Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Left Masthead
October 22, 2016
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Ear to the Ground
Print this item

Study: Media Goes Negative on McCain

Posted on Oct 23, 2008
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

A study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism has found that media coverage of Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been over three times as negative as coverage of his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, since the two parties held their conventions.

The Washington Post:

Obama’s coverage since the conventions represents a fall to earth from the early primaries of 2008, when the project found that, horse-race stories aside, positive narratives about Obama were twice as frequent as negative ones, 69 percent to 31 percent.

The Wall Street meltdown appears to have been a turning point for both candidates. Thirty-four percent of the stories about Obama’s reaction to the crisis were positive, while 18 percent were negative. McCain’s coverage, though, went into a free fall after he initially declared that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” By the following week, more than half the stories about McCain were negative and only 11 percent positive, just as Obama’s coverage was turning positive by a margin of more than 5 to 1.

Read more

More Below the Ad


Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By Independent minded, October 24, 2008 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is outspending mccain by over 3 to 1. He broke his promise when the two agreed on spending rules and procedures.

Is there any wonder why the coverage is slanted? Who is spending more with media? Do you think that might affect the coverage-the questions asked-not asked-the focus?

There is a serious inequity going on here and it does the American people a huge disservice.

How is it that Palin’s experience gets questioned but Obama gets a pass? Character issues? Completely ignored. Biden’s blunders? Pass. Are you serious? CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, the NY Times-you should all be ashamed.  Enjoy the love fest guys. America -wake up-you are being manipulated.

Report this

By JanetG, October 24, 2008 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

Toxic Words=Toxic Deeds” 
That many McCain supporters embrace such words and deeds is evidence of a schizophrenic campaign, and of a man ill at ease with having compromised some essential part of himself. 
I have no idea whether he will win or not.I do know there is something to be said for being true to yourself,win,or lose. 
The question McCain faces is this: 
Would he rather run a losing campaign of which he can be proud of,or a winning campaign of which he cannnot? 
An Honorable man wouldn’t need to think twice. 
Colin Powell’s endorsement should solidify the fact that Barack Obama is The man of Integrity,Honesty,Experience and the Best Choice to be Americas next President!

Report this

By bloisek, October 24, 2008 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Negative begets Negative

Report this

By AmiBlue, October 24, 2008 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

McCain has been asking for it.  McCain is the one who has shut the press out of his campaign; he’s the one who has been painting the press as *liberal* so he can rally the ideologues to his cause. He’s the one who has started flame wars with the press. 

He wears the negative coverage as a badge of honor for all the right wingnuts to see.  And it’s the only *honor* he has left.

Report this
Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, October 24, 2008 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

Why does any American get worked up about being called ‘Unamerican’ by the Neo Cons. Frankly since the term is Relative, I would wear their comdemnation with pride!
Heretic - Ya Betcha!When Your doctrine places you above all others, and thinks and acts as though God is Your Bitch. Please do call me a ‘Heretic’ it could just save my soul!
Anti American- when you reject the inscription on Lady Liberty, When you support a Feudalistic Economic system, When You claim only white Chrisitians constitute Real americans…You Bet I’m ‘Anti American’ in Your mind!
Please the Media has not brought up ANY of Mccains affilations which have had a devastating effect on our Economy, our Reputation and our Future.
Phil & Wendy Gramm
Rick Davis
The anti Communist Group donations
McCain of ‘00 was a scam, and he has worked to prove it for the last few years…Mac has Revealed the Real John McCain from Keating to the anthrax allegation- John Mccain has been playing a Con Game on theAmerican People for Decades!
Why is it th emedia give Voice /credence to BS allegations like Ayers and yet remains silent in regards to these REAL UnAmerican Activiites BY Mac and his cast of Corrupt Characters!

Report this

By jackpine savage, October 24, 2008 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

He must be furious that his base deserted him.

Report this

By wildflower, October 23, 2008 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

But if a candidate is negative and his/her ideas are unrealistic, what else is there?

Report this

By purplewolf, October 23, 2008 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

When you have nothing to offer there is no place else to go but to slam your opponents with every negative thing you can come up with. That is why John and Sarah are slinging all this “CRAP” fast and furious. They have no new ideas. It is time to close the lid(coffin) on their campaign. So much for the clean campaign John claimed he was going to run.

By the way. Joe the plumber isn’t. He is a proven liar, his name isn’t really Joe, he is not a licensed plumber, he makes about 40K a year and his boss’s business is worth more like 100K and not 250K a year income and he hasn’t paid his taxes since Jan.2007. And yet the McCain campaign keeps touting this outed phony as an every day American? How desperate is that?

