Monday, September 13, 2004

Further Proof Of Media Bias

The American Enterprise Institute, a research organization in Washington, has studied news headlines and reports from January 1991 to May 2004, looking to see how economic news was reported depending on the political party of the president. The results aren't all that surprising.

They found that President Clinton received better headlines than the two Republican presidents. Even after adjusting the data to compensate for differences in economic performance under the three presidents, the Republicans received 20 to 30 percent fewer positive headlines, on average, for the same type of news.

For instance, they said, the unemployment rate in the Clinton administration averaged 5.2 percent, only three-tenths of a percentage point less than it has under George W. Bush. But while 44 percent of Mr. Clinton's headlines on unemployment were positive, only 23 percent of President Bush's headlines on the subject have been upbeat.

The study scanned nearly 400 newspapers and Associated Press reports, and picked out headlines about gross domestic product growth, unemployment, retail sales and orders of durable goods. They classified the headlines' depiction of the economy as either positive, negative, neutral or mixed.

They found that as a group, the nation's 10 largest newspapers and The Associated Press were even more skewed. According to the researchers, this group gave Republican administrations 20 to 40 percent fewer positive headlines than those given to Mr. Clinton, on average. Among the top 10 newspapers, they said that all except The Houston Chronicle had a pro-Democratic leaning.

Interestingly, this story was reported on by one of the most liberal newspapers in the country, The New York Times. The same NY Times that's one of those aforementioned top 10 newspapers. Interesting that they don't mention that little nugget in the story.