Attila the Pun
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Did we forget to mention..

Tim Blair points to an article by Micheal Gawenda which claims that conservative bloggers were wrong about the liberal bias of the mainstream media:

Media coverage of the Iraq war by the American media was not biased in favour or against the war, according to new research, despite claims the coverage was generally biased and negative.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington think tank affiliated with Columbia University's school of journalism, looked at more than 2000 stories in newspapers and on television and websites.

Most were "straight" news reports, according to the survey's director, Tom Rosenstiel, with 25 per cent of the stories positive and 20 per cent negative. The rest could not be classified one way or the other.

I would be interested to see what they consider a "straight" news story, but even leaving that aside, I note that Gawenda doesn't mention this bit:

U.S. media coverage of last year's election was three times more likely to be negative toward President Bush than Democratic challenger John Kerry, according to a study released Monday.

The annual report by a press watchdog that is affiliated with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism said that 36 percent of stories about Bush were negative compared to 12 percent about Kerry, a Massachusetts senator.

or this:

Only 20 percent were positive toward Bush compared to 30 percent of stories about Kerry that were positive, according to the report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

and this directly contradicts Gawenda:

Examining the public perception that coverage of the war in Iraq was decidedly negative, it found evidence did not support that conclusion. The majority of stories had no decided tone, 25 percent were negative and 20 percent were positive, it said.

They can't both be right, and although 5% is not a massive difference, it will be interesting to see who is quoting the correct figure.

Well what do you know - Gawenda is wrong. I am shocked.

Update: Okay, I was wrong as well. Gawenda did mention the Bush/Kerry thing:

The report also looks at coverage of the presidential election campaign last year. It found 36 per cent of stories on Mr Bush were negative compared with 12 per cent for John Kerry, with 20 per cent of stories positive for Mr Bush, compared with 30 per cent for Senator Kerry.

But with this cop-out:

Mr Rosenstiel said these figures did not necessarily reflect bias but, instead, the fact that coverage was always more intense and questioning when it came to the incumbent.

Whereas the report says this:

When it came to the campaign, on the other hand, the criticism that George Bush got worse coverage than John Kerry is supported by the data.

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