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You’ll never guess what kind of coverage the two presidential candidates received the last week—actually, yes, you will

by | Nov 20, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion Barack Obama and Pro-life Mitt Romney

From the “did you expect anything different?” category, a new study from Pew found that media coverage of Mitt Romney the final week of the campaign was mostly negative as contrasted with President Obama which was largely positive. Yes and the sun does rise in the east.

“In the final week of the 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama enjoyed his most positive run of news coverage in months,” we read at journalism.org, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. ”Only during the week of his nominating convention was the treatment in the press more favorable.”

Specifically, from October 29 through November 5, Obama experienced 10% more positive than negative stories (29% to 19%). For Romney, “Negative stories in the press outnumbered positive ones 33% to 16%.”

But then there was this observation: “But Romney may have suffered in final days from the press focusing less on him relative to his opponent. After receiving roughly identical levels of coverage for most of October, in the last week of campaigning Obama was a significant presence in eight out of 10 campaign stories compared with six in 10 for Romney-one of the biggest disparities in any week after Labor Day.”

Why? Obama’s touring the states damaged by Hurricane Sandy obviously placed him in the best possible light and offered limitless photo opportunities for the networks.

(MSNBC’s Chris Matthews famously opined Election Night, “I’m so glad we had that storm last week because I think the storm was one of those things. No, politically I should say, not in terms of hurting people. The storm brought in possibilities for good politics” [Obama’s re-election].)

And being written off by many pollsters had a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy for Romney: why bother to cover a guy who is going to lose anyway?

And also in the for what it’s worth category, Pew found that MSNBC did no negative stories the last week on Obama and no positive ones on Romney:

“MSNBC’s coverage of Romney during the final week (68% negative with no positive stories in the sample), was far more negative than the overall press, and even more negative than it had been during October 1 to 28 when 5% was positive and 57% was negative.

“For Obama, meanwhile, the coverage improved in the last week. From October 1 to 28, 33% was positive and 13% negative. During the campaign’s final week, fully 51% of MSNBC’s stories were positive while there were no negative stories at all in the sample.”

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Categories: Media Bias