Media bias largely unseen in US presidential race | Special Coverage | Reuters:
McCain partisans were roused to anger by a perception that mainstream news organizations routinely gave Obama preferential treatment en route to his election as the first black U.S. president.Yet as Richard Fernandez of Belmont Club notes:
But media scholars, including a former top aide to McCain, disagree. They said campaign coverage often did lean in Obama's favor, though not -- as many conservatives have suggested -- because of a hidden liberal agenda on the part of the media.
Instead, academic experts said, Obama benefited largely from the dynamics of the campaign itself and the media's tendency to focus on the "horse race," emphasizing ups and downs in the polls and political tactics.
As Obama's poll numbers rose in response to events, so did favorable press coverage for him, not the other way round.
"Winning begets winning coverage," said Mark Jurkowitz, an author of a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism that tracked campaign coverage.
Dan Schnur, communications director for McCain's 2000 presidential bid and now head of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, agreed.
"I don't think there's partisan or ideological bias because the mainstream media tries not to take sides in policy disagreements," he said. "Favorable news coverage is ... more a function of favorable poll numbers."
FINANCIAL CRISIS BOOSTS OBAMA
Some scholars acknowledge that Obama also generated good press by virtue of his charisma, and his place in history as the first black presidential candidate of a major political party.
"He was fresh-faced, his candidacy was historic and he had a campaign that seemed to transcend politics," said Robert Lichter, head of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. "Reporters are suckers for candidates who don't seem like ordinary politicians."
But Kelly McBride, who teaches at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, said journalists should not be labeled as star-struck for reporting on the "mania" surrounding Obama.
"When you have a very attractive candidate, and you have people swooning for him, the reporters then report on the fact that people are swooning," she said.
The Zogby polling organization has been criticized for conducting a survey which indicates that an astounding level of ignorance among voters for the positions and factual circumstances of Barack Obama....The poll was conducted for John Ziegler, who is writing a book accusing the media of malpractice.Belmont Club links to this video that claims to illustrate the ignorance of many Obama voters on matters that should have led to a negative perception of Obama, while these same voters know well the negative talking points on Sarah Palin: