How does establishment media bias shape the theme of presidential elections?
Most veteran conservatives have long known that television personalities and major newspaper reporters give far more political donations to Democrats than Republicans, with almost no donations at all to genuine conservatives. The Washington Examiner reported in 2010 that, according to a Center for Responsive Politics survey about employees donations in 2008 at the three major news networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS), “The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees’ of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880. By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744.” This corresponds with earlier studies of the party registration of major media personalities and reporters conducted by the Media Research Center.
Even affiliates of NewsCorp, which owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, gave to Democrats in 2008 by a three-to-one margin, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. NewsCorp and the other media continue to give heavily to Democrats in the 2012 cycle as well, though NewsCorp CEO Rupert Murdoch gave $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association in the 2010 cycle.
Although the establishment media has a strong bias for liberalism and government intervention, it’s not political donations alone that reveal the real media influence on elections. The establishment media’s real major influence — what truly shapes the election — is whom it chooses to shine its spotlight on. That’s the key bias and the reason for the “flavor of the month” of Republican presidential front-runners throughout 2011.
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Photo of Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich (l-r): AP Images