PEJ's surveys also only included partial samples, looking at two out of four listed newspapers every day, sampling just the first half-hour of network morning shows, rotating NPR and PBS programming, and studying the first half-hour of Limbaugh every other day. That's like painting half a picture instead of a whole one. And still, after all that conservative commentary, it was still a net positive for Obama.
We at the Media Research Center found something else: The media hated McCain's commercials. Between the end of the primaries and Tuesday, network news broadcast 84 stories criticizing McCain ads, while only 32 had a negative tone toward Obama ads. Moreover, McCain was on the receiving end of nearly three times as many stories scolding his supposed negativity (66) as Obama (26).
Any Republican who thought that nominating the more centrist, media-gladhanding McCain would make for an easier road with the press were obviously proven wrong. Even he must acknowledge the fallacy in the belief that the media were "his base," just as Hillary Clinton, whose allegedly invincible carbon footprints still haunt the campaign trail, was forced to conclude. Given the way journalists turned on former favorites McCain and Clinton, is it any surprise that fresh, young, dynamic and conservative Gov. Sarah Palin was greeted by the media the way a school of piranhas greet lunch?
Polls showed the public saw that trend, too. Rasmussen reported that over half of U.S. voters (51 percent) agreed that reporters were trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and just five percent thought reporters were trying to help her.
It wasn't enough for the media that Obama rejected public funding and its attending limits, insuring that Obama's tidal wave of cash sloshed through battleground state TV markets and hammered McCain with a massive advantage in advertising time. The media's utter failure to make the campaign-finance imbalance an issue -- as they certainly would have if the roles were reversed -- only underlined the awesome one-sidedness.
Pundits talk about the "steep uphill climb" the Republicans have faced in this election cycle. But that hill was built with a landslide of media mud.