Is There A Liberal Media Bias In Election 2012 Campaign Coverage?

Republicans Voices Outnumber Democrat Voices

MONTPELIER, Vt., Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ --  The 4th Estate Project (, has released a new infographic showing that coverage of the 2012 presidential election is biased toward Republicans, even in outlets traditionally considered part of the "liberal media."


It is often stated that impartiality is a core value of modern American journalism, what some commentators refer to as the "View from Nowhere."  This bedrock tenet of journalism has led to a consistent refrain that impartiality is routinely violated by a journalist corps whose personal beliefs affect their work, resulting in media bias.  The belief in this media bias has almost become cultural gospel.  It is a tried and true strategy to periodically complain about this bias in what author Eric Alterman refers to as "working the refs."   Just today, Mitt Romney decided now was a good time to use this gambit during an interview with Fox News.

The subject of media bias, and particularly liberal bias, has been a central theme of political maneuvering for decades. Conservatives often claim that media gatekeepers freeze out conservative ideas and have an ingrained slant toward liberal perspectives. "The myth of the liberal media empowers conservatives to control debate in the United States to the point where liberals cannot even hope for a fair shake anymore," says Eric Alterman.

The infographic released today by The 4th Estate indicates that this conservative strategy is succeeding. "Our data clearly shows that if the mainstream media does have a liberal bias, that bias isn't manifesting itself in the current campaign," says Max Krieg, a 4th Estate Strategic Media Analyst. "In fact, the data shows that Republicans are quoted 44% more than Democrats, and the coverage of Mitt Romney is significantly less negative than coverage of Barack Obama."

"Our technology can measure biases across different topics, media outlets, and journalists," says Michael Howe,  The 4th Estate's Chief Technology Officer. "The 4th Estate is the first system to be able to methodically and quantitatively track, monitor, and measure in real-time the key data points in this debate, specifically the quantitative measurement of quotes (what The 4th Estate refers to as "VoiceShare") and the sentiment of these quotes attributed to individuals and affiliate groups."

"We are currently tracking coverage of Election 2012, but this is just is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what our platform is capable of doing," says Jonas Eno-Van Fleet, The 4th Estate's Director of Operations. "I am very excited about our ability to bring some quantitative rationality to the question of whether liberal media bias exists.  It is also our goal to introduce a certain amount of transparency into the debate. Our long term goal is to analyze the media across multiple domains, and to make our data widely available in a format that can be verified quickly and easily by citizen consumers of the data."


The 4thEstate draws on a database of campaign coverage compiled on a daily basis starting in November, 2011. Using a proprietary quote-based research methodology that dynamically captures metrics on subject, topic, influence, and sentiment, The4thEstate is able to measure, in real-time, the day-to-day campaign coverage with unprecedented granularity. In May of this year,The 4thEstate released an infographic that showed a significant gender gap in election coverage. This infographic, showing men being quoted six times more often than women, went viral across the internet and was covered by outlets including The Washington Post, Slate, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, and others. This infographic was viewed by millions of people.

The mission of The 4thEstate project is to replace anecdote and speculation about the 2012 Election coverage with visual intelligence based on statistical analysis of the media. Goals of The 4thEstate include providing insight into the behavior of the candidates in the 2012 election as well as showing patterns in the behavior of journalists, media outlets and media corporations. The 4thEstate is a project of Global News Intelligence (GNI). GNI's decade-long experience building advanced media models makes The 4thEstate the most authoritative, in-depth campaign coverage tool available today.

Twitter: @4thEstateVoices

Media Contact: Michael Howe, 4th Estate Project, 802 476-9973,

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SOURCE 4th Estate Project

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