Wonder what you would find if you frisked FOX News’ political coverage?
Answer: Study shows it’s fair and balanced.
Hmm… Who would of thought? After all, that is the FOX News Channel’s slogan. The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) and Robert Lichter from Forbes enlightens us:
The CMPA study compares ABC, CBS (CBS - news - people ) and NBC evening news shows and the first half hour of Fox News Channel’s Special Report, which most closely resembles its broadcast news counterparts. (CNN and MSNBC have no comparable flagship evening news show; more on Fox’s polarizing talk shows momentarily.)
So how could Fox have both the most balanced and the most anti-Obama coverage? Simple. It’s because the other networks were all so pro-Obama. CMPA analyzed every soundbite by reporters and nonpartisan sources (excluding representative of the political parties) that evaluated the candidates and their policies. On the three broadcast networks combined, evaluations of Obama were 68% positive and 32% negative, compared to the only 36% positive and 64% negative evaluations of his GOP opponent John McCain.
In fact, Obama received the most favorable coverage CMPA has ever recorded for any presidential candidate since we began tracking election news coverage in 1988. The totals were very similar–within a few percentage points–at all three networks. (These figures exclude comments on the candidates’ prospects in the campaign horse race, which obviously favored Obama.)
Meanwhile, Fox’s Special Reportwas dramatically tougher on Obama, with only 36% favorable vs. 64% unfavorable evaluations during the same time period. But McCain didn’t fare much better, garnering only 40% favorable comments vs. 60% negative ones. So the broadcast networks gave good marks to one candidate and bad marks to another, while Fox was tough on both–and most balanced overall.
Interesting, huh? But that was during the 2008 election! Lets look at the stats when Barack Obama became president:
It turns out that Fox’s coverage of President Obama has been even more negative than its coverage of candidate Obama: From Inauguration Day to Oct. 10, only 27% of Special Report‘s comments on the president were favorable. That sounds like proof positive of Fox’s negative intentions. But if Fox hasn’t lost its anti-Obama edge, it has certainly lost its distinctiveness. During the same period only 35% of the evaluations on ABC, CBS, and NBC were positive. So from the administration’s point of view, Fox’s coverage has gone from being the worst of all to merely the worst among equals.
Ouch… That’s got to suck for all you liberals out there that just LOVE to attack FOX News. Granted, you will still just brush these studies off your shoulder, ignore the facts, and continue to do what you do best: demonize. But what about past presidential administrations (especially Bush’s)? Here you go:
Moreover, distressing as it may seem to a president used to unusually friendly coverage, this negativity is surprisingly normal. CMPA’s earlier studies found that the broadcast networks gave almost identically negative coverage to George W. Bush (37% positive), Bill Clinton (34% positive) and Ronald Reagan (37% positive) during their first seven months in office.
FOX News Channel: Fair & Balanced? It appears so. Sorry liberals!
Side-Note: Remember, this doesn’t include FNC’s (right-leaning) opinion news shows such as Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, etc. Sorry, I had to point that out AGAIN, because I know some of you will be tempted to leave a comment bringing up those programs while attempting to make an argument.