Election coverage in NewsCorp’s Wall Street Journal and USA Today has varied significantly in terms of their candidate focus. However, sentiment trends of each paper suggests that they are helping Romney more than hurting him.

On July 12th, 4thEstate published a post that found that NewsCorp’s coverage of Mitt Romney was predominantly negative. However, when looking only at election coverage by NewsCorp’s USA Today and Wall Street Journal over the past two months, a different story emerges. The Wall Street Journal has been very Obama-centric and USA Today has been very Romney-centric. Details of WSJ’s coverage of Obama and USA Today’s coverage of Romney show that these two papers may in fact be working in Romney’s favor.

Chart shows distribution of coverage among Romney and Obama.  “Other” represents coverage that is not specifically about either candidate.  Time frame is June 1 – August 7.

Chart shows distribution of coverage among Romney and Obama. “Other” represents coverage that is not specifically about either candidate. Time frame is June 1 – August 7.

Chart shows coverage of Barack Obama by the Wall Street Journal  broken out by topic and sentiment.  Time farm is June 1 – August 7.

Chart shows coverage of Barack Obama by the Wall Street Journal broken out by topic and sentiment. Time farm is June 1 – August 7.

Coverage of Obama by the Wall Street Journal has been mostly about his Campaign Strategy, Taxes and the Economy. The overall coverage sentiment has leaned very negative to Obama. Overall, 35.6% of the Journal’s Obama coverage has been negative to Obama, and just 6.7% has been positive. They have hit Obama especially hard in discussion of Taxes. 49.6% of his negative coverage in the Journal has been about Taxes. Surprisingly, Obama has received some positive coverage on the Economy, but overall, the Wall Street Journal has been amplifying significant negative coverage toward him.

Chart shows coverage of Mitt Romney by the USA Today broken out by topic and sentiment.  Time farm is June 1 – August 7.

Chart shows coverage of Mitt Romney by the USA Today broken out by topic and sentiment. Time farm is June 1 – August 7.

Coverage of Romney in USA Today has been largely centered on Character, with little focus on Romney’s issue of choice, the Economy. Overall sentiment in coverage of Romney by USA Today leans slightly in Romney’s favor, with 20.8% of his coverage in the paper being positive, and 19.8% negative. Romney has received a lot of negative coverage on Immigration and the Economy. However, on Candidate Character, where Romney has been blasted elsewhere, USA Today has actually amplified significantly more positive than negative coverage. Overall, coverage of Romney in USA Today over the past two months has been more of a help than a hindrance for his campaign.

At first glance, these two papers seem to have different coverage behavior. USA Today has been Romney-centric and the Wall Street Journal has been Obama-centric. However, over the past two months, election coverage by both papers has leaned conservative, with USA Today amplifying more positive than negative coverage of Romney and Wall Street Journal amplifying more negative than positive coverage of Obama.