A new Pew study reports that McCain’s media coverage has been overwhelmingly negative: 60% negative to 14% positive. Obama’s, of course, has been positive: 36% positive, 29% negative.
But, not to worry:
So do these numbers reveal a pro-Obama bias? Not necessarily, according to the study’s authors.
I’m reassured! Okay, they actually do make an argument:
Rather, they say, the statistics “do offer a strong suggestion that winning in politics begat winning coverage, thanks in part to the relentless tendency of the press to frame its coverage of national elections as running narratives about the relative position of the candidates in the polls and internal tactical maneuvering to alter those positions.”
While McCain left St. Paul, Minn., with mostly positive coverage, Obama started out the same period with mostly negative press. But as things turned in the polls, and especially in articles about detailing the electoral map, Obama’s coverage became more favorable.
But this is crap. I do remember a brief period in which the media was being kind to McCain, but it ended before the polls started to turn. Obama decided to be “more aggressive” and accuse McCain of rampant dishonesty, and the media went along with it despite the opposite being true. The most memorable incident from that period was when the Washington Post sided with Obama’s spin over its own reporting.
In fact, I would say there was a causal relation between the polls and the coverage, but going the other way. At the GOP Convention, when McCain got to speak to the American people without being filtered and distorted by the media, he went up in the polls. The media was furious. Doesn’t America know that Obama is supposed to win? How dare McCain be up in the polls?! They were determined to fix the problem and they did.