Accuracy in Media

After the huge Democrat losses in the November elections, and that includes statewide races as well, there hasn’t been a lot for liberals to cheer about with the exception of what they perceive as big lame-duck session victories. So it should come as no surprise that a liberal MSNBC anchor jumped all over a study that purports that there is a conservative media bias.

The study that got Olbermann all atwittter on Twitter was conducted by AOL’s Relegence team for opinion editor John Merline.

What did the team find?  According to Merline the coverage devoted to certain Republicans and conservatives far outstripped that of Democrats or liberals.
Palin vs. Biden

O'Donnell vs. Greene

Beck vs. Olbermann

Maybe one could make a case that Palin and Biden should be compared in news coverage because they were the vice presidential candidates in 2008 but a fairer comparison would have been Obama, whom Palin may challenge in 2012.  Also, since Biden is prone to frequent gaffes the White House has tried to manage his public appearances to minimize any potential damage, whereas Palin has written two books, campaigned heavily for Tea Party candidates and launched her own reality television show.  It would have been a shock if she hadn’t exceeded Biden in media coverage based on her many public appearances.

The comparison of O’Donnell to Alvin Greene, based on Merline’s opinion that both were unqualified kooky candidates, is just bias pure and simple.  While O’Donnell wasn’t very polished she doesn’t have as questionable a past as Greene who was indicted on showing pornography to an 18-year old college female student. O’Donnell was more quirky while Greene was kooky.

In his other example of Beck versus Olbermann Merline is again comparing apples and oranges.  Beck doesn’t go head to head against Olbermann on television and he has a daily radio show to boot which magnifies his exposure compared to Olbermann, whose show may be number one on MSNBC but is only the eleventh highest rated cable news program.

Merline also cited a Pew Research study of midterm election coverage but once again he is off base.

The Pew study cited that Tea Party candidates snagged four of the top ten slots in midterm election coverage but that was due to an increased focus on the Tea Party after some stunning primary victories this year and wasn’t an indication of a new-found conservative bias.  Also even though O’Donnell finished second in media coverage she had less than half of the total stories as Barack Obama, and if you add up the number of stories from the top ten finishers excluding Independent Charlie Crist, Tea Party candidates accounted for just 35% of the total.

# of Stories
Barack
Obama*
343
Christine
ODonnell
160
Meg
Whitman
90
Rand
Paul
88
Joe
Sestak
85
Sharron
Angle
80
Harry
Reid
74
Charlie
Crist
67
Blanche
Lincoln
52
Carl
Paladino
52
Jerry
Brown
49
Check All Rows
Check All Columns

Merline and Olbermann should know better.  Just because one person  receives more coverage doesn’t mean that the media is necessarily biased towards that individual.  What was left out in the AOL study was the ratio of favorable to unfavorable stories about the various persons they cited.  I would bet that if that was factored in the results would be quite different as Palin for one is a favorite target of the media and not in a positive sense whereas the liberals in the media prefer Keith Olbermann over Glenn Beck any day of the week.

Next time Olbermann should look before he leaps into a story.





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