The Press is Biased Against Who Now?

Barack Obama. At least, more of his media coverage is unfavorable than John McCain’s.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.

Now, Obama has gotten a lot more airtime than John McCain, it just hasn’t been more favorable. In fact, since the end of the primaries, the trend has reversed. Obama used to get better coverage than McCain.

That was a reversal of the trend during the primaries, when the same researchers found that 64% of statements about Obama — new to the political spotlight — were positive, but just 43% of statements about McCain were positive.

Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan’s guests.

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