SAUL LOEB and JEWEL SAMAD /AFP/Getty Images
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney smiles as he arrives to speaks at his caucus night rally following republican caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 3, 2012.
Save for Fox News’ right-leaning reputation, we’ve all heard that the press allegedly exhibits a liberal bias; however, a recent study of political media coverage by the Project for Excellence in Journalism over the last few months indicates that a conservative bias, or at least an anti-Obama bias, may be evident in the media.
During this year’s Republican primaries, President Barack Obama to date has not experienced a single week in which positive treatment by the media outweighed the negative, according to the study. Researchers examined 52 key newspaper, television, radio, and Internet outlets and found that Obama was inextricably linked to events that generated negative coverage, including rising gas prices, the ailing economy, and the renewed debate over his health care law.
Republican candidates also received negative coverage, but a breakdown of the numbers shows coverage of Romney was 39 percent positive, 32 percent negative, and 29 percent neutral while Obama’s coverage was 18 percent positive, 34 percent negative, and 34 percent neutral. Accordingly, Romney’s depiction by the media was more than twice as positive as the president’s.
How surprised are you, if at all, to learn that the media depicts Obama more negatively than Romney? What might be the cause of the slant? Is this disparity a direct result of political bias among journalists or a consequence of a weakened U.S. economy?
Rick Edmonds, media business analyst, Poynter Institute, a non-profit think tank and school for journalists
Jeanne Cummings, Deputy Government Editor, Bloomberg News