By GABRIELLA CANAL
Early Saturday morning at a local school, I bubbled in my choices, signed my name and slipped my voting ballot into the scanner. Early voting in Florida had begun and, with elections less than a week away and much talk about Republicans yielding political gains, I truly have not seen much news media coverage on a midterm election of such political importance.
This year’s midterm elections, as opposed to 2006’s highly covered one, has not had much presence in any of the three big networks: ABC, NBC and CBS. Around 23 million viewers tune into these networks as their source of information, trumping almost all other networks. America’s media watchdog, Media Research Center, found that the “Big Three” aired a combined 159 campaign stories during the 2006 election and have only aired a meager 25 this year.
“Amazingly, since Sept. 1 ABC’s newly-renamed World News Tonight has yet to feature a single mention of this year’s campaign, let alone a full story. In contrast, eight years ago ABC’sWorld News aired 36 stories that discussed that year’s midterm campaign, including a weekly Thursday night feature that then-anchor Charlie Gibson promised would look at the ‘critical races,’” said Drennen and Noyes — two journalists covering this strange media blackout.
Instead, news of troubles overseas and social crises have taken the limelight. Albeit, these issues of Ebola outbreaks, ISIL’s movements, and Ferguson’s latest outcries are all pressing and of major concern to the American audience, the midterm election deserves its fair share of coverage.
Additionally, Drennen and Noyes found that “eight years ago, there was no escaping the negative news for Republicans. Not only were polls projecting a major swing to the Democrats, but a scandal involving Florida Representative Mark Foley received major attention from all three network evening newscasts. Of the 159 network evening news stories that fall, nearly two-thirds (103, or 65 percent) conveyed either mainly bad news about Republican candidates, or mainly good news about the Democrats, vs. just seven (4 percent) conveying the opposite message.”
This issue started out looking like another case of poor media prioritizing but is actually beginning to show all of the symptoms of media bias. Let’s look at the obvious: the networks are giving little air time to the bad political news for the Democrats this midterm election. In 2006, when the Democratic party had the upper hand, that was all that the news tickers read. One would think networks of such prestige and power would uphold even the most simple of journalistic standards. Rather, one would expect that.
But who is truly at the source of this issue: The networks, the advertisers that support the networks or the six corporate conglomerates that own the majority of mass media outlets in the U.S. (Disney, Comcast, Time Warner, etc.)? Most importantly, will this trend continue in the coming years after the results are in?
To read more about this media black out, follow the link: http://www.mrc.org/media-reality-check/tv-news-blacks-out-years-bad-election-news-democrats.