Would it surprise any of you to learn that the media’s coverage of the President horse race accords more coverage, and more favorable coverage, to the Democratic candidates? It didn’t surprise me, but it’s still useful to see it in black and white:
Campaign coverage of the 2008 presidential election has been both biased and shallow, according to a study released today by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
One party dominates, and there’s way too much partisan fluff.
Numbers reveal all: Democratic candidates were the subject of half of the 1,742 recent print, broadcast and online news stories analyzed in the research. Republicans garnered 31 percent.
“Overall, Democrats received more positive coverage than Republicans (35 percent of stories versus 26 percent), while Republicans received more negative coverage than Democrats (35 percent versus 26 percent),” the study said.
Just as interesting is the fact that, while the public really, really wants to know about the candidates’ positions on the issues and their voting records during public office, that’s not what they’re getting:
The public pines for substance. A separate survey found that 77 percent of the respondents said they wanted more solid information on candidate policies and ideas. The press did not deliver.
Instead, almost two-thirds of the coverage focused on the “game” of the political horse race and candidate “performance.” Accounts of their marriages, health and religion followed in importance in 17 percent of the stories — with just 15 percent examining domestic and foreign policies. A mere 1 percent shed light on candidates’ public records.
“The press and the public are not on the same page when it comes to priorities in campaign coverage,” the study said. “This disparity indicates there is room for the press to calibrate its coverage differently to make it more useful and possibly more interesting to citizens.”
You can read (and weep over) the rest of the report here.
Hat tip: American Thinker