Recent web videos show Rick Santorum getting upset with a New York Times reporter, Jeff Zeleny. While one can argue whether Santorum should have gotten upset with the reporter’s seeming willingness to distort the characterization of Santorum’s remark toward Mitt Romney – attributing the statement “Romney is a horrible Republican candidate in general” as opposed to being horrible just on healthcare issues, GNI data suggests that Santorum is actually being treated more kindly by the New York Times than other candidates. As mentioned in a previous post, “New York Times coverage negative towards Romney not Santorum”, Santorum is being treated comparatively well by the New York Times.

When we look at the coverage of Jeff Zeleny in particular, Zeleny’s coverage is close to the standard deviation of the overall Times coverage and is favorable toward Santorum. The chart below (32 Zeleny articles between November 20, 2011 and March 22, 2012) shows how the sentiment ratio in quotations about Santorum run almost 2-1 favorable while the sentiment ratio for Romney and Gingrich run almost 1-1. Meanwhile, Ron Paul’s favorable ratio is higher than 2-1 as well.  Maybe, this is function of amount of coverage as Romney and Gingrich have received more coverage t odate than Santorum and Paul.

In the meantime, maybe Santorum should rethink making statements such as these, if he wants to keep the Times on his good side. It will be interesting to see whether Zeleny’s coverage changes before and after this confrontation.

Rick Santorum and New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny conflict.

NY Times reporter Jeff Zeleny coverage November 20, 2011 - March 22, 2012