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On Fox and Obama October 15, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : United States , add a comment

The Daily beast brings a very interesting editorial piece about the struggle between Obama’s administration and Fox News. John Bathcelor points out that Fox isn’t primarily a news network, it’s an entertainment network that makes money from advertising. And they’re doing that very well right now:

None of what goes on in the evening has anything to do with government. The president and the Congress are discussed as omnipresent villains in a fairytale that begins with a happy kingdom of worthies, introduces an ogre, a witch, and a curse, and then interviews champions to come forward to rescue the frightened children and save the USA. All the while, Ming the Merciless, aka Rupert Murdoch, rakes up the ratings and the bucks.

The worst mistake Axelrod and Emanuel are making by confusing Fox News with the Republican Party is that they are confusing campaigning with entertaining and then letting this mistake blind them to the fact that the White House is for governing, not just staging.

Fox News is not in the news business; it’s in show business. The Republican Party, like its blood kin the Democratic Party, is in the campaign business. The White House is in the government business, though, from the evidence so far, it doesn’t know how to break out of the campaign business.

It all sounds rather logical to me. I’ve never been thought “taking on the media” was a particularly good idea. The winner in this struggle is surely Rupert Murdoch, who gets richer by the hour.

Political science podcasting February 5, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : meta, Reviews , add a comment

I’ve just used some of my research scholarship money to invest in a media player that I will use for recording purposes. But more than just record stuff like a dictaphone, I can also use it to play other media. Like podcasts.

I’ve never really had a player well suited to listening to podcasts before, but over the last two days I’ve been trying it out. And I was excited to find out how wonderful a tool this can be for those of us that have a somewhat more than average interest in political science. Now I can have political science lectures in debates in my ears all the time rather than just getting it in snippets on BBC or Norwegian broadcasting whenever they send something interesting. Now I can really cater to my nerdiness and be a political scientist even when out walking or skiing!

Henceforth, I will try to spread the gospel of political science podcasts through reviewing and recommending good podcast sources for political scientists from time to time. I’m currently trying out the podcasts from LSE, which show some real promise. A review will follow after I’ve listened through a couple of broadcasts and made up an opinion.

Pollster biases revealed November 3, 2008

Posted by Sverre in : Methods in political science, US Presidential election , add a comment

The Monkey Cage led me to a paper by Len Adleman and Mark Schiling that compares the election polls made by American networks. They’ve compared them to the polls made by Gallup And Rasmussen, and show that the political inclination of the networks seem to influence the polls. Fox’s polls show a trend of predicting more to the right, and CBS/NYT more to the left. This is really interesting.

I agree with Andrew Gelman who comments that this surprises him. I would expect their coverage of the polls to show some bias, but had expected the polls themselves to be done in a professional way eliminating personal biases. This apparently goes to show that being completely neutral is difficult if not impossible, even in quantitative analysis.

Has Obama already won? October 19, 2008

Posted by Sverre in : US Presidential election , 3comments

Obama has had a good lead on the polls for a few days now – does this mean he’s won? Here’s a side glance at what the internet thinks.

Yes, say Norwegian newspapers. The reason they all agree is of course because they all quote their favourite expert, professor Ole O. Moen from the University of Oslo. To Dagsavisen, for example, he says he thinks it will now take a real or imagined terror threat for Obama to lose. He doesn’t think Obama is going to make any big enough mistakes.  But with a single expert being quoted across the board I thought I’d look around a bit.

I assumed I could rely on Fox News to bring me predictions that didn’t favour that black yuppie, but their website did little more than confuse me. They were more interested in telling me that the great-great-great-granddaughter of a slave on McCain’s ancestor’s farm is now a psychology professor.

The Washington Post seems to think Obama will win. Among other things, they can tell us how McCain’s got trouble with media as Obama gets all the endorsements and the great maverick himself is starting a fight with the NYT. Just in case the unthinkable should happen and McCain wins, the Post has posted (ha-ha) some emergency help to journalists to help explain it. At least they list possible reasons why things might take an unexpected turn. (more…)

Norwegian media loves Obama, but doesn’t hate McCain September 30, 2008

Posted by Sverre in : US Presidential election , add a comment

As I wrote about some days ago, I’ve been gathering data on the Norwegian media coverage of the US Presidential Election. I’m now up to date with all registering of data, and have taken a little more time to analyze it. With 154 registered articles, the main conclusion still stands: Norwegian media favours Barack Obama both in volume and in positivity of the coverage.

Current numbers (September 30th 2008):
Obama: 106 articles, +29 balance
McCain: 73 articles, -3 balance

It does however seem clear as well that this enthusiasm doesn’t translate into a campaign against McCain. The coverage of McCain’s campaign seems well-balanced, with the number of negatively and positively angled articles roughly balancing each other out. (more…)

Norwegian media loves Obama September 20, 2008

Posted by Sverre in : US Presidential election, World politics , add a comment

With an estimated 23.000 eligible American voters, it isn’t likely the American presidential election will be decided in Norway. Still, there is a great interest in it. USA’s decisions, especially with regards to the economy and foreign policy affect the entire world. This year I’ve started my own little informal and quasi-scientific research project to see how Norwegian media covers the American election.

My hypothesis is that Norwegian media would favor any Democratic candidate very strongly over his or her Republican counterpart. I assume this to be a representation of the general opinion of the Norwegian public. I further assume that in this election, this favoritism will benefit Barack Obama greatly.

Obama McCain
# of articles 96 50
Bias points 28 4
Data extracted on: 20. september 2008

As the table above shows, the data so far supports this hypothesis quite clearly. With about 130 articles entered, the Obama campaign appears to have had about twice the coverage the McCain campaign has as counted in the number of articles. Furthermore, the amount of of positive coverage outweighs the negative coverage for both candidates, but much more so for Obama than McCain.
(more…)