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Tuesday, July 29, 2008
MRC Silent on Study Documenting Negative Obama Media Coverage
Topic: Media Research Center

A study on media bias issued by the Center for Media and Public Affairs should be a big deal for the Media Research Center. After all, as we've noted, the CMPA is a conservative-leaning group whose work is the foundation of the MRC. It touts a book by CMPA founder Robert Lichter, "The Media Elite" -- which "demonstrated that journalists and broadcasters hold liberal positions on a wide range of social and political issues" -- at the top of one "Bias Basics" page. But a new CMPA study has drawn nothing but crickets so from from the MRC.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, the new CMPA study found that evening news shows on ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign:

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.

Why has the MRC been so quiet about this? Because it can't spin those results away since the CMPA is a trusted source to it. And also because it contradicts the MRC's cherished claim that, in the words of MRC chief Brent Bozell, the "liberal media" are "neck-deep in the tank for Sen. Obama."

Indeed, even after the Times published its story on July 27, posters at the MRC's NewsBusters blog are still clinging to the old meme in July 28 posts:

  • Mark Finkelstein asserted that there is "plenty of MSM sycophancy for Barack Obama." 
  • Jeff Poor bashed NBC's Brian Williams for suggesting there wasn't "a pro-Obama bias in the media" despite "allegations of just the opposite."
  • Seton Motley asserted that the media was serving up "wall-to-wall slavish and adoring reporting" on Obama. 
  • Lyndsi Thomas cited the alleged existence of "'Obamania' present within the mainstream media," "the glowing media treatment of Obama" and "their gushing ways to help their candidate of choice."

None made mention of the CMPA study that makes their views inoperative. After all, overwhelimingly negative coverage isn't exactly "gushing."

Will the MRC acknowledge the existence of the study? Ore are they feverishly devising an explanation to downplay its results? Then again, the MRC's own analytical skills leave something to be desired.

UPDATE: A July 29 MRC "Worst of the Week" item complained that the network evening newscasts gave Obama's foreign trip "more than ten times the coverage" than to McCain's foreign trip in March. Again, no mention of the CMPA study.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 3:02 PM EDT

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