FNC Highlights MRC Study on Network News Double Standard Between Dem and GOP Candidates

Saturday's Fox News Watch gave attention to a recent study released by the Media Research Center - parent organization to NewsBusters - documenting that the broadcast network morning newscasts gave more friendly treatment to Democratic presidential candidates in 2007 as compared to the GOP presidential field in 2011.

As he introduced the segment, host Jon Scott noted that, not only were questions for Democratic guests posed from a liberal point of view much more often than from a conservative point of view in 2007, but that questions for Republican candidates in 2011 have also been posed from a liberal point of view much more often than from a conservative viewpoint. Scott:

 

One conservative media watchdog group, the Media Research Center, examined 723 campaign-related segments, including 101 interviews from this past year. And here are the results. According to the MRC study, Republicans were asked to respond to questions with a liberal agenda 82 percent Of the time, and questions about their conservative agendas were asked only 18 percent of the time. Compare those results to 2007 when Democrats were asked about liberal agenda items 72 percent of the time, but on conservative issues only 28 percent of the time.

Right-leaning panel member Jim Pinkerton of American Conservative Magazine brought up the substantial number of "conservative" ideological labels used when the networks refer to Republican candidates, compared to the scant number of "liberal" labels for Democratic candidates:

Well, here's one that's hard to argue with, and that is that, according to the same data, they identified Republicans as, quote, "conservative," 49 times, and whereas they've, and they identified President Obama as a "liberal" one time ... identified him as a candidate back in 2007 one time. Whatever you want to say about the nature of the question, to simply use that label, liberal or conservative, automatically cuts you away from a lot of votes that you might get from non-liberals and non-conservatives, and to label somebody as one is to put them in a box and tries to keep them there.

Pinkerton added:

The Gallup poll, well, let's look at it this way: About 40 percent of the country is conservative, 20 percent are liberal, and the rest of them are moderates. That's Gallup, and it's pretty steady data. The point is, anytime you label somebody, they're below 50, and so automatically, everybody who's not a liberal says I'm a moderate or whatever I am, you're antagonized, and that's why they do it to hurt Republicans, but they don't do it ... (INAUDIBLE)

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Saturday, November 26, Fox News Watch on FNC:

JON SCOTT: Just over a month to go until the Iowa caucuses, and the Republican candidates are doing what they can to try to make an impression. They're becoming regulars on the big three network morning shows. But do the producers and anchors of those programs have an agenda against the Republican field? One conservative media watchdog group, the Media Research Center, examined 723 campaign-related segments, including 101 interviews from this past year. And here are the results. According to the MRC study, Republicans were asked to respond to questions with a liberal agenda 82 percent Of the time, and questions about their conservative agendas were asked only 18 percent of the time. Compare those results to 2007 when Democrats were asked about liberal agenda items 72 percent of the time, but on conservative issues only 28 percent of the time. Jim, what's going on here?

JIM PINKERTON, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: I think it might be liberal bias, and I hate to throw-

SCOTT: Ellen's rolling her eyes.

PINKERTON: Well, here's one that's hard to argue with, and that is that, according to the same data, they identified Republicans as, quote, "conservative," 49 times, and whereas they've, and they identified President Obama as a "liberal" one time ... identified him as a candidate back in 2007 one time. Whatever you want to say about the nature of the question, to simply use that label, liberal or conservative, automatically cuts you away from a lot of votes that you might get from non-liberals and non-conservatives, and to label somebody as one is to put them in a box and tries to keep them there.

ELLEN RATNER, TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE: If the Media Research study is correct and I read it just like you guys did, then, okay, they have a point, but I want to see how they really tag it because I'm not so sure that if I were sitting there watching the same clips with the same kind of questions and even the liberal and the conservative, I want to sit there with them.

JUDY MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: (INAUDIBLE) ... define liberal and conservative and how do they define it and how do they judge it and, you know-

PINKERTON: It was using the, it was, for clarity here to both of you, it was using the word, the L-word and the C-word.

RATNER: I understand, I understand, but I want to sit with them and see what else they're not necessarily, I mean, they have a media bias in the way they did this study.

PINKERTON: I'm sure they'd love to have you come over.

MONICA CROWLEY, TALK RADIO HOST: And the other point, too, is the use of the terminology among the networks, Jim, what you're saying is they use the word conservative, but they mean it in a derrogatory way. And they know that the L-word, the liberal word, carries a negative connotation, and so they're less likely to use it. It's also with the Wings - right-wing, left-wing - they're more inclined to say the right-wing candidate Michele Bachmann, but not the left-wing President Barack Obama.

SCOTT: Isn't that why many liberals are preferring to refer to themselves as conservative - I'm sorry - as progressives these days? But there issort of a negative connotation attached to that term.

PINKERTON: The Gallup poll, well, let's look at it this way: About 40 percent of the country is conservative, 20 percent are liberal, and the rest of them are moderates. That's Gallup, and it's pretty steady data. The point is, anytime you label somebody, they're below 50, and so automatically, everybody who's not a liberal says I'm a moderate or whatever I am, you're antagonized, and that's why they do it to hurt Republicans, but they don't do it ... (INAUDIBLE)

RATNER (WITH SARCASM): Like there's this grand media conspiracy, Jim.