Updated MRC Iraq Study: ABC, CBS, NBC Still Airing Six Negative Stories to Every Positive

December 13th, 2005 11:24 PM
Just in time for the media’s latest knee-jerk reflex of gloom preceding this week’s elections, MRC’s Rich Noyes has updated his year-long study of 2005 Iraq war coverage on ABC, CBS, and NBC. A new review of media coverage in October and November continues the pessimistic trend, with the traditional broadcast networks airing six stories in negative tones for every Iraq story with a positive angle. Read the whole thing for a summary of John Murtha’s instant TV stardom and Jake Tapper’s readiness to believe wild claims of detainee abuse, carefully excluding wacky claims that American soldiers use lions to scare detainees. The official story count falls this way:

[B]etween October 1 and November 30….we could classify only 34 stories (10%) as positive or optimistic, compared to 200 (62%) that emphasized negativity or pessimism about the Iraq mission, a six-to-one disparity. (The remaining 90 stories were neutral.) During the first nine months of the year, we found 211 stories (15%) emphasizing positive developments, compared with 848 (61%) that relayed mainly bad news. For the year, the number of negative stories on Iraq stands at 1,048 (61%), to just 245 positive stories (14%).

One reason for all the negativity was heavy coverage of suicide bombings and other terrorist violence. The networks collectively aired 125 stories about such attacks, about 39 percent of the total. Some of the carnage seemed aimed at getting media coverage, and the networks did not resist those who murdered their way onto TV screens....As we found earlier this year, few stories (just five in two months) featured stories of American soldiers’ heroism, while nearly four times as many (19) focused on allegations of U.S. wrongdoing, including the accidental killing of civilians and claims of prisoner mistreatment.