By Quentin Langley
Pew Research has done some fascinating research on the bias of US TV news coverage. View it for yourself, but here are my takeaways from it:
- No surprise here, but MSNBC is by far the most biased of the channels. Liberals complain about Fox, but there is really no comparison. Both in the balance of tone (pro Obama and anti Romney) and in the percentage of news that has tone, this is battle isn't even close.
- Again, no surprise here, but Fox has a conservative bias and CNN and ABC both have a clear (though slightly smaller) liberal bias.
- It is slightly surprising – to me, at any rate – that the coverage on CBS and NBC (main channel) seems, at first glance, to be so close to balance. Overall they are as negative about Obama as Romney.
- A deeper dive tells a different story. The three networks (this includes ABC with its much clearer liberal bias) were tough on Obama in the morning, but pro-Obama in the evening. They were anti-Romney in the morning, but much more strongly so in the evening. In other words they saved their most pro-Obama and most anti-Romney coverage for the much more influential evening bulletins. It is a rather subtle, but probably effective liberal bias.
I wonder if the difference between morning and evening coverage is uniform across the networks, or is heavily slanted by one of them. It would be also interesting to know if this is a policy by the networks, or is a coincidence of editorial appointments.