Newt Gingrich

Back to the Facts

Conservative commentators question whether news spinning by the likes of Fox News mislead their audience into believing Mitt Romney would win in a landslide.Expecting the truth is an important as telling the truth, as evidenced by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's apparent shock that he lost an election he thought was in the bag.

Right-wing political spin-masters convinced themselves — or chose to believe — that credible polling and poll analysis, such as provided by The New York Times' Nate Silver, was "lame stream media" misinformation. They snarked that it was foolish, based on what happened in the 2010 elections, to use polling samples showing more Democrats voting than Republicans.

They were dreadfully wrong.

The Law of the Frontrunner

Campaign managers never believe their guy is getting fair coverage in the news media. And for news consumers, it’s hard to cut through all the noise of campaign coverage to judge who is ahead in garnering positive stories.

That is because election news coverage always seems like a horse race. Who’s ahead? Who’s behind? Campaign media managers need to take note; the perceived frontrunner usually gets more scrutiny and may feel a little uncomfortable under the lights.

Two weeks ago the tone of the Florida presidential primary news coverage was fairly similar, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).

“During the week from January 16 through January 22 (the day after the South Carolina primary), the two leading candidates for the Republican nomination also received a similar volume of coverage-and far more than that of any other GOP contenders,” the report said.

That week, Romney’s coverage was judged 35 percent negative and 33 per cent positive. Reporting on Gingrich was viewed as 28 percent negative and 28 percent positive.

This near-parity represents a large increase from the week before (January 9-15) in the amount of attention the media was paying to Gingrich.