Thread: Obama Bias Stats

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  1. #1 Obama Bias Stats 
    Who enjoyed best news bias?
    New study's stats show not all presidents equal in press coverage

    Posted: May 04, 2009
    10:22 pm Eastern

    By Drew Zahn
    2009 WorldNetDaily

    A newly released study of the media shows that Barack Obama's first 100 days in office have been unusually blessed by positive press coverage 50 percent more favorable than coverage of the Clinton administration and nearly twice as glowing as the reports about George W. Bush.

    The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that 42 percent of news stories, editorials and op ed columns from a mix of seven national media sources have carried a positive tone about Obama in his first 100 days, compared to 27 percent for President Clinton and only 22 percent for President Bush in their initial "honeymoon" periods.

    The full PEJ report also points out that the proportions of positive press coverage have been radically different for the presidents. Negative stories about Bush abounded in the media, outnumbering positive stories 28 percent to 22 percent the rest deemed neutral. For Obama, however, the positive stories outdistance negative by a margin of two-to-one, 42 percent to 20 percent, respectively.

    Even the nature of the news coverage has been different.

    The study found the media focused primarily on Bush's and Clinton's policies and ideology, but with Obama, a significant percentage of the stories have been about his leadership, abilities, style and skill. The study found 44 percent of the stories have been about these areas of Obama's character, while only 22 percent of Bush's press coverage focused on such issues. Instead, 74 percent of press coverage on Bush and 71 percent of Clinton coverage focused on policy.

    "In other words, the media has given us a heapin' helping of fluff in [Obama's] first 100 days, and very little in specifics," comments Ed Morrissey on the HotAir blog. "The media seems quite 'enchanted' with the new president, and this time it's going to be tougher for them to dismiss the data that proves it."
    When you pair this story up with the one yesterday about the behavior of the White House press corps toward Obama versus Bush, it's no wonder that journalists are now seen as less credible than used car dealers.

    WND
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  2. #2  
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    Heck, I would have thought that bias in favor of the O was around 90%. Certainly that is the case with ABC, NBC and CBS. With NBC it is probably 95%
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  3. #3  
    Festivus Moderator ralph wiggum's Avatar
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    Maybe they should rename it the The Pew Research Center's Project for Crap & Bias in So-Called Journalism.
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  4. #4  
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    Ginger, come on... World Net Daily? Did megimoo hack into your computer?

    When you go to the actual story about the Pew Research Center Report, there are a number of points made in the report that WMD's Drew Zahn saw fit to leave out:

    Several factors may be at play in the favorable tone Obama has received during these first months. One element is the pace and sweep of Obama's activities. Bush and Clinton both started their presidencies pursuing policy agendas much more of their own making than Obama has. But the data suggest the current president has managed the media narrative anyway by responding to the economic crisis with so many new proposals and doing so many events that it has been hard for both his critics and the media to keep up.
    LINK

    Also left out of WMD article:

    Another factor may be the media reflecting, and in turn, influencing public opinion. According to Pew Research surveys, President Obama is more popular at this point in his presidency than were either Bush or Clinton. Past studies have shown a recurring pattern of press coverage tending to follow favorability ratings

    Obama also entered office with a stronger popular mandate than either of his two predecessors. He is the first president since George H.W. Bush in 1988 to be elected to his first term with more than 50% of the popular vote. He also succeeded a president leaving office with historically low favorability ratings.
    SAME LINK

    Regarding all this--what does it mean? That in the first 60 days of his presidency a number of factors contributed to Obama getting more positive coverage overall. The PEW article summarizing the study also makes this point very important point.

    Finally, those who see the press as ideologically motivated toward liberals will likely see that phenomenon as a factor here as well.
    In other words--our report does not make that conclusion--but Sean Hannity will. To be fair, so will my man, Bill O'Reilly.

    Ginger, despite the WND spin on the report, (I see they got Ed from HotAir Blog to offer his insight) Pew Research Center does good work and the report offers a lot of good info to be considered. Thank you for bringing to our attention.:)

    Finally, I am glad to see that WND did not leave out this:

    Within the cable news universe, MSNBC and Fox News offered strikingly different portrayals of the young presidency, while CNN more closely reflected the tone of the media overall. Meanwhile, NPR and PBS offered the highest percentage of neutral stories of any outlets studied.
    See, I told you Big Bird is a centrist.;)
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  5. #5  
    None of that refutes a level of bias in mainstream reporting. If any politician within recent memory is deserving of hard core, unbiased journalism, Obama certainly takes the top spot. His policies in this short amount of time will have deep repercussions for years or decades. The fact that he is widely considered to walk on water shouldn't affect the mission of investigative journalists and their critical faculties.
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    None of that refutes a level of bias in mainstream reporting. If any politician within recent memory is deserving of hard core, unbiased journalism, Obama certainly takes the top spot. His policies in this short amount of time will have deep repercussions for years or decades. The fact that he is widely considered to walk on water shouldn't affect the mission of investigative journalists and their critical faculties.
    It's not about refuting it or denying it--it just puts the overall findings of a 60-day study into context.

    The study looked at coverage, news and op-ed, and then compared them to similar studies of two past presidents, and put everything in a logical context. The point about media "reflecting, and in turn, influencing public opinion" is very valid, IMO.

    So far, he is popular. The media reports on his popularity--that story goes down in the 'positive toward' column. If/when public opinion starts to turn, the media will reflect this.

    The WND story was seeing what it wanted to see in the report. Evidence of bias. The actual report never goes there. In fact, it points out that those who believe there exists a left-leaning bias "will likely see that phenomenon as a factor here as well."

    The other interesting story on the PRC site was this one:

    Will Obama Ride Reagan's Ratings Roller Coaster?

    It makes some interesting comparisons between Reagan's early days and Obama's.

    The parallels in the two presidents' ratings go beyond overall results. Both were extremely popular among members of their own party, but each set off alarm bells among the opposition. Some 87% of Republicans approved of Reagan, while 88% of Democrats approve of Barack Obama. But both presidents evoked less positive opinion from the opposition than had their predecessor. Only 41% of Democrats approved of Reagan whereas 56% of Republicans had approved of Jimmy Carter in March 1977. President Obama scores only a 27% rating among Republicans, significantly lower than George W. Bush's 36% approval score among Democrats in March 2001.

    --snip--

    So far, concern over Obama's policies has not translated into a loss of public support; nor did it for Ronald Reagan through much of 1981. But the public's patience with Reagan was relatively short lived.




    I don't watch MSNBC--so can't comment on left-leaning outlet. I watch O'Reilly, listen to CNN in the car, and read the Economist and anything of interest online. Sunday mornings, I flip around. I typically end each day with John Stewart--to put things in perspective.;):D
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