Winning the Media Campaign 2012 Pew Research Center

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Winning the Media Campaign 2012, From the conventions to the eve of the final presidential debate Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have. both received more negative than positive coverage from the news media though overall Obama has. had an edge according to a new study, That advantage for Obama however disappeared after the debates began in early October and news. coverage shifted in Romney s direction mirroring the momentum change reflected in many public. opinion polls the study by the Pew Research Center s. Project for Excellence in Journalism found Tone of Coverage Reverses. After First Debate, Overall from August 27 through October 21 19 of stories Percent of stories with tone. about Obama studied in a cross section of mainstream Obama Romney. media were clearly favorable in tone while 30 were Pre First Debate. unfavorable and 51 mixed This is a differential of 11 Aug 27 Oct 3. Positive 22 11, percentage points between unfavorable and favorable Mixed 51 46. stories Negative 27 44,Post First Debate, For Romney 15 of the stories studied were favorable Oct 4 21.
38 were unfavorable and 47 were mixed a differential Positive 13 20. toward negative stories of 23 points Mixed 51 50,Negative 36 30. Most of the advantage in coverage for Obama however Date Range August 27 October 21 2012. came in September in the form of highly negative coverage PEW RESEARCH CENTER S PROJECT FOR. EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM, for Romney This was a period when the GOP nominee was. losing ground in the polls he was criticized for his comments about Libya and a video surfaced in which. he effectively dismissed 47 of the American public. All that changed almost overnight after the first debate on October 3 From that day through October. 21 the coverage in effect reversed In all 20 of stories about Romney were favorable 30 were. unfavorable and 50 were mixed a differential of 10 points to the negative For Obama 13 of. stories were favorable 36 were unfavorable and 50 were mixed a differential of 23 points. 2 www journalism org,Winning the Media Campaign 2012. Tone of Candidate Campaign Coverage Overall,Percent of stories with tone. Obama Romney,Positive Negative Mixed,Date Range August 27 October 21 2012.
PEW RESEARCH CENTER S PROJECT FOR EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM. Throughout the eight week period studied a good deal of the difference in treatment of the two. contenders is related to who was perceived to be ahead in the race When horse race stories those. focused on strategy tactics and the polls are taken out of the analysis and one looks at those framed. around the candidates policy ideas biographies and records the distinctions in the tone of media. coverage between the two nominees vanish, Horse Race v Non Horse With horse race stories removed 15 of campaign stories. Race Coverage about Obama were positive 32 were negative and 53 were. Percent of stories with tone, mixed For Romney it was 14 positive 32 negative and 55. Obama Romney mixed,Campaign Stories, Positive 28 15 The portrayal of the two candidates this year in the mainstream. Mixed 45 39 press stands in marked contrast to what the Project found in. Negative 29 45 2008 when then Senator Barack Obama was running against. Non Horserace Senator John McCain In that race Obama s coverage was. Campaign Stories,Positive 15 14, almost twice as positive as it has been this year 36 vs 19. Mixed 53 55 and more positive than negative overall 36 positive vs 29. Negative 32 32 negative that year McCain s coverage four years ago by. Date Range August 27 October 21 2012, contrast was much more negative than Romney s this year In.
PEW RESEARCH CENTER S PROJECT FOR, EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM 2008 nearly six in 10 stories about McCain were clearly. negative in nature 57 while only 14 were positive, One other distinction between 2008 and 2012 is how much the narrative has changed with events. There have been three distinct periods in the coverage of Obama and Romney over the eight weeks. 3 www journalism org,Winning the Media Campaign 2012. studied one of which favored Obama the second of which favored Romney and a third that was closer. with an advantage for the president, From the conventions until the first debate a period of improving polls for Obama Romney suffered his. period of the most negative coverage just 4 of stories about him were positive while 52 were. negative Coverage of Obama during this period was fairly evenly split 20 positive vs 24 negative. That narrative reversed sharply with the first debate For the next two weeks Romney saw the mixed. treatment 23 positive vs 23 negative while Obama was caught in the critical loop with 12. positive and 37 negative After the second debate coverage returned to its more general pattern with. an edge for Obama, This treatment in the mainstream media also differs markedly.
from what the study finds in the newer realms of social media Mainstream News Less. Twitter Facebook and blogs There the narrative about both Harsh than Social Media. Percent of stories discussion with tone, men has been relentlessly negative and relatively unmoved by. Obama Romney, campaign events that have shifted the mainstream narrative. Mainstream, more a barometer of social media user mood than a reflection. Positive 19 15, of candidate action On Twitter for instance the conversation Mixed 51 47. about the campaign has consistently been harsher for Romney Negative 30 38. than for Obama On Facebook the tone improved for Obama in Twitter. October with the debates despite the sense that the president Positive 25 16. had stumbled in the first one And in the blogosphere neither Mixed 31 25. candidate has seen a sustained edge in the narrative in the Negative 45 58. eight weeks studied,Positive 24 23, The study also reveals the degree to which the two cable Mixed 22 15.
channels that have built themselves around ideological Negative 53 62. programming MSNBC and Fox stand out from other,Positive 19 18. mainstream media outlets And MSNBC stands out the most On. Mixed 37 36, that channel 71 of the segments studied about Romney were Negative 44 46. negative in nature compared with just 3 that were positive. Date Range August 27 October 21 2012, a ratio of roughly 23 to 1 On Fox 46 of the segments about. PEW RESEARCH CENTER S PROJECT FOR, Obama were negative compared with 6 that were positive a EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM. ratio of about 8 to 1 negative These made them unusual. among channels or outlets that identified themselves as news organizations. The study also found a difference between the three network evening newscasts and the morning. shows Obama also fared better in the evening Romney in the morning. An analysis of the coverage of the vice presidential candidates meanwhile found that Paul Ryan. received roughly a third of the amount of coverage that Sarah Palin did in 2008 But of the two vice. presidential candidates this year Ryan and Joe Biden Ryan received much more unfavorable coverage. 28 unfavorable vs 16 for Biden,4 www journalism org.
