2012 United States Presidential Election Media Study

media

Executive Summary

The FDA measured significant bias in total campaign news coverage for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, 54 percent to 44.75 percent and almost non-existent campaign coverage of third-party presidential candidates. As examples, only one day in the last 32 days of the American presidential election did Romney have more news coverage than Obama, and Obama had overall more positive news coverage and less negative news coverage than Romney. The FDA’s total measurements correlate exactly in ranking to the U.S. popular vote results, and very similar in terms of percentages of candidates’ coverage and percentages of candidates’ popular votes with an average deviation of 1.07 percent. The FDA Media Study pertains to the last 32 days of the 2012 American Presidential Election. The FDA data collectors tracked media biases in the U.S. national newspaper, radio, and television sectors including online content, and collected 7,924 data points. The FDA data is based on 47.66 percent of the national newspaper market, 21.91 percent of the radio news/talk/information market, and 97.72 percent of the National News Networks, Cable News, and Public News market. Overall, the FDA media study presents significant evidence that the U.S. national media limited electoral discourse and influenced the 2012 U.S. presidential election outcome, rather than fully inform the American electorate about their electoral choices. Based on the 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on the U.S. and the media study measurements, the FDA recommends that the American national media be regulated through a legislated Code of Conduct during the 60 and 30 day federal electioneering periods, in order to support broad and balanced electoral discourse, and a fully informed electorate. Presently, the American federal electoral system allows U.S. national media companies/programs/shows to have an unregulated and imbalanced influence on electoral discourse, and ultimately undue influence on federal election outcomes, thereby undermining American democracy.