March 15, 2005


Study Shows U.S. Election Coverage Harder on Bush (Claudia Parsons, 3/14/05, Reuters)

U.S. media coverage of last year's election was three times more likely to be negative toward President Bush than Democratic challenger John Kerry, according to a study released Monday.

The annual report by a press watchdog that is affiliated with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism said that 36 percent of stories about Bush were negative compared to 12 percent about Kerry, a Massachusetts senator.

The numbers are even worse if you subtract Jeff Gannon puff pieces.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2005 2:26 PM

Examining the public perception that coverage of the war in Iraq [in 2004] was decidedly negative, it found evidence did not support that conclusion. The majority of stories had no decided tone, 25 percent were negative and 20 percent were positive, it said.

My bogo-meter is tripping.

Posted by: Gideon at March 15, 2005 7:08 PM

Remember this was CJR doing the scoring. I'll wager that if OJ and I were scoring (objectively of course) the margin would have been higher. Also note that one of the big problems was that there many stories that wre negative to Kerry that the media refused to report. Silence does not register on this meter.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 15, 2005 9:00 PM

Imagine where the NYTimes hid this story:

Fewer Sources Go Nameless in the Press, Survey Shows; By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE; Published: March 14, 2005

A report on the state of the news media says that the use of anonymous sources in newspapers has dropped substantially over the last year.

In a detailed study of hundreds of articles from 16 newspapers of varying size across the country, just 7 percent of them in 2004 used anonymous sources, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a research group. In 2003, the project found that 29 percent of all newspaper articles contained at least one anonymous source. The report found that the bigger the newspaper, the more likely it was to rely on anonymous sources. Big papers used such sources in 12 percent of their articles in 2004, while small papers used them in 3 percent. The four biggest papers surveyed were The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and USA Today.

Articles on the front page tended to contain anonymous sources more often than articles inside the paper, the report said. At the big papers, 20 percent of the anonymously sourced stories were on the front page, while at the small papers, 7 percent were.

The 500-page annual report also found that coverage of President Bush during the 2004 presidential campaign was harsher than that of John Kerry, his Democratic challenger. Among all news media combined, campaign coverage that focused on Mr. Bush was three times as negative as that focusing on Mr. Kerry, the report said.

I mean it takes journalistic genius to bury a lede like that.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 15, 2005 9:51 PM

In hindsight, Memogate was probably the most positive story the media had for Bush, since it's outcome confirmed the media's pro-Kerry slant for anyone paying attention, and reminded people to look what they were getting from the big media outlets during the election cycle with a jaundiced eye.

Posted by: John at March 15, 2005 10:32 PM