Bias Alert: O'Reilly Spins Presidential Election Media Study
By: Steve - November 4, 2012 - 10:00am

To begin with O'Reilly says he is throwing out the positive, and says he can do that because he is the host of the show. Are you kidding me, that's ridiculous, because the positive stories show that the media is generally fair in their coverage of Obama and Romney.

Here is a the video:



Now after watching that total right-wing insanity from O'Reilly and Bernie Goldberg look at what the actual study said, the 99% O'Reilly and Goldberg ignored. It's night and day, what they spin out is nothing like what the actual study said.

Here are some key findings from the actual study:

From the conventions to the eve of the final presidential debate, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have both received more negative than positive coverage from the news media, though overall Obama has had an edge.

That advantage for Obama, however, disappeared after the debates began in early October and news coverage shifted in Romney's direction, mirroring the momentum change reflected in many public opinion polls, the study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found.

From August 27 through October 21, 19% of stories about Obama studied in a cross section of mainstream media were clearly favorable in tone while 30% were unfavorable and 51% mixed.

For Romney, 15% of the stories studied were favorable, 38% were unfavorable and 47% were mixed.

Note the numbers, it was only a 4 to 8 percent difference from Obama to Romney, proving that overall the media was not much more favorable to Obama then they were to Romney. So nobody should have any complaints about bias in the media for Obama or against Romney, and yet, O'Reilly and Goldberg did a segment on the Factor making that very claim.

And btw, most of the advantage in coverage for Obama, came in September in the form of highly negative coverage for Romney. This was a period when Romney was losing ground in the polls, he was criticized for his comments about Libya, and a video surfaced in which he effectively dismissed 47% of the American public. So the negative reporting on Romney was valid, because of the stories that came out about Romney at the time.

And all that changed almost overnight after the first debate on October 3. From that day through October 21, the coverage reversed. In all, 20% of stories about Romney were favorable, 30% were unfavorable, and 50% were mixed, a differential of 10 points to the negative.

For Obama, 13% of the stories were favorable, 36% were unfavorable, and 50% were mixed, a differential of 23 points. And these numbers were totally ignored by O'Reilly and Goldberg, they both just acted like these numbers and facts were not part of the study.

Throughout the eight-week period studied, a good deal of the difference in treatment of the two contenders is related to who was perceived to be ahead in the race. When horse-race stories, those focused on strategy, tactics and the polls-are taken out of the analysis, and one looks at those framed around the candidates' policy ideas, biographies and records, the distinctions in the tone of media coverage between the two nominees vanished.

With horse-race stories removed, 15% of campaign stories about Obama were positive, 32% were negative and 53% were mixed. For Romney it was 14% positive, 32% negative and 55% mixed.

Look at those numbers, it's a virtual tie, and yet, O'Reilly and Goldberg still argued that Romney was not given fair treatment by the media. When the actual study they cited said no such thing, in fact, it said the opposite, that they media has been equal and fair to both Obama and Romney.

There have been three distinct periods in the coverage of Obama and Romney over the eight weeks studied, one of which favored Obama, the second of which favored Romney and a third that was closer with an advantage for the president.

From the conventions until the first debate, a period of improving polls for Obama, Romney suffered his period of the most negative coverage; just 4% of stories about him were positive while 52% were negative.

Coverage of Obama during this period was fairly evenly split (20% positive vs. 24% negative). That narrative reversed sharply with the first debate. For the next two weeks, Romney saw the mixed treatment (23% positive vs. 23% negative) while Obama was caught in the critical loop, with 12% positive and 37% negative.

After the second debate, coverage returned to its more general pattern, with a slight edge for Obama.

The study also reveals the degree to which the two cable channels that have built themselves around ideological programming, MSNBC and Fox, stand out from other mainstream media outlets. And MSNBC stands out the most.

On that channel, 71% of the segments studied about Romney were negative in nature, compared with just 3% that were positive, a ratio of roughly 23-to-1.

On Fox, 46% of the segments about Obama were negative, compared with 6% that were positive-a ratio of about 8-to-1 negative. These made them unusual among channels or outlets that identified themselves as news organizations.

Notice that neither O'Reilly or Goldberg said a word about those numbers, because it shows the bias from Fox against Obama.

The study also found a difference between the three network evening newscasts and the morning shows. Obama fared better in the evening, Romney in the morning.

These are among the findings of the content analysis of 2,457 stories from 49 outlets from August 27, the week of the Republican convention, through October 21, five days after the second presidential debate.

