In the US, at least, the media swings left as well, according to a new academic survey on coverage of the current presidential contest. Investor’s Business Daily reports that:
a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy — found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.
Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which “produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic candidates than on Republicans.”
The most flagrant bias, however, was found in newspapers. In reviewing front-page coverage in 11 newspapers, the study found the tone positive in nearly six times as many stories about Democrats as it was negative.
Breaking it down by candidates, the survey found that Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the favorites. “Obama’s front page coverage was 70% positive and 9% negative, and Clinton’s was similarly 61% positive and 13% negative.”
In stories about Republicans, on the other hand, the tone was positive in only a quarter of the stories; in four in 10 it was negative.
I have tracked down the survey, which can be found here
(Anyone who wants to explain away these findings will find plenty of excuses offered in here — for example, ‘Oh, but the front-runners got coverage that was equal in tone”. The silliest must be that if you take away the most-praised Democrat candidate (Obama) and the most-criticized Republican candidate (McCain) then the coverage is more equal in tone! Yes, and although 15 and 9 are unequal numbers, if you take some numbers away from 15, and add some numbers to 9, you’ll find they come closer to being equal).
Thanks to a commentator (who I can’t now find) who posted this link a while back.