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

Posted by Sverre in : US Presidential election , trackback

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.

The Republican convention seemed to be a changing point. Before this the coverage of Obama’s campaign outweighed McCain’s by much more. A significant “Palin effect” seems to account for much of this. Palin has grabbed a major part of the media attention after her appointment. First impression, without having done actual counting is that she has contributed much to volume of articles, but that the positive and negative coverage balances out. After her appointment as VP candidate, it was largely positive, but as the novelty of her candidature has faded, she seems to attract more and more negative focus.

A complete exported table of the data can be found here in Microsoft Word format:080930_uselectiontable This is available in other formats on request.

The saved information is the date, title of the article in Norwegian, my translation into English, the URL, the name of the newspaper and an encoding of bias towards each candidate, where 0 means it’s roughly balanced, 1 means it’s mainly positive while -1 means it’s mainly negative. The “balance” statistic I use is merely the sum of these numbers for each candidate, while the count statistic is the number of non-empty fields for each candidate.

On article titles I might add that I started out not translating, but rather describing in one sentence in English, and changed to more or less literal translaitons later on. Also some articles have different headlines on the newspaper front page and main page. In such cases I’ve picked one more or less at random. In other words, too much shouldn’t be read into article titles.


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