Politico on the Biases “That Matter”

Politico’s Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris take readers through political journalists’ biases (the ones that “matter so much more” than “ideological bias”) and how they, and some of the particulars of this campaign, have redounded mostly to Obama’s benefit.

One example:

Obama has benefited from his ability to minimize internal drama and maximize secrecy — and thus to starve feed the press’ bias for palace intrigue. In this sense, his campaign bears resemblance to the two run by George W. Bush.

There’s also “the bias in favor of momentum” (“a candidate who is perceived to be doing well tends to get even more positive coverage”) which is countered by “the bias against boredom” (a need to keep things exciting/competitive).

And then there’s “the bend-over-backward bias” (trying “so hard to avoid accusations of favoritism that it clouds critical judgment”) as demonstrated by “stories suggesting Palin held her own or even won her debate against Joe Biden when it seemed obvious she was simply invoking whatever talking points she had at hand, hanging on for dear life.” (Something Campaign Desk addressed at the time).

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.