In the ominously title report, "From Democratic Promoters to Republican Destroyers," Brent Bozell's Media Research Center set out once again to 'prove' just how liberally corrupt and biased the mainstream media are. Specifically, the report claimed that on the network morning shows, such as Today, hosts asked Republican candidates tougher, "adversarial" questions than they did Democratic candidates running four years ago.
Given Media Research Center's dubious history of truth telling, it's not surprising that upon closer scrutiny the report does not hold up. For instance, note the specific allegation that the networks gave "little airtime" to Republican candidates this year (between Jan. 1 and Sept. 15) as opposed to Democrats four years ago. (Bias!)
From MRC [emphasis added]
The leader of the pack was Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, who was featured in 14 morning show interviews totaling more than 71 minutes (see chart). The runner-up was former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who — despite the visibility gained from nine interviews totaling 42 minutes — never rose beyond single digits in the national polls and dropped out after a disappointing third-place finish in the August 13 Iowa straw poll.
Getting nearly as much attention as Pawlenty was billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who flirted with a candidacy back in March and April. Trump was featured in five interviews totaling 39 minutes. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman also appeared five times for a total of nearly 26 minutes, with Romney rounding out the top five with 21 minutes.
A potpourri of other candidates were also given a chance to reach the relatively large audience watching the networks' morning news shows: Texas Congressman Ron Paul (3 interviews, 17 minutes); former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (3 interviews, 14 minutes); former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (2 interviews, 10 minutes); and businessman Herman Cain (2 interviews, 7 minutes).
What was the Republican tally for morning news shows? A total of 247 minutes. To me, that seems like a healthy amount of time set aside for Republicans.
Please note that MRC makes a big deal out of the fact that the morning shows did not have Rick Perry on during the late summer as he became a major player in the GOP campaign. But does MRC have proof that the morning shows never invited Perry? Because the Texas governor declined to do almost all national media interviews during the late summer.
Meanwhile, how does that 247 minute total compare to Democratic candidates four years ago? We're supposed to believe it's much smaller than the times allotted to Democrats:
In 2007, Networks Flocked to Democratic Frontrunners: Four years ago, those same morning shows highlighted the frontrunners in the Democratic race. Hillary Clinton snagged the most airtime, with 10 appearances totaling 71 minutes (coincidentally, the same amount of time the GOP's only female candidate, Michele Bachmann, received this year). Then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama was featured in 11 interviews (52 minutes), followed by John Edwards (5 appearances, 47 minutes); former Vice President Al Gore, touted as a possible candidate in early 2007 (8 appearances, 43 minutes) and then-Delaware Senator Joe Biden (6 appearances, 28 minutes).
The Democratic tally? Um, 241 minutes, which is nearly identical to the Republican total of 247. So much for there being a Democratic bias. And oops, MRC included Al Gore on the list because he was a "possible candidate in early 2007."
From Feb. 9, 2007:
Former US vice-president Al Gore reiterated here that he does not intend to run for president in 2008 -- though he did not entirely rule out doing so further in the future.
So by the second month of 2007, Gore had made it clear he wasn't running. Yet MRC included all of Gore's morning show TV appearances between January and mid-September, most of them having to do with environmental issues, as part of its tally of Democratic candidates.
Truth is, if you subtract Gore from the list, the network morning shows devoted 198 minutes to Democratic candidates in 2007, compared to 247 minutes to Republicans this year. But yes, according to MRC that only proves the media's liberal bias.