Or something like that.
It's getting very confusing in terms of tracking the studies that purport to show 'positive' and 'negative' coverage of the campaign. The latest to lay out its findings is Center for Media and Public Affairs, which claims that after watching the evening news broadcasts have favored Obama over McCain.
According to the AP:
Comments made by sources, voters, reporters and anchors that aired on ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts over the past two months reflected positively on Obama in 65 percent of cases.
The Center's Robert Lichter sounds surprised by the findings [emphasis added]:
For whatever reason, the media are portraying Barack Obama as a better choice for president than John McCain. If you watch the evening news, you'd think you should vote for Obama.
Two slightly monumental problems with that way of thinking. First, Republican John McCain went from being tied in the polls in September to trailing by double-digits in October, so of course the coverage of his campaign is going to be more 'negative' because it's headed south. That seems self-evident.
The second problem is the methodology that Lichter's Center used. As the AP explained:
When NBC's Andrea Mitchell reported Oct. 1 that some conservatives say that Sarah Palin is not ready for prime-time, that's marked in the negative column for McCain.
Re-read that and let it sink in. When conservatives criticized the GOP ticket on the evening news, that was chalked up as negative coverage in the Center's study. Yet now conservatives are going to use that study to claim the networks have a liberal bias.
Neat trick, eh?