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Thursday, August 21, 2008
MRC Study of Obama Clashes With CMPA Study
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has released a study claiming that the broadcast networks' coverage of Barack Obama "bordered on giddy celebration of a political 'rock star' rather than objective newsgathering," based on an "exhaustive analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news coverage of Barack Obama — every story, every soundbite, every mention — from his first appearance on a network broadcast in May 2000 through the end of the Democratic primaries in June 2008." No big surprise there, though not necessarily because it's true -- it's the MRC's raison d'etre to make those claims, after all.

But there's a problem: it appears to clash with reality. As we've noted, a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a conservative-leaning group whose work is the foundation of the MRC, found that broadcast network news evaluations of Obama in the six weeks after he clinched the Democratic nomination were overwhelmingly negative -- 72 percent negative vs. 28 percent positive. John McCain's coverage, meanwhile, was much better, 43 percent positive and 57 percent negative.

The MRC has not, to our knowledge, mentioned the study in any way, approvingly or otherwise. That silence can be interpreted as a tacit acceptance of the study's findings.

But to treat both the MRC and CMPA studies as accurate, one must accept the proposition that media coverage of Obama whipsawed from overwhelmingly positive to overwhelmingly negative in a day's time. We can't imagine how that would be possible.

Perhaps the MRC could devise a model a scenario of how both studies could be accurate. Or perhaps the MRC could just admit the bias and faulty analysis in its study -- a longtime problem

Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EDT

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