Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Report from The Center for Media and Public Affairs

For our American readers who have a TV without a window to throw it out of, the following report may be of interest.

It comes from the Center for Media and Public Affairs. Some background on the group:

This research was conducted jointly by researchers at George Mason University in Fairfax VA and Chapman University in Orange CA, and coordinated by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA)...


CMPA is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization which is affiliated with George Mason University. It has monitored every presidential election since 1988 using the same methodology, in which trained coders tally mentions of candidates and issues and evaluations of candidates.

For CMPA findings on the 2008 elections, see here.

This research was conducted jointly by researchers at George Mason University in Fairfax VA and Chapman University in Orange CA, and coordinated by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA). It covers all news about Barack Obama’s presidency that appeared on the ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox evening newscasts (the first half hour of Fox News Channel’s “Special Report”) as well as front page stories in the New York Times, during the first 50 days of his term in office (January 20 through March 10). We examined all evaluations made by reporters and non-partisan sources, i.e., those not affiliated with either political party.

Having established their credentials, let’s get on to the meat of their press release, which has lots of interesting nuggets.

There is probably nothing in the findings that you haven’t already intuited. The advantage of having this research, however, is that it crunches the numbers in your hunches:

The media have given President Obama more coverage than George W. Bush and Bill Clinton combined and more positive coverage than either received at this point in their presidencies…[however] the study also finds that Mr. Obama’s positive media image hasn’t precluded heavy criticism of his policies.

Well, I’ll be gosh darned. Who’da thunk it? Somehow I doubt the criticism is coming from those members of the press who claimed he made a thrill run down their leg.

During his first 50 days in office, the three broadcast network evening news shows devoted --

  • 1,021 stories lasting 27 hours 44 minutes to Barack Obama’s presidency.
  • The daily average of seven stories and over 11 minutes of airtime represents about half of the entire newscasts.
  • By contrast, at this point in their presidencies George W. Bush had received 7 hours 42 minutes, and
  • Bill Clinton garnered 15 hours 2 minutes of coverage, for a combined total airtime five hours less than Mr. Obama’s.

Sounds like it’s time for George Soros to fund a television network devoted exclusively to our president. I, for one, can’t wait, but then my house is without any television at all so I’m not concerned.

The breakdowns get interesting:

The networks varied in their attention to the Obama administration:

  • CBS led the coverage with 365 stories and 10 hours 46 minutes of airtime,
  • followed by NBC with 327 stories and 9 hours 38 minutes, and
  • ABC with 329 stories and 7 hours 20 minutes.

    (Thus, CBS has given more coverage to the Obama administration than all three networks combined gave to the first 50 days of George W. Bush’s presidency.)

  • The first half hour of Fox News “Special Report” (which most closely resembles the broadcast network newscasts) devoted 10 hours 24 minutes to the Obama administration, nearly as much airtime as CBS gave him.
  • And the New York Times devoted 115 front-page stories running 3385 column inches, the equivalent of over 28 full pages of text, to the Obama presidency.

See? Your sense that the news was “all Obama, all the time” was not far wrong. Do yourself a favor. Hit the power switch.

Mr. Obama has received not only more press but also better press than his immediate predecessors. On the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news, fifty-eight percent of all evaluations of the president and his policies have been favorable, and 42 percent were unfavorable. CMPA’s previous studies of network news found that George W. Bush received only 33 percent positive evaluations by sources and reporters during the first 50 days of his administration in 2001, and Bill Clinton received only 44 percent positive evaluations during his first ten weeks (70 days) in office in 1993. (As noted above, these figures are based on judgments by reporters and sources not affiliated with either political party.)

You begin to wonder if these overpaid media personalities are in cahoots. The three networks have evaluated Mr. Obama very similarly -

  • 57% positive comments on ABC,
  • 58% positive on CBS, and
  • 61% positive on NBC.

But he fared far better in New York Times stories, where nearly three out of four evaluative comments (73%) by sources and reporters were favorable.

Ah, yes, the same paper that loved Stalin. It’s good to know some things never change.

President Obama didn’t do so well on Fox News. Only one in eight reports were favorable.

The report has examples of network analysis:

Positive Example: “I was blown away by President Obama’s grasp of the subject. How he connected the dots. How he answered the questions without any script.” -- George Stephanopoulos, ABC, March 5 [my emphasis - D. Obama does not veer from his script. Ever. Doing so leaves him stuttering and incoherent. Maybe George was hoping for an appointment of some sort?]

Positive Example: “President Obama has done more in one week to reduce oil dependence and global warming than George Bush did in eight years.” -- Environmentalist, New York Times, Jan. 26

Sure he did. Him and his unicorn - they wiped out global warming, too.
From Fox, they have this:

Negative Example: “The [employment] numbers the Obama administration is throwing around are absolutely inaccurate… a gross exaggeration.” -- Economist, Fox, Feb. 20

These are valuable comparisons. They give you a sense of what the networks like, and what scares them:

While Mr. Obama’s personal qualities and leadership abilities have drawn mostly praise from the mainstream media, his policies have not fared so well. On the broadcast networks fewer than two out of five evaluative soundbites (39%) praised his policies and proposals. ABC’s policy coverage was relatively balanced (48% positive), while source and reporter comments ran over two to one negative at both CBS (32% positive) and NBC (31% positive).

