One of our regular posters, Truth, submitted a comment yesterday with a link to a website that proved that the media has run many more negative stories about McCain than about Obama. You can click here to visit the site he referenced. I have no problem believing the data in the graph, so let’s assume that this is true.
While the data is true, and while it appears to confirm the Republican mantra about the “left wing media,” I would ask that you consider the analysis provided further down the page:
Is there some element in these numbers that reflects a rooting by journalists for Obama and against McCain, unconscious or otherwise? The data do not provide conclusive answers. They do offer a strong suggestion that winning in politics begat winning coverage, thanks in part to the relentless tendency of the press to frame its coverage of national elections as running narratives about the relative position of the candidates in the polls and internal tactical maneuvering to alter those positions. Obama’s coverage was negative in tone when he was dropping in the polls, and became positive when he began to rise, and it was just so for McCain as well. Nor are these numbers different than what we have seen before. Obama’s numbers are similar to what we saw for John Kerry four years ago as he began rising in the polls, and McCain’s numbers are almost identical to what we saw eight years ago for Democrat Al Gore.
I absolutely agree that there are liberal media outlets and conservative media outlets. I absolutely disagree that the journalistic institution, as a whole, leans to the left or the right. Before my conservative friends start cherry-picking websites and research that proves a left-wing media bias, I’ll remind you that there are just as many that prove either a conservative bias or no bias at all. I’ve checked, and I think you’ll find the same thing.
I strongly suspect that emotional memory trumps fact when it comes to personal regard for media bias. We remember all of the bad headlines (which we view as unfair) and forget all the good headlines (which we view as fair).
My conservative friends are outraged that Ayers and ACORN and Wright aren’t getting more attention from the media. I’m outraged that Palin’s several scandals and McCain’s Keating 5 associations aren’t getting more attention. Just like my conservative friends, I’m outraged that the other guy is getting a free pass on so many important issues. Perhaps the issue isn’t with the media, perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
The media loves a tasty headline, and it doesn’t matter whose head is on the chopping block.