Here’s another story I heard about when I was on vacation: A recent Rasmussen Reports poll came out about media bias in the 2008 Presidential election. I’ll post the results and then analyze them:
National Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters
Conducted July 19, 2008
By Rasmussen Reports
1* When covering a political campaign, do most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage or do they try to help the candidate they want to win?
16% Offer unbiased coverage
71% Try to help the candidate they want to win
13% Not sure
Those 16% must be FOX viewers. But seriously, FOX, CNN, ABC, NBC, NPR, EVERYBODY does it. I think the word reporter might be a bad word to use in the question, since most people think of reporter as the guy with the microphone covering the story, when in actuality, the person who mostly shapes and directs the story is the anchor. They’re the ones doing the analysis and either highlighting or suppressing certain parts of the story.
2* Think for a moment about the three major presidential candidates this year. Which candidate received the best treatment from the media so far—Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or John McCain?
57% Barack Obama
11% Hillary Clinton
21% John McCain
10% Not sure
Again, somewhat of a bad question. In 2007, you know who got a lot of press, after a couple of polls came out in New Hampshire? John McCain. And it was that press, I believe, that gave him the momentum to go on to Michigan, and place well there, to win South Carolina, etc…. After McCain won the nomination, his press died down, understandably. So, the question is somewhat a bad question, but there is a point that Obama has been getting a LOT more press lately (especially with his trip to Iraq, where THREE major news anchors went with him. When did they ever do that for McCain, or even Bush?)
3* Looking ahead to the campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain, will most reporters try to help Barack Obama, offer unbiased coverage, or try to help John McCain?
49% Try to help Barack Obama
24% Offer unbiased coverage
14% Try to help John McCain
13% Not sure
Alright – I’ll agree with that. But what I find interesting here is the bias in the people taking the poll. Nobody wants to admit that their candidate is being unfairly helped by media bias, so notice the 8% jump from question 1 to question 3 saying that the media will be unbiased. Now that’s ironic!
4* Suppose a reporter learned some news that might politically hurt a candidate they wanted to win. Would most reporters hide that information to help the candidate?
25% Not sure
Again, “reporter” here is a bad word to use. Reporters really don’t have a say in what’s run on the news or edited in or out – that’s more the producers and the anchors. But if you asked that question with “news station” in the place of “reporter,” I could agree with the answers to that poll. I’d say yes, but you can’t do it too often, or people do see a bias.
5* When it comes to information about the Presidential campaign, who do you trust more—news reporters or family and friends?
29% News reporters
43% Family and friends
28% Not sure
And where are these family and friends going to get their information? Are they interviewing the candidates? They’re probably getting it from news reporters. So, family and friends will place their bias on information that is, apparently, already biased!
NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence
Alright, so there you have it – Most Americans think the media is biased, and we’ve shown that at least 8% of those polled, are afraid to admit that bias (at least which way the bias leans).
Interesting survey, although I do take issue with the word “reporter” being used, but overall, it’s a good indicator of how Americans feel about the media and its effects on the 2008 election. As I’ve always said, sometimes the media needs to be put in its place!
Tags: 2008 Election, 2008 Primary, ABC, Anchor, Barack Obama, CNN, Democrat, Democrats, Election, Elections, Fox, General Election, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, John McCain, Media, Media Bias, Michigan, NBC, New Hampshire, Politics, Poll, Primary, Reporter, Republican, Republicans, South Carolina