It's All About the Incumbent

Here some comparisons between Bush and Kerry in terms of total news coverage over the past week:

Google News Search Results, 5/15-5/21

"George W Bush" OR "George Bush" OR "President Bush": 54,700 links

"George W Bush" OR "George Bush" OR "President Bush" -Kerry:41,900 links

"John F. Kerry" OR "John Kerry" OR "Senator Kerry": 9,230 links

"John F. Kerry" OR "John Kerry" OR "Senator Kerry" AND NOT Bush: 1,150 links

allintitle: Bush: 6,490 links

allintitle: Kerry: 3,320 links

allintitle: Bush -Kerry: 5,770

allintitle: Kerry -Bush: 2,600

Now, even though television is still the main source of news for around 70% of the US population, it is doubtful that a survey of the time devoted to each candidate on televised news broadcasts would produce significantly different numbers. Clearly, Bush dominates news coverage, and Kerry is rarely discussed without Bush also being mentioned. In fact, nearly 90% of all coverage devoted to Kerry also discusses Bush, whereas only around 25% of news coverage that mentions Bush also mentions Kerry. Reporters couldn't be bothered to ask Kerry's opinion on the Bush Administration's policies more than 25% of the time? Fair and balanced anyone?

Still, Bush is the center of attention, which is fine by me. On the one hand, he is really good at screwing everything up, so as long as he remains the center of attention Kerry should be in good shape. On the other hand, the number of times Bush is discussed without Kerry being mentioned is another in a long line of reasons that give Democrats justifiable cause to complain about the pro-corporate, pro-conservative media bias.

So, while we are demanding equal treatment in the media as Republicans have for decades, we can also take heart that Bush is so incompetent he has been unable to benefit from the bias he receives. Media coverage is all about the incumbent, and right now that is a win-win situation for Democrats.

Tags: Media (all tags)


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