FDA Media Advisory on the 2012 U.S Media Election Study

abcResearch study finds skewed U.S. media coverage of 2012 presidential election

The Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) U.S. media study analyses major American media during the last 32 days of the 2012 American presidential election. The FDA data collectors tracked media in major newspapers, radio and television and online content and collected 7,924 data points.

The FDA data is based on 47.7 percent of the national newspaper market, 21.91 percent of the radio news/talk/information market, and 97.7 percent of the national news networks, cable news, and public news market. Overall, the FDA media study finds significant evidence that the U.S. national media limited electoral discourse and influenced the 2012 U.S. presidential election outcome rather than fully informing the American electorate about their electoral choices.

Key points gleaned from the study:

• The FDA measured 54 percent media coverage Barack Obama to 45 percent for Mitt Romney and almost non-existent campaign coverage of third-party presidential candidates.
• Three major U.S. broadcasters have an oligopoly over prime-time news coverage with an 82.2 percent audience market share.
• The FDA recommends that the U.S. Congress legislate a media code of conduct during the 60 day federal electioneering period and the 30 day electioneering period prior to the primaries.
• There is no requirement for broad and balanced election coverage nor are there media ownership concentration laws which prevent imbalanced and incomplete campaign coverage and media oligopolies and monopolies except in the case of uncompetitive practices.

Media contacts:

Stephen Garvey, Founder and Executive Director
Phone: 403- 669-8132
Email: stephen.garvey@democracychange.org

About the FDA

The Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) is an international non-partisan and independent democracy reform and advocacy organization. The FDA’s mission is to advance democracy worldwide in terms of transparency, fairness, and accountability, thereby helping to bring the voice of people to the forefront of democratic discourse. The FDA’s reforms are centered on engaging and educating the public on democracy issues and bridging what is in democratic society with what ought to be.

2012 FDA U.S. Presidential Election Media Study