That “Celebrity” Thing

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How quickly it turns. The press is so predictable. Maybe media bias hunters should study Pavlov’s dog instead.

According to the LexisNexis® Analytics 2008 election dashboard, Sen. McCain was the subject of 59 percent more U.S. media coverage than Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) last week, the first week that Sen. McCain has received more press coverage than Sen. Obama since the election dashboard began tracking U.S. press coverage in early July. Moreover, Gov. Palin herself was the subject of 10 percent more coverage than Sen. Obama and received nearly nine times the amount of U.S. press coverage than her Democratic Party counterpart, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.).

Coverage Sentiment – Behind the Numbers

— Palin getting balanced coverage — The Media Coverage Sentiment Index from LexisNexis documents that more than three quarters of media coverage of Gov. Palin last week was either positive or neutral. Of the 6,027 stories that discussed Gov. Palin last week, 26 percent were rated as positive, 52 percent were neutral and 22 percent were negative. Also of note, this is the first time that more than half of a candidate’s coverage in a given week has been rated as neutral.
— Tone still similar for both campaigns – The tone of the media coverage garnered by both presidential candidates continues to be similar, according to the LexisNexis dashboard’s Media Coverage Sentiment Index. An evaluation of the 8,686 stories that discussed Sen. McCain during the period of Aug. 31st – Sept. 7th in U.S. print, broadcast and online media outlets found that 32 percent of the coverage was positive, 41 percent was neutral and 27 percent was negative. Of the 5,463 stories that discussed Sen. Obama during the same time frame and in the same group of U.S. media outlets, 29 percent were positive, 41 percent were neutral and 30 percent were negative.
— Biden not receiving attention — The election dashboard shows that Sen. Biden was comparatively ignored by the U.S. news media last week. In stark contrast to the other candidates on the two tickets, Sen. Biden was the subject of just 683 stories last week, 17 percent of which were positive, 69 percent were neutral and 14 percent were negative.