Positive about the Negative

Campaign Carl reports, Media Matters decides. Only, again, they decided wrong...way wrong.

Carl Cameron is a most unlikely "bloody shirt" for the anti-Fox cabal to be waving at every opportunity, but they don't give up. David Brock's Media Matters site takes another shot, but misses the target by a country mile. Cameron reported on Fox's Special Report:

Kerry and Edwards both, almost every day accuse the Bush-Cheney campaign of waging a personally negative attack campaign. And there have been independent studies that suggest that both sides have been particularly nasty already, and it's only going to get more nasty as the general election nears.

One of Brock's "truth-squad" replies:
Contrary to Cameron's claim that "both sides have been particularly nasty," the only "independent studies" Media Matters for America found suggest that the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign has been much more negative than has Kerry-Edwards '04 -- at least when it comes to TV ads....The nonpartisan media consulting group TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group showing that 70 percent of Bush's 70,000 ads in the prior three months were "critical of Kerry," compared with only 25 percent of Kerry's 56,000 ads that "mention Bush."

Trick number one: MM cites a study about "the prior three months". Funny, but we didn't see anything in Cameron's report that said he was only talking about 90 days' worth of advertising.

Trick number two: the only independent studies MM "found". Of course, to find, you have to look. So this doesn't prove that Cameron is wrong, only that MM stops looking when they find something that fits their purpose (even though its 90-day window makes it of dubious relevance). Write the storyline first, look for something to prop it up second.

Trick number three: whatever you do, don't use Google. If you did, you might have stumbled across the Wisconsin Advertising Project from the University of Wisconsin; they monitor and study political advertising, and are funded in part by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Do you think their studies might just qualify as "independent"?

The project issued a report in March on campaign ads, and, unlike Media Matters, did not restrict themselves to a 90-day window:

The Kerry campaign has been attacking Bush since the beginning of the primary season. The new data indicate that 100% of Kerry's election ads through the beginning of this week, and 78% of his primary ads, mentioned the President, making Kerry the Democratic candidate who aired the greatest number of critical ads. Also, none of his primary advertising ever mentioned any of his primary opponents....Democratic groups joined the fray, launching what would become the most extensive independent Democratic advertising assault so early on a sitting president.

The title of this report, by the way, was Bush, Dem TV Adv Near Equal; Bush--More Positive than Not; Dems--Not.

If we could find this independent study in five minutes of Googling, why is it that the well-funded, heavily staffed Media Matters is telling gullible readers that such studies do not exist? Oh wait, it is run by David Brock.

posted: Wed - July 21, 2004 at 12:01 PM       j$p  send