For mainstream media, the study included the three broadcast networks, the three major cable news networks, the 12 most popular news websites, 11 newspaper front pages and news programming from PBS and NPR along with radio headlines from ABC and CBS news services.

From these outlets, PEJ researchers watched, listened or read every story in the sample and counted each assertion for whether it was positive in nature about a candidate, negative in nature or neutral.

For a story to be deemed to have a distinct tone, positive or negative assertions had to outnumber the other by a factor of three to two. Any story in which that was not case was coded as mixed.

And this was also ignored by O'Reilly and Goldberg: The two candidates received similar amounts of coverage. Overall Obama was a significant figure in 69% of the stories studied during the eight weeks, while Romney was a significant figure in 61%.

The difference is explained almost entirely by coverage of the Obama presidency. Roughly 9% of all stories studied involved Obama functioning as president outside the realm of the campaign.

Once again, neither O'Reilly or Goldberg mentioned these numbers from the study they reported on, in fact, they pretty much ignored 99% of what they study actually said, to spin out a story using the cherry picked parts of the study they only wanted you to see.

Now here are some more key findings from the study, that says the exact opposite of what O'Reilly and Goldberg claimed, that the media was biased and unfair to Romney.

From the conventions to the eve of the final presidential debate, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have both received more negative than positive coverage from the news media, though overall Obama has had an edge.

That advantage for Obama, however, disappeared after the debates began in early October and news coverage shifted in Romney's direction, mirroring the momentum change reflected in many public opinion polls, the study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found.

From August 27 through October 21, 19% of stories about Obama studied in a cross section of mainstream media were clearly favorable in tone while 30% were unfavorable and 51% mixed.

For Romney, 15% of the stories studied were favorable, 38% were unfavorable and 47% were mixed.

Note the numbers, it was only a 4 to 8 percent difference from Obama to Romney, proving that overall the media was not much more favorable to Obama then they were to Romney. So nobody should have any complaints about bias in the media for Obama or against Romney, and yet, O'Reilly and Goldberg did a segment on the Factor making that very claim.

And btw, most of the advantage in coverage for Obama, came in September in the form of highly negative coverage for Romney. This was a period when Romney was losing ground in the polls, he was criticized for his comments about Libya, and a video surfaced in which he effectively dismissed 47% of the American public. So the negative reporting on Romney was valid, because of the stories that came out about Romney at the time.

And all that changed almost overnight after the first debate on October 3. From that day through October 21, the coverage reversed. In all, 20% of stories about Romney were favorable, 30% were unfavorable, and 50% were mixed, a differential of 10 points to the negative.

For Obama, 13% of the stories were favorable, 36% were unfavorable, and 50% were mixed, a differential of 23 points. And these numbers were totally ignored by O'Reilly and Goldberg, they both just acted like these numbers and facts were not part of the study.

Throughout the eight-week period studied, a good deal of the difference in treatment of the two contenders is related to who was perceived to be ahead in the race. When horse-race stories, those focused on strategy, tactics and the polls-are taken out of the analysis, and one looks at those framed around the candidates' policy ideas, biographies and records, the distinctions in the tone of media coverage between the two nominees vanished.

With horse-race stories removed, 15% of campaign stories about Obama were positive, 32% were negative and 53% were mixed. For Romney it was 14% positive, 32% negative and 55% mixed.

Look at those numbers, it's a virtual tie, and yet, O'Reilly and Goldberg still argued that Romney was not given fair treatment by the media. When the actual study they cited said no such thing, in fact, it said the opposite, that they media has been equal and fair to both Obama and Romney.

There have been three distinct periods in the coverage of Obama and Romney over the eight weeks studied, one of which favored Obama, the second of which favored Romney and a third that was closer with an advantage for the president.

From the conventions until the first debate, a period of improving polls for Obama, Romney suffered his period of the most negative coverage; just 4% of stories about him were positive while 52% were negative.

Coverage of Obama during this period was fairly evenly split (20% positive vs. 24% negative). That narrative reversed sharply with the first debate. For the next two weeks, Romney saw the mixed treatment (23% positive vs. 23% negative) while Obama was caught in the critical loop, with 12% positive and 37% negative.

After the second debate, coverage returned to its more general pattern, with a slight edge for Obama.

The study also reveals the degree to which the two cable channels that have built themselves around ideological programming, MSNBC and Fox, stand out from other mainstream media outlets. And MSNBC stands out the most.

On that channel, 71% of the segments studied about Romney were negative in nature, compared with just 3% that were positive, a ratio of roughly 23-to-1.

On Fox, 46% of the segments about Obama were negative, compared with 6% that were positive-a ratio of about 8-to-1 negative. These made them unusual among channels or outlets that identified themselves as news organizations.

