Just like so many reports before it, a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy — found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.
Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which "produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic candidates than on Republicans."
The most flagrant bias, however, was found in newspapers. In reviewing front-page coverage in 11 newspapers, the study found the tone positive in nearly six times as many stories about Democrats as it was negative.
CNN Lived up to it's reputation as a liberal bastion, but Fox News, which Democrats portray as being a 'conservative' network, was found to be not the most favorable toward Republicans. That honor, surprisingly, went to MSNBC, though the survey found Fox to be the most negative toward Democratic candidates, reporting that,
CNN was the most hostile toward Republicans, MSNBC, surprisingly, the most positive. MSNBC was also the most favorable toward Democrats (47.2%), Fox (36.8%) the most critical.
Yet Fox, despite the Democratic claims of being 'conservative', only ran negative stories toward Democrats 36.8 percent of the time. That means that Democrats were portrayed favorably on Fox over 60 percent of the time. If Fox is 'conservative', what does that make the rest of the mainstream media, since they clearly are far more positive toward Democrats than Fox?
All of this should be of no surprise to anyone who watches media coverage of the major parties in the United States. What will be a surprise is if any of the major news outlets decides to cover this to correct the problem. Since the media in recent months has sat on stories about the good economy and the improvements in Iraq, I won't hold my breath.