Friday, October 17, 2008

Poll: 55% of Voters Believe Media More Biased Than in Past Elections

Rasmussen Reports has released a survey which shows that 55% of voters believe that media coverage of the election is more biased this year than in the last presidential election. Here are some highlights.

* Although 55% of voters believe election coverage is more biased, this depends upon party affiliation. 79% of Republicans perceive greater bias, but only 36% of Democrats do. 54% of independent voters view the coverage as more biased.

* With respect to individual networks, the pollster presents data for MSNBC, CNN, and Fox. Here are those statistics:

MSNBC -- 51% biased towards Obama; 28% unbiased; 5% biased towards McCain

CNN -- 46% biased towards Obama; 33% unbiased; 6% biased towards

Fox -- 39% biased towards McCain; 42% unbiased; 8% biased towards

My thoughts: First, the people who view Fox as favoring Obama and MSNBC as rooting for McCain need to turn in their voter registration cards! All kidding aside, I believe that, overall, media reporting of the election has indeed leaned in favor of Obama, but this depends upon the network, individual journalist or reporter, etc. Media bias, however, has gone against many Democrats in the past. Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and Michael Dukakis, for example, were skewered by unthoughtful reporting. And Hillary Clinton was brutalized during the Democratic primaries. So Republicans need to let go of the leftwing conspiracy language.

In addition to unfairly portraying Democrats in the past, the media have also helped Republicans -- including President Bush! Remember that the media were literally "in the tank" during and leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post, two constant sources of Republican ire, later admitted that they refused to publish some antiwar material, relegated articles critical of the war to less popular sections (i.e., something other than the front page), or published pro-war stories without seriously scrutinizing their factual claims. If the media can exhibit bias covering a matter so extraordinarily important as this country's decision to invade and slaughter people in another country, then it is not irrational to believe that they can also show bias in a presidential election. Accordingly, when Democrats and members of the media deny the existence of pro-Obama bias in this stage of the election and during the Democratic primaries, they come across as disingenuous.

Perhaps the media are trying to compensate for their shamefully uncritical treatment of Bush leading up to the war, by bashing the war, Bush, McCain and any other Republican. Guilt is a powerful instrument. I cannot accept the narrative that, collectively, the media are suddenly leftist. Regardless of the cause, my fellow Democrats had better enjoy our positive stature in the media while it lasts. History has shown that media bias does not remain on one side of the coin.

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Dave H said...

People who wear rose-colored glasses can't distinguish between red and white.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hi, Dave. Great point. Although I believe some people are so biased that they cannot accept reality.

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