Published On: Tue, Nov 20th, 2012

Pew research reveals pro-Obama media bias leading up to election

President Obama had his best run of media coverage during the final week of the campaign, while positive coverage of Mitt Romney dwindled, according to a study released Monday from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Between October 29 and November 5, the week leading up to the election, 29 percent of stories about Obama were positive, compared to 19 negative, while only 16 percent of Romney’s stories were positive, compared to 33 negative.

Obama Romney caricature cartoon


Pew detailed how this was President Obama’s best week of media coverage since the Democratic National Convention, and only the second time in the cycle positive stories outnumbered negative ones for the president.

Focusing on the entire fall season of coverage, both candidates finished with more negative stories than positive ones, but Romney’s negative stories outpaced Obama’s by more than 2 to 1.

All told, 20 percent of Obama’s coverage was positive compared to 29 percent that was negative, while Romney came in at 15 percent positive and 37 negative. 

GOP supporters and conservative radio talk show hosts claim liberal bias so the Pew study will certainly be a topic of discussion in these circles.

“The study of the tone in news coverage is not an examination of media bias,” Pew said. “Rather, it measures the overall impression the public is receiving in the media about each candidate, whether the assertion is a quote from a source, a fact presented in the narrative that is determined to be favorable or unfavorable, including poll results, or is part of a journalistic analysis.”

In addition, Hurricane Sandy seems to have reduced the amount of coverage for the GOP challenger in the final week of the campaign.

“Romney may have suffered in final days from the press focusing less on him relative to his opponent,” the study concluded. “After receiving roughly identical levels of coverage for most of October, in the last week of campaigning Obama was a significant presence in eight out of 10 campaign stories compared with six in 10 for Romney — one of the biggest disparities in any week after Labor Day.”

Pew found that storm coverage regarding Obama was largely neutral, but that he might have benefited from “passing references” about his response to the disaster.

Pew analyzed 660 stories from 49 mainstream outlets and counted each assertion to determine if it was positive or negative for the candidate. A story deemed positive would have to have positive assertions outnumber negative ones by a ratio of 3-to-1, and vice versa.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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