Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ain't that what you said? Liar

I'm sure it will come as no surprise that Larry Elder is a liar. He claims that in a Project for Excellence in Journalism study, from the Pew Research Center, says:
The study found that Democrats got more news coverage than Republicans – 49 percent of the stories versus 31 percent. It also found the "tone" of the coverage for Democrats was more positive, 35 percent compared with 26 percent for Republicans. "In other words," the study says, "not only did the Republicans receive less coverage overall, the attention they did get tended to be more negative than that of Democrats. And in some specific media genres, the difference is particularly striking."

Well, maybe Larry's reading glasses aren't strong enough. Because here's the study, and a simple search of it doesn't find the number 49 anywhere. In fact, here's a quote from the study:
If the press tries to treat the leaders in a race with greater skepticism—or feels a responsibility to scrub those contenders harder—there is some evidence to support that here. The two front runners in national polls both received somewhat more negative coverage than positive. For Hillary Clinton, 27% of the stories were clearly positive, 38% were negative and 35% were balanced or neutral. For Rudy Giuliani, 28% were positive, 37% negative, and 35% neutral.

Wow. Truly a great coup for the Democrats, what with 27% of the Hillary stories being positive, vs. 28% of Rudy's.

I'm tired, I got no sleep last night, so I'm not going to take this to its logical conclusion. I suppose that if one takes data from column A, and column B, one can arrive at result C, and somehow contend that the stats in Larry's story are correct.

But I doubt it. Dishonest is as dishonest does.


Update: The article indeed says that Democrats got more coverage, but not by the stats Larry creates out of thin air quotes:
Taking all the presidential hopefuls together, the press overall has been more positive about Democratic candidates and more negative about Republicans. In the stories mainly about one of the Democratic candidates, the largest percentage was neutral (39%), but more than a third of stories (35%) were positive, while slightly more than a quarter (26%) carried a clearly negative tone.

For Republicans, the numbers were basically reversed. Again the same number as for Democrats (39%) were neutral, but more than a third (35%) were negative vs. 26% positive.

In other words, not only did the Republicans receive less coverage overall, the attention they did get tended to be more negative than that of Democrats. And in some specific media genres, the difference is particularly striking.

Why is this? Does it suggest some not-so-subtle enthusiasm by a liberal press for Democratic candidates? Those critics who see a continuing liberal preference in the media may cite this as evidence of that presumption.

There are, however, other explanations.

The most notable is the fact that, if the coverage of Obama and McCain are eliminated, the distinction in tone of coverage between the two parties’ candidates disappears.

Another factor influencing the tone of coverage for Republican candidates could be the perceived weaknesses in the chances for nomination or election by each of the leading Republican candidates. While Giuliani, for example, has shown strength in opinion polls, many observers inside and outside the Republican Party consider his chances complicated by opposition from religious conservatives. Likewise, McCain was known to have displeased many in his own party for his bi-partisan sponsorship of campaign finance reform and immigration reform. And Mitt Romney’s relative inexperience on the national stage and switch on the abortion issue made observers skeptical of his credibility.

Third, the tone of the coverage may also mirror the fact that Republican voters in polls express greater dissatisfaction with their candidate pool than do Democrats.[1]

That's about right. The bottom line is the Republicans are hated by nearly everyone in the country, except for the lunatic 24% that would vote Repub even after seeing Larry Craig publicly fellate GWBush. And the intellectual and moral dwarves the Repubs are currently running don't help. Giuliani's act is wearing thin, Romney's flip-flopping and torture-loving are perceived as crass, and Huckabee is starting to wake people up to the idea that he's a Christionist zealot who won't always cut taxes.

And the Iraq war hangs on each of them like some bling clock around Flavor Flav's neck: a bad idea, awful style, yet once the commitment is made, has to be carried out.

And unlike watching a train wreck like Scott Peterson collapse, the voting public is increasingly sickened by everything the Repubs have to offer. Thus the preference for news and ideas from the left. While they're not doing as well as I would like, at least it's not anti-immigrant, pro-torture, tax cuts for Donald Trump all the time.

And stay the course in Iraq. That is the Republican Party's albatross.