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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Center For Media and Public Affairs Finds Fox News Most Balanced

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

Election Study finds Hillary Clinton hit the hardest in the media. Barack Obama and Mike Huckabeee fare the best and Fox News Channel provides the most balance.... they even clarify that with (Not a Typo).
TV election news has been hardest on Hillary Clinton this fall, while Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee have been the biggest media favorites, according to a new study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University. The study also found that Fox NewsChannel's evening news show provided more balanced coverage than its counterparts on the broadcast networks.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), formed in 1985, is a nonpartisan research and educational organization which conducts scientific studies of the news and entertainment media. CMPA election studies have played a major role in the ongoing debate over improving the election process.

Founded by Drs. Robert and Linda Lichter, CMPA has become an acknowledged source of expertise in media analysis.

The PDF of the complete press release is here.

These results are from CMPA's 2008 ElectionNewsWatch Project. They are based on a scientific content analysis of all 481 election news stories. (15 hrs, 40 minutes of airtime) that aired on flagship evening news shows on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox (the first 30 minutes of "Special Report with Brit Hume") from October 1 through December 15, 2007.

The report shows that evaluations of Hillary Clinton were nearly 3 to 2 negative (48% positive and 52% negative).

It also shows that reports on Barack Obama were better than 3 to 2 positive (61% positive and 39% negative).

Clinton was also evaluated more than all the Democratic opponents combined.

Four of the ten most heavily covered candidate related issues concerned Clinton, with #1, 47 stories covering her campaign strategy and tactics, #7 with 18 stories covering her electability, #8, 14 stories about her flip flopping, and #9, 12 stories on her honesty/integrity.

On the GOP side, Huckabee fared the best with 50% to 50% positive and negative and Fred Thompson at 44% positive comments.

Then they have the question of who was more fair and balanced?

Fox News Channel's coverage was more balanced towards both parties that the broadcast networks were. On FOX, evaluations of all Democratic candidates combined were split evenly- 51% positive vs 49% negative, as were all evaluations of GOP candidates- 49% positive vs 51% negative, producing a perfectly balanced 50-50 split for all candidates of both parties.

On the three broadcast networks, opinion on Democratic candidates split 47% positive vs 53% negative, while evaluations of Republicans were more negative- 40% positive vs 60% negative. For both parties combined, network evaluations were almost 3 to 2 negative in tone, i.e. 41% positive and 59% negative.

There have been many public opinion polls conducted by reliable polling groups, Rasmussen has done a few that all show that the public is critical of news organizations and find them to be liberally biased, MSNBC took it a step farther and compiled a list of 143 journalists and who they contributed to in political campaigns, Zogby in March of 2007, showed that the vast majority of Americans feel media bias is alive and well.

The polls go on and on showing what the public believes.

Harvard has also done a study on the "tone" of media coverage and found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.

Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which "produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic candidates than on Republicans."

The debate rages on and FOX is accused of not being fair and balanced but this latest study puts that myth to bed because even Fox News has managed, by 2%, to report more positives stories on Democrats than they do Republicans.