Bias?

by Dan Ward

It’s routinely said that there is a left-leaning bias in the news media.  While there appears to be decades of anecdotal evidence supporting this, an ongoing study of news coverage of the 2012 presidential campaign could suggest otherwise.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, the tone of news coverage so far this year is overwhelmingly negative when it comes to President Obama, while coverage of Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum appears to be more balanced.

The Campaign 2012 study tracks the tone and volume of news coverage about the candidates, combining “human coding with the power of algorithmic analysis” of more than 11,000 new websites around the United States.

According to Pew’s analysis, coverage of President Obama has been trended about 10 percent positive and 30 to 40 percent negative over the last eight months.  Positive coverage of Mitt Romney during that time has averaged between 20 and 30 percent, with negative coverage spiking to 40 percent only in the last 30 days.  Positive coverage for Mr. Santorum has actually exceeded negative coverage over the last two months, according to Pew.

So, does this one study refute the “liberal media” label, or does it only fuel more debate?

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