If you can’t find unbiased news reporting, you are too far gone one way or the other.
March 14, 2005
No Bias On Iraq, Media Study Finds
By David Bauder, Associated Press
NEW YORK – A study of news coverage of the war in Iraq fails to support a conclusion that events were portrayed either negatively or positively most of the time.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington-based think tank, looked at nearly 2,200 stories on television, newspapers, and websites and found that most of them could not be categorized either way.
Twenty-five percent of the stories were negative and 20 percent were positive, according to the study, released yesterday.
Despite the exhaustive look, the study probably will not change the minds of war supporters who considered the media hostile to the Bush administration, or opponents who think reporters were not questioning enough, said Tom Rosenstiel, the project’s director.
''There was enough of both to annoy both camps," he said. ''But the majority of stories were just news."
Rosenstiel said most people understand the complexities of what is going on in Iraq, how continued suicide bombings can happen at the same time as a successful election.
The three network evening newscasts tended to be more negative than positive, while the opposite was true of morning shows, the study said. Fox News Channel was twice as likely to be positive than negative, unlike the more neutral CNN and MSNBC, the study said.
A more limited look at campaign coverage found that 36 percent of stories on President Bush were negative, compared with 12 percent for Democrat John F. Kerry. Stories were positive 20 percent of the time for Bush and 30 percent for Kerry, according to findings of the project, which examined about 250 stories for tone. ''I don’t know whether this was because [Bush] was the incumbent or because a lot of the coverage of the campaign was filtered through events in Iraq," Rosenstiel said. ''It’s probably a little of both."
The Project for Excellence in Journalism is affiliated with the Columbia University School of Journalism. The study was financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts.