Morning News Shows 'Promoting' Democrats, Study Finds
By Nathan Burchfiel
In covering the 2008 presidential campaign, the network morning news shows are "overwhelmingly focused on Democrats, [and] they are actively promoting the Democrats' liberal agenda," according to a study released today by the conservative Media Research Center (MRC).
The study examined 517 campaign segments on the morning news shows broadcast on ABC, CBS and NBC in the first seven months of 2007. It found that the shows covered Democrats "nearly twice as much" as Republicans and framed interview questions from a liberal perspective most of the time.
The study was produced by the MRC's News Analysis Division. The MRC is the parent organization of Cybercast News Service.
The study found that 55 percent of campaign stories on ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show" and NBC's "Today" focused on Democratic candidates while only 29 percent focused on Republicans. The remaining 16 percent were classified as "mixed/independent."
The morning shows aired 61 stories focused exclusively on Sen. Hillary Clinton, 44 stories on former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, and 41 stories on Sen. Barack Obama, all of whom are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Former Vice President Al Gore, who is not officially running, was the subject of 29 stories.
Republican candidates received less attention, according to the study. Sen. John McCain was the focus of 31 stories. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the focus of 26 stories and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney was the focus of 19 stories.
Interviews with Democratic candidates or their representatives accounted for more than four-and-a-half hours of airtime in the first seven months of 2007. Interviews with Republicans candidates or their representatives accounted for less than two hours, according to the study.
In addition to the time disparity, the report alleges that "the top Democratic candidates received much more favorable coverage than their GOP counterparts, with Sen. Clinton cast as 'unbeatable' and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama tagged as a 'rock star.'"
In contrast, the most-featured Republican candidate, McCain, "was portrayed as a loser because of his support for staying the course in Iraq," the report says. "[M]uch of McCain's coverage has emphasized the sinking nature of his campaign - declining poll ratings, and fundraising that has failed to meet expectations."