Media Research Center, a watchdog group, documented bias of evening newscasts on ABC, NBC and CBS from September 1 through October 25, and released a new report Wednesday highlighting its findings.
The study, conducted only on the three major networks’ evening newscasts, found that while 35 stories over the time period label Tea Party and Republican candidates “extreme,” none labeled Democratic candidates as extreme. Reporters called candidates conservative 48 times but only used the liberal label 14 times.
Also, no Democrat or left-wing candidate was deemed ultra-liberal –- but Republican Senate candidates Joe Miller in Alaska and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware were both deemed “ultra-conservative.”
“It became obvious as the campaign unfolded that the new narrative that the press was providing was the Tea Party being extreme people,” Rich Noyes, MRC’s director of research and the report’s author, said. “But, the narrative that we’ve had over the past two years has been about the public growing more dissatisfied with what they see in Obama and Congressional Democrats. It was amazing that there was a shutout of that point of view in the fall campaign coverage on CBS, ABC and NBC.”
While Noyes doubts the media’s bias will have a huge influence on the midterm elections, he did say that the bias might have some effect in close races.
Noyes told The Daily Caller that he understands why Democratic strategists want the media to focus on Delaware’s Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell, but he’s surprised that major media outlets, specifically the evening newscasts on CBS, NBC and ABC, would promote the Democrats’ agenda.
“If you were making a list of the closest, most pivotal race, you probably wouldn’t start with her [Christine O’Donnell] and Chris Coons,” Noyes said. “You’d probably put more time into things like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Colorado – these are races that have been single-digits for quite some time. Nevada’s a really close race too, but that has been getting a lot of attention.”