One has to ask: how do the MSM and the CMPA define “leadership abilities”? Do the criteria include some questionable and poorly vetted cabinet appointments, his failure to visit the ice-ravaged areas of Kentucky and Tennessee, his kissy-face games with South American tyrants, his inability to speak a sentence without the aid of his ever-present teleprompters?

Just askin’…
- - - - - - - - -
TV news coverage of the president’s economic policies, which focused mainly on the economic stimulus and the various proposed and enacted industry bailouts, garnered support from only 37% of evaluative soundbites. He fared better on domestic issues other than the economy, where praise for his health care proposals and new stem cell research policy brought balanced coverage overall (50% positive). But only one out of four comments (24%) praised his foreign policy decisions, including the war on terror.

CBS pipes up here:

“The Obama administration is paying too much money to the wrong people.” - Economist, CBS, March 20

Now there’s media understatement for you.

The New York Times policy coverage, while less positive than its personal coverage of Mr. Obama, was about evenly divided between praise and criticism (48% positive). Although similar to the broadcast networks in its treatment of economic policy (40% positive), the Times portrayed other domestic policy areas relatively favorably (60% positive), and its 39% positive coverage of foreign policy domains was still more favorable than the networks’ 24% positive coverage.

Positive Example: Mr. Obama’s actions “reaffirmed American values and are a ray of light after eight long, dark years.” - ACLU executive, New York Times, Jan. 22

Uh…sure. “Reaffirming American values”, that’s our leader. Values about dialogue with despots, rumblings about abandoning Israel, lies about who exactly is going to bear his new tax burdens - the bar gets lower and lower on that one. If “reaffirming American values” means destroying the middle class, then Obama is your leader. He’s FDR without the smart advisors or sense of history. He does share Franklin’s personality traits, however.

By contrast, Fox News coverage was even more negative toward Mr. Obama’s policies than the Times was positive. Only one out of twelve evaluative soundbites (8%) praised any of the president’s policies, including six percent positive judgments on the economic matters, seven percent on other domestic issues, and 17% on foreign affairs.

Negative Example: “It’s easy to spend someone else’s money…. It’s not only irresponsible, it’s unethical.” President, Peterson Foundation, Fox, February 20

Fox: The Reality Network.

Across all outlets, the ten most frequently debated issues were:

1. Economic stimulus -- 287 stories;
2. Industry bailouts - 114 stories;
3. Budget/deficit - 74 stories;
4. Terrorism -- 64 stories;
5. Healthcare - 61 stories;
6. Taxes - 45 stories;
7. Economic conditions - 38 stories;
8. Afghanistan - 31 stories;
9. Defense - 16 stories;
10. Iraq - 12 stories.

Notice that foreign policy didn’t make it to the table, and that the deliberately induced heart attack known as the “Stimulus” led the pack of stories. This list is definitely an MSM-generated group. The vast right wing blogosphere would not have the same order - e.g., taxes would no doubt head the list.

For additional information on their methodology, go here.

For a dose of reality, get out your last pay stub. When Obama finishes with you, all those deductions you’re staring at will be even larger, and what he allows you to keep will be proportionately smaller.

He won. Suck it up.


Anonymous said...

Here's to homes w/o a t.v..

laine said...

When a president introduces policies that are 95% wrongheaded and designed to make the United States over into a socialist backwater, then continuing praise of him personally and "balanced" coverage of his policies is still a sign of the media's complicity in his socialist project, not its objectivity.

Lefties will just glom on to the fact that Fox is over 90% negative in its coverage of Obama policies to "prove" their claim that it alone is biased and the MSM are objective.

PatriotUSA said...

Well, We still have a couple of TV's but we watch alot of movies and I gave our cable company the boot. No real surprises here and why not an ObumaTV channel hosted by George Soros and Nasty Pelosi.Just think of the socialistacrat guests they could have on the show. Maybe call it the
The Comrade Obama Show with special pograms opps, I mean programs, sponsored by GE and Obama

The MSM is so hooked on the kool aid of the far left, it is almost comical if it was not so serious what the mullah obamaham is doing to this country. Rightwing extremists may be our best and only hope. I will be sure to be there for that.

spackle said...

On behalf of TV owners. I own two and I love em. : )

Afonso Henriques said...

It's always good to have a confirmation, righ?

Afonso Henriques said...

Me couldn't live without a TV right now as well.

Tuan Jim said...

I have a couple TVs, but the only thing hooked up to them are [HD-]DVD players and my game consoles ;p

Too many great flicks out there IMO not to have a TV.