The tone of coverage of the presidential election has been more negative than positive. Among the top 10 national print outlets covering the election, about 20% of coverage has been negative in the past 3 months.
Yesterday, August 6, 4thEstate released this infographic about the “liberal media bias” in election coverage. One takeaway from the graphic was that both Obama and Romney have received a lot of negative coverage. In the chart below, we can see that the top ten print outlets amplify an average of 22% negative coverage out of their total coverage of the election. Less than a quarter of negative coverage may seem like a small fraction, but it is in comparison with positive and neutral coverage that makes this statistic stand out.
Negative Statements Make Up A Large Slice of Coverage
On July 17, 4thEstate published this post about the amount of positive coverage being amplified by top print outlets. It showed that between April 17 – July 11, an average of just 13% of statements in election coverage among 4 major print outlets was positive. Among the 10 outlets above, an average of just 14% of their coverage in the same time period was positive, 8% less than the amount of negative coverage.
Also of note is the ratio of negative coverage between Romney and Obama. As shown in yesterday’s 4thEstate Infographic, Obama has received a higher ratio of negative coverage among many outlets in print and television broadcast. In 7 out of the 10 outlets shown above, Obama has received more negative coverage than Romney, by an average of 7%.