurement did Pew use to determine whether a story was positive or negative and to what degree was a story either positive or negative. For instance, was an MSNBC story reporting Obama ahead in the horse race (positive) equivalent to a Fox News story skewering Obama for his latest Benghazi failure (negative)? It seems that the latter story would be far more negative in tone than the horse race story was positive.

    In other words, if this study was merely a counting of positive vs. negative stories without taking into account degree, it’s relatively meaningless.

      • Actually that sounds rather like a question: do *you* know what metrics they used, or did you just see some uneven bars and start salivating, per usual?

      • I have no desire to kill the messenger; I’m merely trying to evaluate the evidence you’re presenting. And, to me, it seems that unless you know how Pew weighted what they considered “positive” versus “negative,” you have no idea what the numbers they came up with really mean. That MSNBC would be more positive in its coverage of Obama where Fox would be more negative comes as no huge surprise to anyone who’s seen either network. I know you buy into the whole liberal media in the bag for Obama meme, but I don’t see these charts as presenting much in the way of objective measurement.

        • I have no idea what would possibly convince you, Michelle. The best I can hope is that you might entertain the idea without being obliged to accept it.

    • The short version is yes, that’s what’s going on here. The money quote from Pew’s discussion:

      Throughout the eight-week period studied, a good deal of the difference in treatment of the two contenders is related to who was perceived to be ahead in the race. When horse-race stories-those focused on strategy, tactics and the polls-are taken out of the analysis, and one looks at those framed around the candidates’ policy ideas, biographies and records, the distinctions in the tone of media coverage between the two nominees vanish.

      • That’s the spin. For instance, Pew speaks of the “criticism Romney received for his remarks on Libya,” but that wasn’t news, it was an echo of the Obama/Dem counterattack. It was Obama’s administration that screwed up, but it was Romney that the media made the story.

        The Obama admin got off virtually scot-free, not just for Benghazi but for the Cairo embassy’s screwup [which was what Romney was referring to, a valid criticism].

        Exactly the type of bias that passes for news! That’s the whole point!

  11. The wind is always on the side of thae ablest sailor.

    • And by coincidence, he’s always a Democrat. What were the odds?

      “Gordo, you’re killing me. This is a week when Obama makes the gaffe of the year, and you lead with the [Romney tax story]. I’ll be a good soldier. I’ll play along. This is an arm of the DNC, I know, but I’ll play along.”–Krauthammer on PBS’ Inside Washington

      • Krauthammer? You can’t find an objective observer, like Rove?

        • Krauthammer on the right or Pew from the left, you realize your tactic is delegitimization regardless, right?

          We watch too much Law & Order.

    • What makes you say that? Weren’t Christie’s favorability ratings higher as a result of Sandy, and he also got pretty good coverage?

      • The followup from Pew says the Sandy stories didn’t affect the count much.

        Hurricane Sandy dominated the news, but not campaign coverage. In the election’s final week, only 4% of the campaign-related coverage was about the storm. And of those few campaign stories that focused on the hurricane, the treatment of Obama was mostly neutral or mixed. However, coverage of the storm may have had a more indirect benefit for Obama by depicting him in passing references responding to the disaster. While the president was not a major figure in these stories, they have may have influenced public attitudes about him.

        And even if they did, if the price of making Obama look good was puffing Christie, so be it.

        The positive final week for Obama stands in contrast to the narrative for both candidates during most of the fall. But it also meant that when the campaign coverage for the two candidates is measured in full-from the conventions to election eve-Obama fared better. All totaled, in the period from August 27-November 5, the number of unfavorable stories exceeded favorable one for both men in the mainstream media, but the tone for Obama was considerably less harsh. In the end, 20% of stories during the fall period about Obama were favorable compared with 29% that were unfavorable (a gap of 9 points). For Romney, 15% of stories during this full period were favorable while 37% were unfavorable, a gap more than twice as large as Obama’s.

        Again, this is about the media coverage, and Pew is known as slightly to the left, but a straight shooter. They’ve performed a public service here, although I doubt it’ll do much good. I don’t think most of the left-leaning media are the least bit apologetic about their bias–they’re on the side of the angels and that makes all things permissible.

        And that’s the real rub, brother.

  12. In my view: Just like Bush in ’04, if the incumbent was in such a weak position and such a horrible chief executive, then the challenger should have won. Perhaps, in both cases, if the challenging party had run a better candidate…

    • In that same vein, both folks who won quickly found themselves wondering why they wanted the job so danged much and unable to remember why they fought quite so hard for it.

      • And Buchanan beat John C. Fremont, who had to be a lot more impressive than George W. Bush.

      • Kerry wasn’t as bad as Mondale.

        I mean, from a candidacy standpoint; political theater. Kerry was a dick, but Mondale was a doofus.

        • I have nothing good to say about John Kerry. Fritz Mondale, really nothing bad.

  13. Why are people arguing MSNBC being biased? ALL big media is biased! Kissing Dem ass is no better than kissing GOP ass. Either way the status quo wins.

  14. I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day!

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