Winning the Media Campaign 2012, These are among the findings of the content analysis of 2 457 stories from 49 outlets from August 27. the week of the Republican convention through October 21 five days after the second presidential. debate For mainstream media the study included the three broadcast networks the three major cable. news networks the 12 most popular news websites 11 newspaper front pages and news programming. from PBS and NPR along with radio headlines from ABC and CBS news services From these outlets PEJ. researchers watched listened or read every story in the sample and counted each assertion for whether. it was positive in nature about a candidate negative in nature or neutral For a story to be deemed to. have a distinct tone positive or negative assertions had to outnumber the other by a factor of three to. two Any story in which that was not case was coded as mixed. Alternate Narratives on MSNBC and Fox,Percent of stories with tone. Romney on MSNBC Obama on Fox,Date Range August 27 October 21 2012. PEW RESEARCH CENTER S PROJECT FOR EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM. For social media the researchers combined a mix of traditional human coding with technology from the. firm Crimson Hexagon Researchers trained the computer monitors to replicate their human coding. according to PEJ rules For Twitter the sample includes the full fire hose of public tweets For. Facebook the study includes a large sampling of public posts about the campaign The study included a. sample of several million blogs as well, The study of the tone in news coverage is not an examination of media bias Rather it measures the. overall impression the public is receiving in media about each candidate whether the assertion is a. quote from a source a fact presented in the narrative that is determined to be favorable or unfavorable. including poll results or is part of a journalistic analysis. Among the findings of the study,5 www journalism org.
Winning the Media Campaign 2012, Horse race coverage is down from 2008 Overall 38 of the coverage coded during these two. months was framed around what is typically called horse race coverage stories substantially. concerned with the strategy and tactics of the campaign and the question of who was winning. That is down from four years ago when 53 of the coverage studied during a similar period was. focused on the horse race Coverage of the candidate policy positions comprised the second. largest category of coverage 22 similar to 2008 Coverage of voter fraud laws and other political. topics that largely did not involve the candidates was tied for the third largest category at 9 and. was a subject that was almost nonexistent in the narrative four years earlier. Debate coverage was more about who won than what candidates said During the three week. debate period studied October 4 21 horserace coverage grew filling nearly half of all the stories. about the campaign 47 the largest of any period in the study In other words rather than a. window to examine the candidates ideas at more length the debates became a frame about. campaign momentum to a greater degree than the rest of the campaign Coverage of foreign. policy during this time by contrast fell by roughly half to 7 as did coverage of the personal. topics about the candidates which fell to 1, The two candidates received similar amounts of coverage Overall Obama was a significant figure. in 69 of the stories studied during the eight weeks while Romney was a significant figure in. 61 The difference is explained almost entirely by coverage of the Obama presidency Roughly. 9 of all stories studied involved Obama functioning as president outside the realm of the. campaign Four years ago during a similar period in the campaign the volume of coverage was. evenly balanced between Obama and his Republican rival John McCain who were each significant. newsmakers in 62 of the campaign stories, Among the issues the economy dominated but less so than in 2008 The economy accounted for. 10 of all campaign coverage studied down from 15 four years earlier It still overshadowed all. other policy issues Turmoil in the Middle East particularly the attack on the U S consulate in. Libya was next at 5 Some subjects were notable for less attention Health care accounted for. 1 of campaign coverage studied a sign perhaps that while Romney was opposed to Obamacare. it was not an issue he pressed as much as others because of comparisons to his experience in. Massachusetts Social issues were also notable for their absence Together abortion and gay. rights for instance accounted for less than 1 of the coverage So did the war in Afghanistan and. the situation in Iraq, Of all the platforms studied the tone of conversation was the most negative on Twitter Every. week on Twitter resembled the worst week for each candidate in the mainstream press Negative. Twitter conversation about Romney exceeded positive by 42 points in the eight weeks studied 1. For Obama negative assertions outnumbered positive by 20 points though it demonstrated. somewhat more fluidity from week to week, For social media tone is measured as a percentage of the total conversation A tweet or blog post might have.
multiple assertions and each is tallied as percentage of the whole For mainstream media the Project tallies tone. by stories,6 www journalism org,Winning the Media Campaign 2012. Network news viewers received a different narrative about the candidates depending on when. they watched Romney fared better than Obama on the network morning shows on ABC CBS and. NBC During the 7 a m half hour negative segments outnumbered positive ones by 9 points for. Romney vs 17 for Obama In the evening Obama fared better His narrative was fairly evenly. mixed with positive segments outnumbering negative ones by 2 points For Romney negative. exceeded positive by 17 points,About This Study, A number of people at the Pew Research Center s Project for Excellence in Journalism worked on. PEJ s Winning the Media Campaign 2012 Director Tom Rosenstiel and associate director Mark. Jurkowitz wrote the report along with senior researcher Paul Hitlin and researcher Nancy Vogt Paul. Hitlin supervised the content analysis component Additional coding and data analysis was done by. researchers Steve Adams Monica Anderson Heather Brown and Sovini Tan Nancy Vogt worked on. the computer coding Katerina Matsa created the charts Jesse Holcomb copy edited the report. Winning the Media Campaign 2012 2 www journalism org Overview From the conventions to the eve of the final presidential debate Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have both received more negative than positive coverage from the news media though overall Obama has had an edge according to a new study

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