Study Finds No Media Bias on War, Hits Fox News As Most One-Sided

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By: E&P Staff

The Project for Excellence in Journalism?s ?State of the American News Media 2005,? released late Sunday, disputes charges of antiwar media bias but found that President Bush received more ?negative? coverage in the 2004 campaign than did Sen. John F. Kerry.

And it determined that Fox News Channel was the most one-sided of all major news outlets. In fact, the idea that Americans are engaged in “partisan” news consumption isn’t supported by the research. With the exception of Republicans who prefer Fox News, most media use mirrors the general population, the study found.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism is affiliated with the Columbia University School of Journalism. The study was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Washington-based project examined more than 2,000 stories on the war in Iraq and found that 25% of the stories were negative and 20% were positive. ?The majority of stories were just news,” said the project?s director, Tom Rosenstiel.

Fox News Channel was twice as likely to be positive than negative, while CNN and MSNBC were evenhanded.

The three network evening newscasts tended to be more negative than positive, while the opposite was true of morning shows, the study said.

A more limited analysis of campaign coverage found that Bush received more negative, and less positive, coverage than Kerry during the fall campaign. Rosenthiel thinks this may be partly because a president in office always gets more criticism, and the setbacks in the war added to this.

There are clear differences between Fox News and its cable rivals, the study found. Fox News stories contain more sources and reveal more about them than those of its competitors, but its stories are also more one-sided and are more opinionated.

Indeed, Fox News journalists offer their own opinion in seven out of ten stories on the news channel, versus less than one in ten stories on CNN and one in four on MSNBC.

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