The only way these people would get the prize of the white house is by stealing another run at the white house just like the last 2 times. And there has been plenty of talk about the Repubs doing just that. They know they cannot win it honestly and on their merits.

Report this

By dasm, October 23, 2008 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

McCain loses any credibility each time he whines about media negativity—Mcain has been totally negative, nasty, hateful, & violence-condoning for the last few weeks. He & Palin are the most negative & hateful politicians ever put on stage. Thedy want Americans to hate each other! They have double-handedly ressurected the Repub hate & disrespect campaign—what a sad, disgusting group of people!

Report this

By Margaret Currey, October 23, 2008 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You would have to not watch any TV or go on the Internet not to know that McCain has gone negative for a long time, and all is fair in politics, but when you run your compaign on negative what you get back from the media is negative.

People used to think that McCain was an honerable guy as in different than Bush, but after his pick of Sarah Palin he was just going to lose the election.

Report this

By dasm, October 23, 2008 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course McCain’s coverage is mostly negative—his campaign has gone almost 100% negative, so what else is there to report? I’m so sick of news stations trying to find positive McCain stories to balance out Obama stories—first, they never cared about it when Obama was being attacked 24/7, and really, if all McCain’s ads, etc. are heckishly negative, shouldn’t that be reported??  It’s so two-faced for anyone to say, well, McCain’s ads are almost all hateful & negative, but please report on them in a positive manner!  Garbage.

Report this

By TheRealFish, October 23, 2008 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment


“That Other One” (McCain) and his wonderful running mate are all sleaze, all the time. If a “fair” journalist only does what they ought to be doing (not something we’re very used to in the MSM), and report what they see then, of course, they will be reporting negative stuff.

And that ratio they give is pretty much in the ballpark of “fair”—since Obama is running about a 50/50 mix of positive “message” ads and critical (read that: negative) ones, compared to McCain’s 100%.

And with the MSM’s fanatical focus on polls, that would likewise lead to quite a bit of negative reporting on McCain/Palin, since the polls are starting to clearly break Obama/Biden’s way.

All together now: “Duh!!!” Or, just maybe, we might pluck those teeny, tiny violins and go “Wa-a-a-ah!”

Report this

By Pacrat, October 23, 2008 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

McCain has run the dirtiest campaign for the presidency in US history. Is this the man who told us thousands of times how honorable he is?

Honorable, shmonorable - enjoy your retirement in Arizona Senator. Thanks for making this summer interesting!

Report this
PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, October 23, 2008 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

What can you say?

John McCain is a negative kind of guy.

Report this

By knute, October 23, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First I’m curious who funds / drives this “Project for Excellance in Journalism”. But, assuming they aren’t another cleverly named partisan GOP platform, like the Heritage foundation and so many others. Could the reason the coverage is more negative possibly be because McCain has offered nothing in the way of a positive direction while he tries to champion himself the reformer of DC. Its obvious to everyone with the capacity to think that we are in a real mess and the republicans have had 8 years to put us there and McCain has staunchly paraded in line with the rest of his party supporting this administration’s every step in regards to the economy as well as our illegal war in Iraq. Perhaps theres no positive spin available to someone like that. They can spend $150k on Palin’s look but its a waste of money whenever she opens her mouth. McCain can talk about reform, but he’s in the wrong party to sell that dog. The republican party is hardly more then a criminal enterprise that has worked with Cheney/bush at the helm to dismantle our goverment to the point all its capable of serving is corporate interests. I would call that treason, as I’m quite sure our founding fathers would have as well. Our military is there solely to protect our corporate interests. Theres no money left, while waging wars, to spend on any social needs like education, healthcare, etc…Its called facism, brought to you by the republican party. The only chance in hell they have is a mass rigging of this election on a much larger scale. We are just beginning to see the evidence of that in the early voting in some states. The republican party has been at this since it worked famously for them in 2000. The supreme court is further packed in their favor this time around, the media is still asleep at the wheel, the federal attorneys that agreed to cooperate with Rove’s plans are out there bringing lawsuits to restrict as many potential dem. leaning voters as they can. Its called election fraud, and the republican party has been committing this crime all thru the country. Remember, we only heard about the eight attorneys who wouldn’t cooperate.

Report this

By Louise, October 23, 2008 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

“... media coverage of Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been over three times as negative than coverage of his Democratic rival Barack Obama ...”

Well of course! My gosh did McCain/Pain think their overtly negative behavior would bring out the positive?

If so, that’s just one more reason to NOT vote for them. They are completely out of touch with human nature. Not to mention physics.

Report this
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network

Like Truthdig on Facebook