Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, August 05, 2003  

Via Howard Kurtz comes this news from Harvard: conservative papers are far more partisan, more intensely critical of the opposition, and far more likely to give a pass to conservatives.

The major findings:

"The liberal papers criticized the Clinton administration 30% of the time. By contrast, the conservative papers criticized the Bush administration just 7% of the time.

The liberal papers praised the Clinton administration only 36% of the time (the balance were mixed). The conservative papers, on the other hand, praised the Bush administration 77% of the time.

The liberal papers criticized Bush 67% of the time. The conservative papers criticized Clinton 89% of the time."

Put another way, the liberal papers praised, criticized, and gave mixed press to Clinton in roughly thirds. The conservative papers praised Bush three-quarters of the time, criticized him once in twenty times, and the balance was mixed. Remind me again, who's fair and balanced?

But wait, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Working from the numbers Kurtz quotes, here's some startling percentages. In the first years of each of the last two Attorney Generals, the Washington Post and NY Times both ran 47 editorials. For Janet Reno, 26% were positive, 30% were mixed, and 45% were negative. For John Ashcroft, they were a little more negative, but not much: 17% positive, 28% mixed, and 55% negative. The two liberal papers were 10% more negative about Ashcroft than Reno.

With the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times, however, it was night and day. Janet Reno rated one positive review between them (3%), 18% were mixed, and 79% were negative. Johnny, however, they love. He gets 76% positive, 12% mixed, and 12% negative. The two conservative papers were 67% more negative about Reno than Ashcroft.

There are similar findings about the administrations. Kurtz writes:

When Hillary's health care task force was sued in 1993 to open its records, the NYT wrote four editorials, all negative toward the Clintons. The WP had one mixed. The WSJ wrote eight, all negative. The WT had seven, all negative.

The New York Times, for example, called the Clinton secrecy "unseemly, possibly illegal and wrong." The Washington Times said that "if ever there was a situation that demanded that all ethics regulations be followed down to the last dot on the last 'i' and the last cross on the last 't' it is the doings of the health care task force."

Cut to Dick Cheney's energy task force keeping its records secret. The NYT, as it had with Hillary, wrote five editorials, all negative. The WP wrote one, mixed. The WSJ wrote one positive, and the WT wrote one positive, one mixed and one negative.

Said the Journal: "This purely political lawsuit was [John Dingell and Henry Waxman's] attempted end-run around the Constitution's tedious separation of powers."

The Washington Times compared the Hillary and Cheney situations, saying: "Perhaps the most important difference between the two task forces is that no one on the Bush team is channeling policy from Eleanor Roosevelt."

I'd love to see Bernie Goldberg spin these findings.

posted by Jeff | 2:06 PM |
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