New Study Shows Media Bias Against Obama

| 7/29/2008 11:51:18 AM

obama mediaPro-Obama bias and soft-focus hagiographies of the candidate are such common tropes that they’ve been lampooned by Saturday Night Live and the Onion. During the Democratic primaries, it was clear that the press was more enamored of Barack Obama than of Hillary Clinton. But similar assumptions about media coverage of the general election—that its bears traces of Nixon vs. Kennedy, with the press giving the mediagenic Obama a pass and training its guns on the stodgy, less PR-savvy John McCain—may be off the mark.

George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs, which has previously released studies touted by conservative commentators to bolster their accusations of a liberal media bias, has just published new evidence of a mainstream media bias against Barack Obama. (Liberal bloggers gripe that these same conservative commentators might “accidentally not notice” the new report.)

The study’s author is Robert Lichter, a Fox News contributor who authored the aforementioned reports alleging a liberal media bias. But now he finds that when anchors and reporters on the big three networks ventured opinions about Obama, “28 percent of the statements were positive for Obama and 72 percent negative,” with a much narrower margin for McCain. And that’s not even taking into account Fox News’ more brazenly biased Obama coverage.

Meanwhile, the Tyndall Report states that Obama has received more than twice as much network airtime as McCain, but James Rainey of the L.A. Times points out that while such airtime may be ample, it’s not always favorable—just cast your mind back to the Jeremiah Wright “scandal.”

Rainey also echoes an old but probably accurate explanation for Lichter’s findings: News organs are concerned about being accused of liberal bias by the Hannitys and O’Reillys of the world, so they swing too far to the other extreme. 

Image by My Hobo Soul, licensed under Creative Commons. 

11/3/2008 10:59:53 AM

I believe that to some extent the media has been blinded by the politics of hope. We all want things to change in this country, and for a number of reasons, people seem to see that exemplified in Senator Obama. There are definitely media outlets that are openly biased, MSNBC is one of them, and let's not forget Fox with it's "fair and balanced" news. There are also some media outlets that tend to have more positive things to say about Senator Obama. Let's look into that. I do agree that there are more negative stories out there about Senator McCain. In part it could be media bias, it could also be the "myth of the mirror," but I think the fact that Senator McCain has run an unorganized, quite negative campaign (until recently) which lacked a consistent message until these past few days, then made a pick for VP that many people (including many important Republicans and conservatives) find a little bit more than questionable, has only helped fuel those negative stories. The fact that people like Colin Powell, Warren Buffet, a long list of prized economists, quite a few conservatives who worked alongside President Bush and other life-long conservatives (including Christopher Buckley), support Obama, gives him much more credibility than Senator McCain. The Maverick was recently endorsed by Dick Cheney and Al Qaeda -- which can't help his case. The fact is, experts have said it quite a few times over these last few weeks: Senator Obama has run the most organized, most disciplined campaign many of these pundits and advisers have ever seen. He has the man power, he's done the ground work, he raised the money and most of all he has gained millions of volunteers, non-paid supporters, who are making calls, knocking on doors and making sure his message gets around. A stark contrast to McCain campaign, which, for the past month, relied on Obama's associations and the incessant "Who is Barack Obama?", even though

Gary Ashcraft
8/7/2008 7:00:02 PM

Who's kidding Who here ??? The media is having a lovefest with Obama, it's like a coronation celibration. I predicted well over a year ago he would be the next President, not because I love the guy, but because I am a Pragmatist ( Optimist- it's half full, Pessimist- it's half empty, Pragmatist- the vessel is at 50% of capacity ). Obama is our next Jimmy Carter. The economy is getting ready to tank big time ( guns and butter, how soon we forget ) and the Repubilcans really don't want to get caught holding the bag ( which they filled ). John McCain no matter how good and noble a man is the GOP's throw down gun. The GOP is already preparing for 2012 and a chance to " SAVE " us with another Ronald Reagon who's " rising tide will lift all boats " . . . . . . Two of my favorite quotes. Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ Harry Truman ~ The problem with Americans is that they have a ten day memory. ~ Martin Luther King Jr. ~

Guy Blaise
7/29/2008 8:45:23 PM

Senator McCain, After weeks of complaining about the attention of the media toward Senator Obama, this study shows that the media is on your side. This time you got your chance. As the Bateke of Congo say,"Chance is like man's testicles; they swing back and forth." Guy at

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