Fox, MSNBC Became More Extreme as Vote Neared

By Election Day, both networks had increased negative coverage of the presidential candidates.

Fox News
Fox News

. . . In the final week of the campaign, both Fox News and MSNBC became even more extreme in how they differed from the rest of the press in coverage of the two candidates, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reported on Monday.

“On Fox News, the amount of negative coverage of [President] Obama increased — from 47% in the first four weeks of October to 56% the final week. Meanwhile, positive discussion of [Mitt] Romney grew, from 34% of segments to 42%. On MSNBC, the positive coverage of Obama increased from 33% during most of October to 51% during the last week, while Romney’s negative coverage increased from 57% to 68%.”

The Center also said, “In the final week of the 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama enjoyed his most positive run of news coverage in months . . . Only during the week of his nominating convention was the treatment in the press more favorable.”

Pollster Was Off, Agrees to Re-Evaluate Methods

A series of screening questions in its poll of likely voters led the venerable Gallup polling organization to underestimate the turnout of blacks and Hispanics and thus miss President Obama’s impending election victory this month, David Bositis, a senior research associate and pollster at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, said on Saturday.

They ask you how interested you are in the election, if you know where your polling place is, whether you’ve voted there, how often you vote, whether you’ll vote on election day, how sure are you to vote, and whether you voted in 2008,” Bositis told Journal-isms in a follow-up email on Monday.

“On 10/26 Gallup released a demographic analysis of its tracking poll, and found that 78% of likely voters were nonhispanic white; on election day that number was 72%. First, blacks and hispanics are younger than whites and more likely to have recently moved. Obama’s campaign targeted occasional voters and got many of them to the polls. Further, I bet when these questions were originally designed and tested, they were designed and tested on white voters.”

Frank Newport, Gallup editor in chief, conceded to Journal-isms by telephone on Monday, “It may be that in this election that those particular questions need to be and will be reviewed by Gallup.

“We’ve been using those questions for decades, but times change.”