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Media Analysis of Election Coverage – Who’s Fair and Balanced?

The Center for Media and Public Affairs released an analysis of Election news coverage. It turns out if you want the most balanced news, you’ll watch FOX NewsChannel. They rate almost 50-50 split positive/negative coverage on both Republicans and Democrats. The major networks were not nearly so balanced, treating Republicans more negative than Democrats.

The study also found that Fox NewsChannel’s evening news show provided more balanced coverage than its counterparts on the broadcast networks.

These results are from CMPA’s 2008 ElectionNewsWatch Project. They are based on a scientific content analysis of all 481 election news stories (15 hours 40 minutes of airtime) that aired on the flagship evening news shows on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX (the first 30 minutes of “Special Report with Brit Hume”) from October 1 through December 15, 2007.

Who’s Fair and Balanced?: Fox News Channel’s coverage was more balanced toward both parties than the broadcast networks were. On FOX, evaluations of all Democratic candidates combined were split almost evenly – 51% positive vs. 49% negative, as were all evaluations of GOP candidates – 49% positive vs. 51% negative, producing a perfectly balanced 50-50 split for all candidates of both parties. On the three broadcast networks, opinion on Democratic candidates split 47% positive vs. 53% negative, while evaluations of Republicans were more negative – 40% positive vs. 60% negative. For both parties combined, network evaluations were almost 3 to 2 negative in tone, i.e. 41% positive vs. 59% negative.

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