Democrats vs. Republicans: Campaign Coverage

An initiative dubbed as 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, according to the 4th Estate Project.

The infographic released today, August 7, by The 4th Estate indicates that the conservative strategy is succeeding.

As the electioneering is gaining momentum in the U.S., tech companies are offering a slew of solutions to make political processes efficient for the parties and candidates. (Read: How Technology is Entering the American Political Arena)

[ Also Read: PBS NewsHour Plans Coverage of Political Conventions ]

In a related development, news and information media company USA TODAY has launched the USA TODAY/Twitter Election Meter. It tracks the Twitter Political Index, a daily measure of sentiment expressed by Twitter users about President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. (Read: What Twitter Says for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney)

“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.”

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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.

In May of this year, The 4thEstate released an infographic that showed a significant gender gap in election coverage. This infographic, showed men being quoted six times more often than women.

The project aims 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.

Photo courtesy: The 4thEstate

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Rakesh Raman