Obama's Positive Press Sets Record; McClain Coverage Negative

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

Obama's Positive Press Sets Record; McClain Coverage Negative


Byline: Jennifer Harper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

It's a record-setting press honeymoon.

President-elect Barack Obama has received the most positive campaign news coverage on the main network news shows in the 20-year history of such studies by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA).

Mr. Obama received 68 percent positive evaluations from the four major networks, according to the study released Friday.

Obama's positive press is the strongest showing CMPA has ever recorded for a presidential candidate since we began monitoring election news in 1988, said Robert Lichter, director of the nonpartisan research group affiliated with George Mason University.

By contrast, his Republican rival almost set the record for hostile press coverage.

Just 33 percent of the stories on Sen. John McCain were positive in nature - the worst showing since former President George H.W. Bush received only 29 percent positive press in 1988, Mr. Lichter said.

The study analyzed 1,197 election stories from Aug. 23 to Nov. 4 on ABC World News Tonight, "NBC Nightly News " CBS Evening New "and the first half-hour of"Fox Special Report."

The findings counter previous CMPA research trends somewhat. On average in the last 20 years, Democratic presidential hopefuls received coverage that was fairly balanced: about half positive and half negative. However, over the same period, Republicans received 34 percent positive and 66 percent negative press.

Mr. Obama also trumped coverage garnered by former presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry. The Massachusetts Democrat received 59 percent favorable press in a similar study conducted during the 2004 election.

NBC was the most Obama-friendly of the four networks, with 73 percent of the coverage being favorable. Fox News was the sole network to mix it up with Mr. Obama, with only 37 percent of the stories on him positive in tone, although that was only slightly less favorable than the 41 percent favorability of the network's McCain coverage. …

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