A new study by two of journalism’s leading independent institutions has found that complaints from Hillary Clinton and her campaign that the media treated her unfairly are largely unfounded. According to the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, it’s John McCain who should be upset with the coverage.
Boston Globe / Political Intelligence:
While the narratives about [Barack] Obama’s character were 69 percent positive and those about Clinton’s were 67 percent positive, only 43 percent of them were positive for McCain, according to the analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.
“From January 1, just before the Iowa caucuses, through March 9, following the Texas and Ohio contests, the height of the primary season, the dominant personal narratives in the media about Obama and Clinton were almost identical in tone, and were both twice as positive as negative, according to the study, which examined the coverage of the candidates’ character, history, leadership and appeal—apart from the electoral results and the tactics of their campaigns,” according to a release about the study.
“The trajectory of the coverage, however, began to turn against Obama, and did so well before questions surfaced about his pastor Jeremiah Wright. Shortly after Clinton criticized the media for being soft on Obama during a debate, the narrative about him began to turn more skeptical—and indeed became more negative than the coverage of Clinton herself. What’s more, an additional analysis of more general campaign topics suggests the Obama narrative became even more negative later in March, April and May,” the summary continues.