Fox News, Empirically the place to go for fair and balanced election coverage

Hey, I’ve noticed FOX occasionally acknowledge that Obama’s beating McCain like a rented mule, so they might well be up for “Most Improved” this year.

Kudos to them. :smiley:

So we should trust them to get it right when it looks like thay are showing a general bias against McCain and distrust them when the same people find no bias against McCain?

Okey dokey.

Is there any particular place on the link you supplied where they actually cite the numbers you posted?

A few things before we stop the presses finding FOX is really fair and balanced.

  1. The report tallies the NUMBER of stories. What is the tally on total time given to each story? What I mean is, it looks like a 30 second bit that says something favorable about Obama counts the same as a 10 minute bit where someone trashes Obama. Hardly the same thing but it looks like that is the case here. Personally I have never seen anyone on FOX wax poetic about the joys of Obama while I have seen various people go on at length about how awful he is.

  2. What is the quality of the negative reports versus the favorable reports? Is it considered “favorable” if they say Obama was endorsed by The Economist magazine and they offer a quote from the piece that says something favorable? Is that balanced by Ann Coulter likening Obama to Hitler on FOX?

  3. Is FOX News considered as doing a “neutral” piece if they have a conservative and liberal pundit on while the news anchor (say O’Reilly) is clearly biased against the liberal side?

I would bet money this was purposely stage managed to put out a report like that which, looked at uncritically, makes it appear that FOX is “balanced”. Simply turning on FOX for an hour will give the lie to this with ease.

Well shit Scylla, I don’t know anymore than you do how they define positive and negative. If you do know, you could cite that; that’d help.

I’m simply going to assume that a think tank funded by a conservative organization is going to espouse conservative views, just as I assume that a think tank funded by liberal organizations will espouse liberal views.

You’ll forgive me, I’m sure, for applying common sense.

I’ll be sure to save that quote in case you ever challenge a cite from MediaMatters or FAIR.

He’s getting it from the second chart here.

:confused: You seem to be equating “fairest” with “most neutral”. Your only argument in favor of Fox’s “fairness” seems to be that it runs about the same number of negative stories, and about the same number of positive stories, for both candidates.

But neutrality isn’t necessarily the same thing as fairness. To take a very extreme example, if you were doing a broadcast on the reign of Saddam Hussein, would it be more “fair” to present an equal number of positive and negative views about him than to present mostly negative ones?

And does that mean that you consider Fox News was unfair in its coverage of the 2004 election, when its coverage was 53% positive for Bush but only 21% positive for Kerry? After all, if sheer numerical equality is how you measure fairness, then those numbers look pretty unfair.

Actually, I would be surprised if the folks at Pew participated in a delibewrate slant job. This does not preclude mistakes or people misinterpreting the data*, but I would have to see evidence that the study was skewed before I leaped to a conclusion that it was a put up job.

  • (It could, for example, be based on really dumb criteria in the manner of the UCLA(?) related study over the summer that counted the number of references to think tanks. (There is also, of course, the fact that there should be more negative reports about McCain simply because the majority of his campaign actions have been negative attack ads followed by his blatantly dishonest endorsement of those ads as “true.”))

That is a truly excellent and intelligent point. For example, I have noticed that Hitler receives much more negative coverage than Ghandi.

The results of this study would prove a bias if, and only if both Obama and McCain were conducting themselves in exactly equal fashion in terms of the positive, negative, and neutral that they might potentially generate.

Clearly this cannot be the case.

It may be that Obama is creating potentially 50 times more negative stories than McCain but the bias is so strong that it is reduced in the coverage. Or it might be the other way.

There is no getting around this problem. For myself, I am taking it as a given that two candidates for President, engaged in campaigning activities produce roughly equivalent opportunities for positive, negative, and neutral coverage.

Nice, ivylass, making a personal attack in a thread I haven’t even seen yet. Classy.

I saw a Media Matters piece on this Pew report recently. Seems that their methodology isn’t very clear, and where it can be discerned, it leaves a bit to be desired.

Then I trust you’ll be writing (or have written) Fox News a stern letter about the appalling unfairness of their coverage in the 2004 Presidential election? 53% positive coverage for Bush compared to 21% positive for Kerry! Shamelessly biased, eh?

As I noted I think the most telling gap in the study is counting stories versus counting time given to those stories. As I said a 30 second bit where they say something nice of Obama is not the same as giving 5 minutes to Ann Coulter. Yet that study does not seem to account for it.

Perhaps those who did the study are not in on a put-up-job for FOX. I think it more likely someone at FOX looked at how Pew generally did their studies and gamed the system.

Neither of those even pretends to be nonpartisan.

Nonsense. Simply that they are the fairest and most balanced in accordance with the methodologies employed in the report.

No. They are pretty much contained in all those big bar charts throughout the whole report which is where I accurately quoted them in a fair and balanced manner.

According to the methodologies? GIGO.

I never thought you invented the numbers. I simply did not go poking around all the pages before and after your initial link (I’m engaged in some other simultaneous tasks) and wondered whether they were on the same story or elsewhere.

So, based on your consumption of news from Fox News, given it’s fair and balanced reporting on the current Presidential campaign, your tendency to vote only the conservative ticket has been shaken, causing you to waver in your decision? Can you possibly be considering voting the more liberal ticket? Or is this thread merely another of the mentally stimulating exercises you enjoy?

But we should all know by now that methodology is critical in assessing such reports.

I am not saying Pew is wrong or bad in their methodologies but we really need to know what it is so we can accurately assess what the report is really telling us. If FOX gives you ten, 10 second soundbites and they give me ten, 10 minute long stories are we equivalent? Are we equivalent if FOX says, “WaM (that’s me) is ahead in the polls” and “WaM is a terrorist”?

Till the methodology and data can be assessed we cannot really make heads or tails out of what we are being told. This does not mean Pew is deliberately faking something…just that they are not giving us enough to know what they are telling us.

Studies are needed when something is not very clear or obvious.

A few minutes watching Fox News, plus a functioning brain, will demonstrate very clearly that Fox News is biased.

If a report comes out that says “Republicans love Bill Clinton more than Democrats do”, it’s a safer bet that the report is flawed than the report’s conclusion to be true. Not that it can’t be true, but “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”.

Same as in this example. We need a well-defined and well-executed study to accept something so contrary to plain experience. Thus far, the exact methodology is not clear (what is positive, what is negative, how where they counted, should all instances count with equal weight, should networks have an equal number of positives and negatives to be fair irrespective of the behavior of the candidates?, to name a few issues), and from the few posts above, it seems that it is indeed a flawed study.

This is weird. I know of no other way to phrase it. It’s just weird. That’s like saying, it doesn’t matter who a candidate picks for VP because they both have equal opportunity for positive, negative, or neutral picks. It is true that the classes of opportunity are equal prior to a pick. After the pick, the opportunity is gone and we have only the facts that remain which can only be one of the three. I doubt it is true that they have equal opportunity, only that they face the same class of opportunities, but really there’s no way to prove it one way or another, whether they have “equal opportunity”.

I have no comment on whether or not Fox News is balanced, or fair, as I don’t have criteria for either adjective. Given your OP, “fair” apparently means “equal number of stories for or against a candidate.” I’m not sure I agree, but this is apparently not the place to debate it. Given your criterion for “fairness,” Fox News is apparently fairest of them all. What else can be said.

You should see how biased the sports coverage is here in Detroit. There are overwhelmingly more negative stories about the winless, last place Detroit Lions than there are about the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings!

Plus no one seems to pay attention to the Red Wings links to Socialist Sweden!