At the top of Tuesday's O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, host Bill O'Reilly rightly observed "the American media overwhelmingly favoring Barack Obama over Mitt Romney" and predicted that the slanted news coverage "will give the President about 3% or 4% of the popular vote" in the general election.
O'Reilly cited numerous studies over several years that demonstrated the media predisposition that "clearly favors the more liberal candidate, and has for decades." In 2004, then-assistant managing editor of Newsweek magazine, Evan Thomas, made a prediction remarkably similar to O'Reilly's when he admitted that media bias in favor Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was "going to be worth maybe 15 points," a number he revised down to five points months later.
On Tuesday, O'Reilly explained the electoral impact of the media being in the tank for the Democratic Party:
...it gives the Democrats a major advantage because their agenda – whether it's bashing Mitt Romney or promoting the President – will be covered far more extensively than the Republican agenda. Second, stories that make the President look bad will be played down in the national press. While anything Mitt Romney does will be described as a gaffe, a mistake or just plain dumb.
A clear example of that can be seen in the refusal by NBC, ABC, and CBS to cover a nasty and false pro-Obama ad that suggests Romney contributed to a woman's death from cancer, while at the same time promoting the President's resurrection of the GOP "war on women" meme.
O'Reilly led the Talking Points Memo segment by referencing a Monday discussion with media critic Bernie Goldberg, who told viewers: "Look, obviously journalists are Barack Obama's most loyal base. They will not abandon him and they've got too much invested in him."
Much of that discussion centered around a Media Research Center study that found that 86% of the network news coverage of Romney's recent overseas trip focused on supposed gaffes and missteps rather than on the substance of the trip itself.
Here is a full transcript of O'Reilly's August 7 Talking Points Memo:
8:00PM ET TEASE:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama speak, my – I felt this thrill going up my leg.
BILL O'REILLY: Once again, the American media overwhelmingly favoring Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. How much will that affect the vote? We will tell you.
8:01PM ET SEGMENT:
O'REILLY: President Obama and the American media, that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo. Last night on the Factor, Bernie Goldberg said this about the political media and President Obama:
BERNIE GOLDBERG: So they drooled all over him four years ago and all they could find now are gaffes in Romney's trip. Look, obviously journalists are Barack Obama's most loyal base. They will not abandon him and they've got too much invested in him.
O'REILLY: And what Bernie says is true. Here's the backup. 2004, Kerry vs. Bush. University of Connecticut study of 300 journalists nationwide found 52% supported Kerry, just 19% favored Bush. 2007, the Pew Research Center did a survey of 585 journalists, it found 32% of them describe themselves as liberal. 8% – 8% – say they're conservative. The rest claim to be moderate.
In 2008, another Pew survey assessed the tone of the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain. It found that fewer than a third of the stories about Mr. Obama were negative. While more than half the stories about John McCain cast him in a negative light, were negative. Even worse, less than 20% of the stories about Senator McCain, a certified war hero, were positive. Less than 20%. More than 33% of the reports on Mr. Obama were favorable. So you can see the press in America clearly favors the more liberal candidate, and has for decades.
Now, what does this mean in the upcoming election? Well, first of all, it gives the Democrats a major advantage because their agenda – whether it's bashing Mitt Romney or promoting the President – will be covered far more extensively than the Republican agenda. Second, stories that make the President look bad will be played down in the national press. While anything Mitt Romney does will be described as a gaffe, a mistake or just plain dumb.
The cumulative effect of this will to influence voters who do not pay attention. Those of you who watch the Factor and listen closely to what the candidates are saying will not likely be influenced by the media, we know that. But the folks who spend most of their time in recreational pursuits could be very much influenced by the pro-Obama coverage. They're here, here, and there. Talking Points estimates that will give the President about 3% or 4% of the popular vote.
Finally, why are most journalists liberal? Peer pressure, the main reason. Bernie Goldberg and I worked at CBS News at the same time, and if you were not politically correct, if you were traditional, you were suspect in the eyes of management, and that included Dan Rather. When I worked at ABC News, things weren't as bad because Peter Jennings did not like blatant partisanship, although he himself was a liberal thinker. So in order to prosper in their careers, many journalists believe they have to toe the liberal party line. The second thing is, they want to toe the liberal party line because a lot of journalists are educated in liberal universities and brought up in liberal environments. Not a lot of Levittown or Abilene guys in the national press, no spin. And that's the Memo.