US voters: media bias more of a problem than campaign funding

Rasmussen poll results released today show that most US voters (55%) see media bias as a bigger problem in politics than big campaign contributions. Only 36% think that campaign cash is a bigger problem.

This despite 63% saying most politicians will “break the rules to help people who give them a lot of money”. Only 14% believe most politicians would refrain from breaking the rules for a donor. Cynical, yes, but given the nature of Washington, D.C., who could blame them?

The breakdown is interesting, with the vast majority of Republicans (81%) seeing media bias as the main problem, 50% of Democrats seeing campaign cash as the major problem, and the unaffiliated pretty evenly split. If this translates to NZ, it might explain why the righties are fairly blasé about their fund-raising advantage and the strings that go with it.

A growing number of US voters believe that reporters are trying to help Obama. The latest poll, released 21 July, showed that “49% believe most reporters are trying to help Barack Obama win the election this year.” (Up from 44% a month before.) A mere 14% believe they’re trying to help McCain. Earlier reports revealed that many Americans think that the US media are biased.

These perceptions play into the hands of the right-wing, who have been frantically fanning the flames. To see how they play it, here’s typical talk-radio editorial:

“Without question, Sen. Obama is a dynamic candidate and articulate speaker. He can move a crowd, but does this justify the media establishment’s infatuation with him? The media’s courtship of Obama is indicated by how much time they recently spent covering his campaign…

“Daniel Schorr of National Public Radio justified the unequal coverage this past weekend by saying that Obama is making news and McCain is not. Whatever the rationale, the press establishment must realize that such imbalance in coverage amounts to free advertising for the Democratic nominee.”

Notice the subtle introduction of the terms “infatuation” and “courtship” of Obama without evidence. The evidence is apparently the relative coverage of the two candidates.

Two points. First, in this case Obama was meeting foreign leaders in interesting places, and McCain was doing a photo op at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus in Columbus, Ohio. You don’t have to be a newspaper editor to figure the relative news values. Second, coverage does not equal “infatuation.” A study by a conservative media studies centre found that the coverage of Obama has tended to be more negative than that for his rival.

It’s been interesting to see the kiwiblog right, for example, fulminate about the “communist media” here. Watch to see whether the Nats pick up on this if things start going pear-shaped for them.

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2 Responses to “US voters: media bias more of a problem than campaign funding”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Well ya tend to get a fair bit of attention when you make overseas trips, as has been the case in recent weeks. All the coverage of the adoring Berliners probably seemed a bit like a ‘fawning media’, regardless of how newsworthy it was.

  2. Media bias in the US | Kiwiblog Says:

    […] JafaPete points me to a Rasmussen survey which finds 55% of Americans find media bias is a bigger problem than big campaign contributions. Not surprising in light of the current presidential campaign. […]

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