COMMENTS: Update on Obama the Phenomenon

Hi guys. Sorry to be behind in my posting. I am working through the weekend to catch up. For those who need an update on the latest disparity in coverage between that media phenomenon and that mere Presidential candidate, here are the numbers. In the seven weeks since the primary season ended (04jun08-23jul08), John McCain has logged 67 minutes on the three broadcast networks' weekday nightly newscasts, Barack Obama 166. Do not construe this as undercoverage of McCain. For the record McCain '08 in the first six months (Jan-Jun) logged 203 minutes. That is plenty. It is more for the first two quarters than any other candidate in the previous five cycles: more than Bush '88 (167), Perot '92 (161), Clinton '92 (158), Kerry '04 (157), Bush '04 (133), Dole '96 (130), Bush '00 (111) and so on. McCain is getting plenty of coverage, judged as an historical candidate. Yet Obama, in the first six months of 2008, just broke the mold: 389 minutes. Obama gets more positive coverage, more negative coverage and more trivial coverage. Who else has stories filed about them on how he shakes hands with his wife? Or whether Jesse Jackson wants to castrate him? Or how he is lampooned on the cover of The New Yorker? The way the networks are covering this race, it is not a contest between Obama and McCain, it is a referendum on Obama. Obama's every last tic and subclause is hyperanalyzed to see if he is qualified to be President. The implicit message of the coverage is that if he is qualified, he wins. If not, McCain is President by default.

UPDATE: Here is an audio feed of Tyndall and the Project for Excellence in Journalism's Tom Rosenstiel on Friday's PBS Newshour.

Jan-Jun (mins) Democrat Republican
1988 Dukakis/Bush 53 167
1992 Clinton/Bush 158 94
1996 Clinton/Dole 37 130
2000 Gore/Bush 71 111
2004 Kerry/Bush 157 133
2008 Obama/McCain 389 203


Go read James Rainey in the LA Times. Your "analysis" is ridiculously superficial.
Obama was also involved in a much more competitive primary. Hence, more coverage. He also is the first African America to be his party's nominee. There's history being made there. It will equalize during the general.
What are those numbers above? Where did you get them?
"Obama was also involved in a much more competitive primary..."

Yes, but he received much more coverage than Hillary Rodham Clinton (283 min v 389) during the first six months of 2008 as well as John McCain so the primary contest only explains part of the disparity.

Mark E -- all numbers are from Tyndall Report's database. We have been tracking the networks' weekday nightly newscasts since 1987.
In a time such as this with all the unfair things that have happened through the History of our country, we ought to realize that these things will only promote hatred. The news media no longer reports news but personal opinions and try to sway the public opinions by manipulating their way of thinking and voting. This needs to stop not only is it unprofessional but it is wrong and something needs to happen inorder to prevent this kind of things wrath, strife, and envyings. In a time such as this it would be a good time for the Lord to come and put and end to all of the horror that goes on and on. We as a human race must stop all the hatred we have enough problems that exist in this world. What I would like to say to the News Media is this when reporting the News do just that we do not care for you personal opinions, you are paid to report the News do your job. So in the future after all the make-up is done on your faces come out and do your job which you are being paid for to report the News not as you see it but as it happens, then when you go home after your day or night is over you can express your personal opinions to whoever you so desire. When listening to the News we do not want your opinion just the news, thank you.

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