- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
- Foreign minister vows response if Russians are attacked in Ukraine
Romney received most scrutiny
Campaign study finds tone changed after Michigan win
The press exacted a price on the “inevitable” Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who was subjected to the closest scrutiny among his rivals, says a massive analysis of candidate coverage released Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The coverage “reveals that Romney endured more media ‘vetting’ of his record and personal character than the other Republican contenders,” the study says, noting that the press was focused in particular on Mr. Romney’s personal wealth and time spent at Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm.
Such attention certainly played into the evolving popular narrative about the Republican front-runner among Democratic strategists and some conservatives who consistently frame Mr. Romney as a millionaire who is out of touch with the general public.
There was a distinct turning point for such trials, though.
After Mr. Romney won the primary in Michigan in late February, the news media deemed his nomination as “essentially inevitable.” Coverage overwhelmed that of his rivals, and the tone — previously mixed or negative — became “solidly positive,” the study finds, perhaps underscoring suggestions from Republican strategists who insisted that Mr. Romney was the choice of both the White House and press for the nominee in the first place.
Coverage of President Obama, meanwhile, reveals that journalists treated him “more as a presidential candidate than a chief executive for months,” the study says. Two-thirds of the stories centered on Mr. Obama’s political strategy and momentum, while a mere 21 precent examined his connection with foreign or domestic policy issues.
The study itself used computer-assisted content analysis of more than 11,000 news outlets for coverage from Jan. 2 to April 15, plus a closer sampling of 52 key news organizations covering print, broadcast and online content, including coverage dating to November.
As it has in past presidential elections, the press has fixated on the horse race rather than the more arduous task of covering the candidates’ public records or policy statements. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of the stories have centered on strategy, daily polls, advertising and fundraising, though that is far less than the 2008 White House race, when 80 percent of new accounts wallowed in the horse race.
The analysis also reveals that Rick Santorum was subjected to a “roller coaster” of positive and negative coverage before he suspended his campaign, while Newt Gingrich enjoyed only one week of press attention that was notably positive.
Ironically, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas garnered the most-positive coverage of any of his rivals. But it was paltry. Mr. Paul received the least amount of coverage, drawing just one-eighth of the amount of attention that Mr. Romney had, for example.
“The glaring lack of attention in the news coverage reflected a media consensus that despite a loyal following and some respectable primary showings, the libertarian-leaning candidate could not capture the Republican nomination,” the study says.
See the complete findings at www.journalism.org.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- 10 state tour: Tea party bus rolls in the name of liberty - and the midterms
- Inside the Beltway: The Elizabeth Warren effect
- They're next: Alaska fumes over marijuana legalization
- 'Scott Walker 2016': Here comes the bumper sticker
- Inside the Beltway: The NRA still true to its calling
Latest Blog Entries
- A startling 20 percent of Democratic lawmakers already endorse Hillary Clinton for president
- Hey food police: calling obesity a 'disease' is actually a health risk
- Cheese and an 'enhanced experience': White House goes showbiz on the State of the Union address
- Cruz calls it a 'circus': the State of the Union spectacle begins
- Half of American fans say God and 'supernatural' forces are in play during sports events
TWT Video Picks
Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Georgia governor signs bill expanding gun rights
- Harry Reid using tax dollars to fight Koch brothers, La. GOP chair charges
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- IRS revokes conservative group's tax-exempt status over anti-Clinton statements: report
- Ukraine claims torture by pro-Russian forces on the heels of Biden's stern warning to Moscow
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014