Americans and Their News Media

June 4, 2008

Here’s a post from a blogger observing the media’s treatment of Barack Obama.

I try to view this impartially and simply assess the situation. It appears to me that one can make a case that NBC does in fact have a bias toward Obama. On the whole, the numbers do show that he is getting the most face time. Whether this is a convincing case is a decision left to the listener. I caught a podcast of Meet the Press today, which included this week’s interview with Harold Ickes, adviser to the Clinton campaign. Tim Russert was certainly aggressive — as he often is — but I do believe the conversation was slightly more unpleasant than usual. I don’t blame Russert; this campaign is becoming more bitter because of its prolonged nature and the evaporating rationale for its continuation. Someone has to ask these questions.

The end result, regardless of any emperical evidence, is that both of the Democratic Party’s factions are beginning to dig in their heels and come to final conclusions. It appears clear that the Clinton campaign will claim that yes, Obama won the delegates, but we won the popular vote (or some mathematical derivative thereof). Furthermore, the belief that the media exercised undue influence will persist.

There is evidence that people, whoever they may be, are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the news media. Here is the excpert from the most recent Pew Research survey:

Most Americans (56%) have an unfavorable opinion of the news media, while just 40% express a favorable view. Positive opinions of the news media have declined since March 2007; at that time, 49% expressed an unfavorable view while 45% had a favorable opinion.

Women hold more favorable views of the press than do men, and Democrats hold more favorable views than either Republicans or independents. Conservatives are much more negative in their assessments of the press than are moderates or liberals.

I believe it safe to presume that this due in large part to election coverage this season. The only contingent to have a net favorable view of the media is “Democrats,” by 4%. The seemingly related “Liberal” category was close, but still holds a negative view of the media.


Bill O’Reilly on Obama’s Coverage

March 4, 2008

Just a few moments ago Brit Hume was speaking with Bill O’Reilly about tonight’s primary contests.

O’Reilly mentioned that the New York Times, due to its McCain-affair assertions, has damaged its reputation and will continue to suffer financially. (I doubt that can be ascertained from these current events; they just may galvanize a like-minded support base).

He noted NBC’s affinity for Obama, while brining up the Saturday Night Live treatment as well. He cited a statistic: that Obama’s news coverage has been 83% positive. He seems to think that these things will lead to a Clinton resurgance.

He described NBC’s supposed favoritism as “corrupt.” He qualified that by stating that, if NBC is going to be supportive of Obama, they should come right out and say so.

The media, of course, doesn’t have a political angle. Doesn’t O’Reilly know that?


American Media ♥ Barack

March 1, 2008

The suspicion that Barack Obama is getting comparatively favorable media coverage is coming into discussion.

Media Expert Decries Campaign Coverage

The article references this Saturday Night Live skit:

THE SKIT

This is, of course, a topic of great interest to this blog. I often wonder what is behind media bias, real or perceived. MSNBC, for example, has been accused of being Obama’s loudest cheering section (SNL apparently agrees). Is it because they have an ideological affinity for him? Is it because there is some economic incentive for them to cover him more favorably?

Is it even the case that he is receiving better treatment? If so, we can agree that it is something very significant. We would need some means of determining the particular bias in each news source we encounter. Lacking that, we would be nothing but suspicious of our largest news outlets.

What responsibility does the media have? Should they come out and tell us what their angle is…or do we expect that they shouldn’t have one?