The Center for Media and Public Affairs confirms it:
Network news coverage has favored Democratic candidates in the midterm election, and the page scandal involving former congressman Mark Foley has been the main story line, drawing almost as much coverage as Iraq and terrorism combined, a new study finds.
An analysis by the Center for Media and Public Affairs of midterm election stories aired on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts Sept. 5-Oct. 22 found that 2006′s coverage has been almost five times as heavy as in the 2002 midterm elections: 167 stories, compared with 35 four years ago.
The sheer volume of stories tells us something here. The predominantly liberal newsrooms of the major media are intensely interested in the outcome of this race.
The study found that three out of four evaluations of Democratic candidates’ chances of winning — such as sound bites — were positive, compared with one out of eight for Republicans. Coverage has been dominated by two major themes: the effects of the Foley scandal, and the impact the Bush presidency is having on the party’s congressional candidates.
The Foley scandal produced 59 stories alone, compared with 33 on Iraq and 31 on terrorism/national security issues. “What’s hurting Republican candidates is the media’s focus on two non-candidates: Mark Foley and George W. Bush,” says center director Robert Lichter.
Haven’t you heard? The election is a national referendum on the war. And Mark Foley.