Today’s Sunday spotlight focuses on the patterns of the coverage of the Detroit Free Press during the general election. For the purpose of all the charts in this post, we selected feature articles from the front page of the Detroit Free Press specifically covering the campaign between the dates of April 15th and August 1st.
Breakdown of Democrat and Republican voices in the coverage of Detroit Free Press during general election time period. April 15 – August 1.
NOTE: It is important to note that the sample size for the Detroit Free Press over this period was not large enough to make definitive statements about the nature of their coverage, but is presented as an interesting contrast to the main findings in our most recent infographic on Liberal Media Bias. We first compare the Free Press coverage as regards to partisan VoiceShare percentage similar to the data presented in the top section of the bias infographic. The coverage for the Detroit Free Press was quite different from most other traditional print publications and showed a larger than 2-1 ratio favoring Democrat voices, as opposed to the media as a whole in the infographic where Republicans have enjoyed an almost 50% higher percentage of representation as sources.
Breakdown of sentiment toward Obama and Romney as captured in the coverage by Detroit Free Press during general election time period. April 15 – August 1.
In terms of sentiment patterns, the Free Press are markedly different, as well, from the patterns presented in our Liberal Media Bias infographic. In fact, conservatives might legitimately use the analysis of the coverage of the Free Press as a basis for their claims of a liberal media bias. However, their claims usually extend across the entire MSM landscape. In our analysis, the Detroit Free Press is more of a liberal island within MSM rather than part of an extended continent, and as noted above, the Free Press sample size is not large enough to make any broad claims about their coverage. There has been some responses on the web to our media bias infographic citing data from the Media Research Center
that claims that 86% of the most recent coverage of Romney’s trip abroad was negative to Romney. From what we have discerned from web reports, these claims are based on 21 pieces of content over two weeks. This is not a large enough sample to make such claims, and similarly our Free Press data size is not large enough to make definite claims; as opposed to the global sample size of our analysis which contains over 15,000 quotes across 717 articles. It might also be noted that our analysis did not include the most recent data from Romney’s trip abroad.
Breakdown of newsmaker source patterns covered by Detroit Free Press during general election time period. April 15 – August 1.
Finally, we wanted to share another interesting pattern in Free Press reporting that includes a willingness to source outside of the candidates and their campaign staff. The two most frequent newsmaker type sources in the Free Press data are “Analyst” and “Citizen”. Again, this pattern is unusual compared to what we are seeing across most of the other mainstream media in our sample.
And again, the chart suggests that Democratic voices of Obama and his White House are more represented than the Republican voices of Romney, his team and the Republican side of the aisle.