Notice that neither O'Reilly or Goldberg said a word about those numbers, because it shows the bias from Fox against Obama.

The study also found a difference between the three network evening newscasts and the morning shows. Obama fared better in the evening, Romney in the morning.

These are among the findings of the content analysis of 2,457 stories from 49 outlets from August 27, the week of the Republican convention, through October 21, five days after the second presidential debate.

For mainstream media, the study included the three broadcast networks, the three major cable news networks, the 12 most popular news websites, 11 newspaper front pages and news programming from PBS and NPR along with radio headlines from ABC and CBS news services.

From these outlets, PEJ researchers watched, listened or read every story in the sample and counted each assertion for whether it was positive in nature about a candidate, negative in nature or neutral.

For a story to be deemed to have a distinct tone, positive or negative assertions had to outnumber the other by a factor of three to two. Any story in which that was not case was coded as mixed.

And this was also ignored by O'Reilly and Goldberg: The two candidates received similar amounts of coverage. Overall Obama was a significant figure in 69% of the stories studied during the eight weeks, while Romney was a significant figure in 61%.

The difference is explained almost entirely by coverage of the Obama presidency. Roughly 9% of all stories studied involved Obama functioning as president outside the realm of the campaign.

Once again, neither O'Reilly or Goldberg mentioned these numbers from the study they reported on, in fact, they pretty much ignored 99% of what they study actually said, to spin out a story using the cherry picked parts of the study they only wanted you to see.

Now here is another key finding from the study, that says the exact opposite of what O'Reilly and Goldberg claimed, that the media was biased and unfair to Romney.

Overall, both candidates received more negative stories than positive ones. But for the full eight weeks studied, the gap was about half as big for Obama (11 points) as it was for Romney (23 points).

That difference disappears if horse-race coverage-stories focused on tactics, strategy and the question of who was winning-are removed from the equation. Then, negative stories about Obama outnumbered positive by 17 points and for Romney by 18 points.

Even then, however, there were differences in the press portrayal depending on the specific focus of the mainstream news coverage. In general, Romney received somewhat more advantage, or at least less negative news coverage relative to Obama, on fundraising and personal topics.

Obama enjoyed some edge, if one looks at the differential between positive and negative, on policy. Beyond that, the differences were relatively minor.

Now think about this, only a biased Republican (who supports Romney) could possibly argue that the vast majority of media coverage was biased against Romney, which is exactly what O'Reilly and Goldberg argued. Then use a media study to make their point, when the study disagrees with the point they are making.

It's not only bias from O'Reilly and Goldberg, it's dishonest and biased partisan journalism. And here is another big part of the study O'Reilly and Goldberg totally ignored, the part about the bias at Fox against Obama.

On Fox, 28% of the stories about Romney were positive during the eight weeks studied, compared to 12% negative, a difference of 16 percentage points.

For Obama on Fox, by contrast, 6% of the stories studied were positive while 46% were negative, a difference of 40 points.

One factor in this difference is that Romney received more positive than negative coverage for horse race on Fox, something that was not true in either the media generally or in any specific sectors studied. More than a third (34%) of the horse-race coverage involving Romney on Fox was positive compared to 15% that was negative, a 2-to-1 difference.

For Obama, by contrast, 11% of the horse-race stories during these eight weeks were positive, while 46% were negative.

Fox aired more negative stories about Obama than positive on every aspect of campaign coverage. When it came to policy, 6% of the stories on Fox about Obama were positive and 51% were negative.

Fox also focused much more on Obama than on Romney. The Democratic Party nominee was a significant figure in 74% of Fox campaign stories compared with 49% for Romney.

That reflects another difference from the channel's coverage four years ago, when both candidates received more similar levels of coverage. Obama was a significant presence in 66% of Fox News' stories, compared for 59% for McCain.

This was a detailed 8 week study with about 20 pages of findings, that basically said Obama had slightly more positive stories than negative compared to Romney.

Which means that overall the media did a good job of reporting on both men, and yet, O'Reilly and Goldberg did an entire segment cherry picking and twisting the findings of the study to make a ridiculous claim that the media took it easy on Obama and slammed Romney.

I say to anyone, go read the study yourself, they watch the video of O'Reilly and Goldberg, and you will see how much they put their spin on the study, and how biased they are for Romney.

And notice that O'Reilly did not have a guest on from PEW to discuss the study, instead he had the known partisan right-wing hack Bernie Goldberg on to agree with him, and to cherry pick and spin out right-wing lies about the study.



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