Friday, October 17, 2008

A "Stunning" And "Off The Charts" Bias

The liberal bias of the American media has been documented for a long time. A study was recently released concerning the bias of a particular segment of the television industry, late-night comedians. The Drudge Report recently linked to a story that reports:

"A study shows the Kings of Late Night are not equal-opportunity destroyers this year when it comes to telling jokes about the candidates for president and vice president -- they're hammering Republicans a stunning seven times more often than they skewer Democrats. The Center for Media and Public Affairs, a media analysis group, kept a tally of jokes told about the presidential contenders on the 'Late Show' and 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno' in the five weeks after McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate and vaulted the little-known Alaska governor into the national spotlight. The total: Republicans, 286. Democrats, 42. 'Generally the Republicans get targeted much more often than Democrats, but this election is driving it off the charts,' said CMPA Executive Director Donald Rieck."

The story goes on to suggest some possible reasons for the discrepancy, such as the fact that Obama is "boring" in comparison to other politicians and a fear of being perceived as racist for making jokes about Obama. But, as Donald Rieck notes above, "Generally the Republicans get targeted much more often than Democrats". That general trend can't be explained by factors associated with Obama in particular, such as his race. And as the story goes on to note, Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, is "gaffe-prone". Yet, Biden "was hit only 16 times, not even one-tenth the number of jokes told about Palin over the five-week period". The story quotes Robert Thompson noting that Obama "doesn't misspell words like Dan Quayle did". But Biden makes such mistakes frequently, and he isn't criticized nearly as often as Quayle was or nearly as often as McCain and Palin are.

Apparently, a lot of people get their news from and are highly influenced by late-night comedians. I suspect that the better treatment Obama and Biden have received is part of the explanation for Obama's current lead in the polls.

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