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.

Chart shows percent of negative statements out of total coverage among each of the top ten print outlets in their coverage of the election.  Time frame is May 1 – August 2.

Chart shows percent of negative statements out of total coverage among each of the top ten print outlets in their coverage of the election. Time frame is May 1 – August 2.

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%.