Bunch on Bias

The Philadelphia Daily News’s Will Bunch joins the most recent “media bias” discussion:

[T]he polls are pointing strongly toward a victory by Barack Obama tonight, and that can only mean one thing.

The blame game has already begun in Red America.

And the spinning arrow is pointing directly at “the media…”

…There’ve been more negative articles about McCain — doesn’t that prove that the media is biased?

Not really. My own unscientific perception, from reading a ton of coverage, is that McCain’s lead in negative articles is because a) he’s run a much more negative campaign, with harsher attacks, especially after Sarah Palin, with her know-nothing rallies, joined the varsity team and b) he’s losing, which is the ultimate negative, including the flood of disgruntled GOP aides leaking bad stuff to the media. The result is something that should be obvious yet seems counter-intuitive to a lot of people: Given the state of this race and the way that McCain and Palin conducted their campaign, what really would have been bias for the media to would have been to write the same number of negative and positive stories about both McCain and Obama.

Which reminds me, in part, of what Richard Stevenson, who heads up the New York Times’s campaign coverage, recently told the Times’ public editor:

There is a great degree of angst now among Republicans about their prospects for president and down the ballot. There is a great degree of optimism among Democrats. That all leads you to a conclusion right now, as a snapshot in time, that Obama is in a better position than McCain is in. That’s the reality, and we’re not going to put our finger on the scale to pretend otherwise.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.