A new study of the mainstream media coverage of the 2012 election found that every single Republican candidate received more positive coverage than Barack Obama.
Over the course of 23 weeks The Pew Center’s Project For Excellence in Journalism studied the media coverage of the all the 2012 presidential candidates, and their results should put an end to the myth of liberal media bias. The study found that every single Republican candidate received more positive media coverage than President Obama.
The leader in media love was Rick Perry. Thirty two percent of the coverage that Perry received was positive. Perry’s positive coverage outweighed his negative coverage by 12%, (32%-20%). The media was as cool towards Mitt Romney as Republican voters appear to be. His coverage was a mixes 26%-27%, but mainstream media gave Herman Cain lots of love, 28%-23%.
Despite the fact that her presidential campaign has slipped into oblivion, 31% of Michele Bachmann’s media coverage was positive. Ron Paul supporters are always claiming that the mainstream media is out to destroy their candidate, but Paul’s positive coverage outweighed his negative coverage, 21%-17%. The vast majority of stories on Paul (62%) were neutral. Like Rep. Paul, Jon Huntsman’s positive coverage outnumbered his negative, 21%-17%.
Sarah Palin who is always complaining about the bias of “lamestream media” received the second highest percentage of positive media coverage of any Republican. Thirty one percent of the coverage Palin received was positive. To put it another way, by a 3-2 margin, Sarah Palin’s media coverage was positive.
The candidate who received the most negative coverage from the supposed liberal media was President Barack Obama. According to the study, “As for Barack Obama, 9% of the news coverage about him over the last five months has registered as positive while 34% has been negative and 57% has been neutral or largely straight news accounting of events. In each of the 23 weeks studied, his negative coverage exceeded his positive coverage by more than 20 percentage points. And in none of those weeks did his negative coverage fall below 30%. The tone of Obama’s coverage on blogs, while still overwhelmingly negative, was slightly better—14% positive and 36% negative.”
The liberal media bias that conservatives complain about on a daily basis is a myth. The right is correct about one thing though. There is bias in the mainstream media, but that bias is in favor of conservatives. The study also found that the tone of the media coverage drives poll results. How voters feel about a candidate is shaped by the type of coverage that candidate gets.
The rise of Herman Cain is a perfect example of this dynamic in action. After the media decided that Cain’s victory in a meaningless Florida straw poll made him a serious contender, they have heaped a steady stream of positive coverage on the formerly second tier candidate. The result of this coverage is that Herman Cain is now among the leaders in the GOP field. The media is playing an active role in the 2012 contest. By subjectively deciding who gets the positive coverage, the media is shaping the 2012 GOP field.
Obama is getting so much negative coverage, not because his support has vanished, but because the media wants a close 2012 election. Close elections increase viewership, which drives ad revenue. A tight General Election is money maker for the corporate media.
Here is how the media is trying to bring Obama’s popularity down. First, they run lots of negative stories about Obama. Then they conduct polls that show Obama’s popularity slipping. They follow this up with another round of negative stories about the president based on their own polling which was influenced by their own negative reporting. The polls become a self-fulfilling prophecy, which help to insure that media gets their wish for a tight election.
The media coverage was more than 50% neutral for only two of the eight Republican candidates (Paul and Huntsman). Most of Obama’s coverage (57%) was graded as neutral, but Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin received almost four times more positive coverage than the president did. Mitt Romney and Herman Cain received three times more positive coverage than Obama did. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman received more than two times the amount of positive coverage that Obama did.
The lesson for the left and non-Republicans, whether it is the Wisconsin protests, Occupy Wall Street, or the 2012 election, is the same; the mainstream media is not objective. They aren’t going to be fair. For profit corporate news divisions place profits ahead of journalism. They aren’t going to do the right thing, and most of the time they are going to be working against you.
The message is clear. If Obama and the Democrats are going to be victorious in 2012, they are going to have overcome the mainstream media’s conservative bias.