What Liberal Media?

Study Shows U.S. Election Coverage Harder on Bush

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. media coverage of last year’s election was three times more likely to be negative toward President Bush than Democratic challenger John Kerry, according to a study released Monday.

The annual report by a press watchdog that is affiliated with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism said that 36 percent of stories about Bush were negative compared to 12 percent about Kerry, a Massachusetts senator.

Only 20 percent were positive toward Bush compared to 30 percent of stories about Kerry that were positive, according to the report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Can we please, once and for all, just acknowledge the fact that the mainstream media is pro-Democrat?

Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. JakeV says:

    Leopold, you might want to note that the same project studied media coverage of the 2000 election.

    Their summary can be found here.

    The whole summary is worth a read. Here’s a key quote from the it:

    As we found in two of the earlier studies, Bush continues to benefit more than Gore from press coverage. As outlined above, 24% of Bush stories were positive, nearly double the 13% for Gore. In contrast, the coverage of Gore was more negative. A full 56% of the Gore stories had a negative tone, compared to 49% for Bush. The remaining stories were neutral.

    So, the same organization whose results you are touting here also claims that media coverage in 2000 favored Bush over Gore.

    Tell me, was the mainstream media “pro-Republican” in 2000, based on this study? Why or why not?

  2. bindare says:

    Much of the media bias goes unreported and un-noticed by these organizations such as the Columbia U Graduate School of Journalism. Just as Dan Rather can believe he did nothing wrong because “everbody knows” Bush is guilty. He just needs to find the proof that must be out there somewhere. When you aren’t aware of your own bias how do you recognize it in others when what you see only confirms what you believe to be true. In my recollection the media did not favor Bush in 2000 and they ignored or buried over half of the stupid things Gore said or did.

  3. kenny says:

    isn’t this standard for elections ?

    After all, it’s the incumbent party/individual who has an actual record in the post for the media to examine and find fault with.
    – “He said he would do this and he didn’t”

    Whereas the challenger generally doesn’t.

  4. johnny7 says:

    The group who did the study was ‘Project for Excellence in Journalism’… their biggest backer is The PEW Charitable Trusts. They are made up of MSMedia people, overseeing the MSMedia.

    The article(‘Study Warns of Junk-News Diet’), which appeared in the LATimes, also cites FOXNews as a major cable-contributor to ‘junk news’… along with the notoriously inaccurate, Internet bloggers.

    This happens to follow close behind John Kerry’s recent statements;

    “ …a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information.”

    In another words… bloggers, talk-radio and FOXNews.

    I see this article as a red-flag… the MSM along with the DNC is now going to discredit the ‘NEW Media’ to maintain their grip on the ‘news’.

  5. JakeV: I think where I would take issue with your point (a good one for sure) is in each study’s methodology. The 2000 study uses only 17 total sources and almost twice as many internet sites than newspapers; as opposed to the 2004 study uses 41 sources but weighs heavily newspapers and television (ie the mainstream media). So while yours is a good point, making what appears to be an apples-to-apples comparison, the methodology of each is far too different to make a direct comparision.

    So if I can give the answer of a good social scientist, in 2000 the data was insufficient but this seems to have been partially remedied for the 2004 survey.

  6. Anderson says:

    Maybe the “objective” news in 2004 was less favorable to Bush than to Kerry? Which countries did Kerry invade without adequate planning or intelligence? etc. (Kerry’s *campaign* suffered from inadequate planning & intelligence, of course.)

  7. McGehee says:

    Maybe the “objective” news in 2004 was less favorable to Bush than to Kerry?

    Imagine the margin of victory if Bush had chosen to move the Iraqi elections up to before Nov. 2?

    Hell, imagine the difference in margin of victory if the MSM had bothered to report at all about the tremendous progress in Afghanistan, including the elections there which were before Nov. 2 — maybe those stories were deemed insufficiently damaging to merit the kind of coverage that was poured on endless reiterations of “questions” about Bush’s National Guard service.

    Objective news less favorable to Bush? Depends on your definition of “objective,” I guess.

  8. Just Me says:

    I think there is probably some incumbant issues at work, but also considering the sources used for each study weren’t the same, they aren’t good for comparison.

    Also, I think it is hard to deny that huge difference between the Bush/Kerry positive stories and the Bush/Gore ones.

    There is a huge difference there.

  9. See my response to this in the comments at my site.