Study: Fox News, MSNBC more 'extreme' in final week of campaign
November 20th, 2012
02:17 PM ET
1 year ago

Study: Fox News, MSNBC more 'extreme' in final week of campaign

(CNN) - A new study finds the discrepancy between Fox News and MSNBC's coverage of the two presidential candidates differed most substantially during the final week of the campaign compared to the rest of the press' coverage of the election.

While the study, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, shows two cable news channels differed from the rest of the media's coverage about the candidates throughout the election, the difference was more pronounced from October 29 through November 5, the final week of the campaign.

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"In the final week of the campaign, both Fox News and MSNBC became even more extreme in how they differed from the rest of the press in coverage of the two candidates," said the Pew Research Center about this portion of the study's findings.

"Fox News was much more positive about (Mitt) Romney than the press as a whole and substantially more negative about (President Barack) Obama. MSNBC was even more overwhelmingly negative about Romney and offered mostly positive coverage about Obama."

The study indicates Fox News' negative coverage of Obama grew from 47% in the first four weeks of October to 56% in the final week, while positive coverage of Romney grew eight points, from 34% to 42%, in the final week.

Meanwhile on MSNBC, positive coverage of Obama grew from 33% during the first four weeks of October to 51% in the last week. MSNBC's negative coverage of Romney increased 11 points in the last week, from 57% to 68%.

In the final week of the campaign, news focused around Superstorm Sandy, its devastating effect on the East Coast and emergency response on both the federal and local level. Overall, the president received more positive coverage during the final week while the tone of Romney's coverage remained similar to previous weeks. The study stated the storm appeared to reduce the amount of coverage Romney received leading up to the election and may have influenced attitudes about Obama.

The study was conducted from October 22 through November 5, the last 15 days of the campaign, among 660 stories from 49 mainstream outlets.


Filed under: 2012
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. james

    And is CNN implying that they were somehow were in the middle?

    Headline from CNN:
    • Democrats keep Senate
    • GOP retains grip on House

    November 20, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Want fair and balanced news? Stick with CNN or PBS/NPR News.

    November 20, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Non-story: the cheerleaders grew more strident in the last week.

    November 20, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. SM

    CNN was clearly not in middle. They were so pro-Obama all the way...

    November 20, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Bruce

    MSNBC's more negative coverage of Romney was justified. He said and did more dumb things during the last week...DUH.

    November 20, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Jen

    The last thing we need in office is another Bush! No thank you!

    November 20, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. lovespandas

    Why is this news? Fox exposes the lies of the administration and the MSM's covering up of same!

    November 20, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Jim

    In other news, earth continues to revolve around sun....

    November 20, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Tree

    CNN your point, because you CNN was all about ROMNEY . That's the reason why I turned you off doing that week. Romney this Romney that. You even did a bite about Romney and Obama. Romney was on pride time while Obama come on after ten. So mess us with the BS. We all know that you were for ROMNEY....

    November 20, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. ST

    Too much of "fair and balanced" of Fox News while they are not. (By the way I don't hear that narrative anymore). MSNBC has never declared so.

    November 20, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. For Obama

    msnbc should not even be in this piece of work. anyway, whatever cnn.

    November 20, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. For Obama

    So CNN is saying that Sandy changed minds about the candidates...I highly doubt that. Makes no sense.

    November 20, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Elsie E Connelly

    CNN is not in the middle, neither are ABC, CBS, NBC. They are all out for Obozo. They are the lying mainstream media. I dislike all of the above immensely, thus, I do not believe them at all.

    November 20, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    And where did you rank CNN? You guys didn't seem fair and balanced to me. It looked like you were in Willard's pocket. From John King, Erin Burnett, David Gergen, Alex Castellanos. They all looked like a bunch of GOP stooges going off of their inaccurate Karl Rove polls. BTW CNN, where's the story on Anonymous stopping Karl Rove from stealing the election in 3 states?

    November 20, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. RF

    We could do with both entities disappearing! Both are equally ignorant and biased.

    November 20, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. HunterPSU

    another interesting bit of info was MSNBC had 0 negative stories on B.O. and 0 positive stories on romney.

    November 20, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. DNelson

    This is what you get from the Pew study with the headline: "Obama Enjoys Surge in Positive Coverage the Last Week of the Race; Attention to Romney Drops." The extremes of Fox and MSNBC were but a footnote in the study. Such misreporting signals exactly CNN's bias.

    November 20, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Nameleon riege

    Unless these news services are targeting our state representitives who sit in the electorial college it doesnt matter even a little

    November 20, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Data Driven

    Meh. I suspect the study is just as subjective as the networks it studies. In any case, better to cheerlead than to completely misunderstand a Supreme Court opinion ... Remember, CNN?

    November 20, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    MSNBC's negative coverage of Romney increased 11 points in the last week, from 57% to 68%.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Well hell that's because Robmey went buck wild with his lying and factless allegations.
    The man went totally off the reservation in a desperate last minute attempt to garner a few more votes by lying about everything and everybody.
    So maybe that would explain why his negative reporting went up.
    I'm just surprised at how low those numbers were. I would've thought that he'd gone from 57% to 100%.
    God knows he deserved no less.
    Pathetic.

    November 20, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. Al

    I watch all the channels and Soledad O'Brien was the biggest hack and most biased of all of them – even Fox and MSNBC which is pretty scary. Unfortunately, these days I think people just watch the channel they agree with most. If people felt they could trust the media on either spectrum they could get big viewership. But that said I am pretty sure the media is most likely trusted less than politicians.

    November 20, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Jermaine

    Great story....We kind of already knew this but it's good to see the numbers.....Even the foxnews affiliates like "yahoo.com" increased their negative headlines about the President. It actually became fun game with me and my facebook friends to go to Foxnews and count the number of negative headlines that were dedicated to the president and the number of postiive headlines for the Romney campaign. I think the day before the election there were 17 negative headlines on the Foxnews website about the president and 11 positive headlines about Romney. There we zero positive headlines for the president and zero negative headlines about Romeny. It was so obvious that it was humorous.

    November 20, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. Al-NY,NY

    Elsie E Connelly

    CNN is not in the middle, neither are ABC, CBS, NBC. They are all out for Obozo. They are the lying mainstream media. I dislike all of the above immensely, thus, I do not believe them at all.
    -------------

    neither is Fox Snews, the papers Washington Times, WSJ, Boston Herald, NY Post who espouse GOP talking points. The left has papers too. If you don't like CNN and "don't believe them at all" then why are you here? You must be real mad sitting in front of your computer reading this stuff. Hw do you contain yourself??

    November 20, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Gurgyl

    John king the idiot too...

    November 20, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. cadillac

    MSNBC is the only news channel that would call out the lies that Fox News & Romney tells. CNN just let the lies go on, without letting the American people know they are lies. I hate it when CNN does that. Take notes from Ms. Crowley. Keep up the good work MSNBC.

    November 20, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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