Researcher Previously Hailed by Rightwingers Counters 'Conspiracy Theorists' Who Cite 'Liberal Media'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2008, 5:36pm PT  

Had this been a study showing liberal bias in the media, it would have been all over the place by now. But as the study offers evidence that it's McCain, not Obama, who has been given an edge by network media reporting since the start of the general election campaign, it seems we better help "catapult the propaganda" a bit.

Below is the beginning of David Knowles' coverage of the LA Times coverage of a new study from George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs. The new study offers empirical evidence underscoring what most folks who honestly study the corporate media already know: Democrats get a far tougher time than do Republicans in the corporate mainstream media.

For those self-proclaimed "conservatives" who continue to buy into the nonsense of the "liberal media" canard (no matter the dearth of actual, hard, real-world evidence to substantiate it) please note this study does not come from one of those 'liberal elitist think-tanks.' Rather, it was led by a man hailed by "conservative" propagandists, such as Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, for his previous studies on media bias. We have a feeling those same "conservatives" may accidentally not notice his latest study.

Take a look...

Media Biased Against Obama

Now there's a headline sure to make Rush Limbaugh's face a little redder. The claim comes to us from George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs, which has studied network newscasts for 20 years running. After analyzing the nightly ebb and flow of our current race, the center's researchers see a pattern (Via the Los Angeles Times):

...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.

Just how does one measure "tougher," you ask?

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks were 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.

Yes, it seems as though the "Big Three" (cable TV and print journalism were not looked at in the study) are so sensitive to the accusation of liberal bias that they're going out of their way to knock the Illinois senator.

McCain also has been the recipient of negative commentary, but not nearly to the same degree:

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.

While it is true that Obama gets more coverage than McCain, that coverage itself --- at least from the 3 major network --- tends to show a conservative bias. Here's how Robert Lichter, the director of The Center for Media and Public Affairs, put it:

"This information should blow away this silly assumption that more coverage is always better coverage,"

And as to the study's author, Jaimes Rainey at LA Times notes "Robert Lichter...has won conservative hearts with several of his previous studies," before he goes on to detail a few inconvenient truths for the wingnut "conspiracy theorists":

It might be tempting to discount the latest findings by Lichter's researchers. But this guy is anything but a liberal toady.

In 2006, conservative cable showmen Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly had Lichter, a onetime Fox News contributor, on their programs. They heralded his findings in the congressional midterm election: that the networks were giving far more positive coverage to the Democrats.

More proof of the liberal domination of the media, Beck and O'Reilly declared.

Now the same researchers have found something less palatable to those conspiracy theorists.
...
There's plenty of room for questioning the networks' performance and watching closely for symptoms of Obamamania.

But could we at least remain focused on what ABC, NBC and CBS actually put on the air, rather than illusions that their critics create to puff themselves up?

Anyone wanna bet that somehow O'Reilly and Beck's bookers manage to "forget" to call Lichter for an interview this time around?