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January 30, 2012 / Political Fluency

The Media is Biased Part 932

Now we have empirical proof showing how the media has been covering the Republican primary with an agenda a desire for the campaign to go on for as long as possible instead of accurately portraying the natural ebbs and flows of any political fight.

The study also found that the campaign horse race is getting over six times as much coverage as the candidates’ positions on policy issues. According to CMPA director and George Mason University professor Robert Lichter, “The media love a horse race and hate a frontrunner.”

The Horse Race Wins There were over six times as many stories on the campaign horse race as there were on the policies of the candidates (105 vs. 16 stories). Even when the candidates’ backgrounds are added to the comparison, the horse race outpaced coverage of their records, personalities, and policies by a margin of over 3 to 1 (105 vs. 31 stories).

This is actually more than confirmation bias where you select data that supports your beginning hypothesis. The media is acting like a bunch of deluded sports fans that think their last place team has a chance because they’re not mathematically eliminated yet. It’s childish and blatantly lacking in credibility. While it’s more accurate to say “South Carolina had to vote for someone besides Mitt Romney to prevent him from being inevitable” than to proclaim Newt Gingrich winning the state is “a major upset,” the pundits can be more truthful without saying either.

This cheerleader mentality was stated outright by Chris Wallace in response to Brit Hume on Fox News Sunday yesterday:

HUME: But I don’t think Gingrich, if he loses even by double digits in Florida, is dead yet. He is a wily, resourceful, very bright guy who has shown the ability to — shown the perseverance on the ability to recover and it won’t be over yet.

WALLACE: Let’s hope not as political pundits and reporters.

It’s funny when Brent Musberger is calling a college football game he bet on. As you listen you try to figure out which team he likes based on his commentary. In one instance he complained about the clock running when a player ran out of bounds – in the second quarter! Looks like somebody has the Over.
But it’s not fun to constantly treat politics like a sport that pundits are constantly handicapping and prognosticating. Then hoping for more elections to handicap and prognosticate. The policy discussions are left behind at precisely the worst time – in a year where Americans must make a clear ideological choice of government’s involvement in the economic system.
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I had to add and bold emphasize this for all liberal readers:

Network Differences  However, the various networks differed sharply from one another in their combined evaluations of the entire Republican field. A majority of all candidate evaluations aired on CBS and FOX were positive, while comments were 3 to 1 negative on NBC and 2 to 1 negative on ABC.

CBS had the most positive portrayals — 57% positive vs. 43% negative, partly because of its highly favorable (89% positive) evaluations of Ron Paul. FOX had the most balanced overall coverage with 52% positive vs. 48% negative comments. NBC was the most negative overall with 27% positive vs. 73% negative coverage, followed closely by ABC with 32% positive vs. 68% negative coverage. Both NBC and ABC featured 85% negative comments on Romney.

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