How Negative was this year's Election Coverage?

Friday, November 09, 2012


Bob talks to Mark Jurkowitz, Associate Director of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, who studied the tone and scope of this year's election coverage. Jurkowitz says that the tone of this election season was extremely negative, both in mainstream and social media.

Deaf City - White Lake


Mark Jurkowitz

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [4]

Mark P from San Francisco, CA

I love the irony of putting a segment decrying the negativity of the media coverage of Obama and Romney campaigns alongside a segment about the numerous promises Obama made during the 2008 election that he didn't follow through with.

Nov. 21 2012 04:00 PM
K from NYC

Just wanted to say that I really like the track following this segment. And I was even happier when I found out that this site provides links to all the music used in each show.

Thanks again, OTM/WNYC.

Nov. 10 2012 04:39 PM

The negativity of the Obama campaign was quantified, by the Wesleyan Media Project, which seemed to demonstrate that the Obama Campaign ("I approved this message") was the biggest single player in terms of ad buys in hotly contested media markets, and that it set a new record for negativity, in terms of attacking the opponent.

In this interview, Mr. Jurkowitz seemed wistful if not disappointed that an important and worthy topic like American military involvement in Afghanistan got so little mention in the campaign. I won't argue that point. What I do wonder, because the media had by far the most control over the subject matter, was why 'abortion in cases of rape' got so much coverage. There was a suggestion in this interview, that I frankly did not understand, that Benghazi was a "politicized" issue. That term -- indeed the concept -- wasn't defined. Is the suggestion that Benghazi wasn't an important event? Or that only one side regarded it as an important event? What does it mean to be a politicized event, and was Benghazi the only one?

It may get tricky here, because I don't know what the totality of the interview with Mark Jurkowitz included. Maybe he found something interesting -- something "politicized" -- on the decidely low Senatorial priority of 'abortion in cases of rape,' but it was left on the cutting room floor after editing... by Brooke.

One last thing. This is such a big deal to me every year, because it has become so unusual (no other liberal media outlet is so willing to confess) and so very consistent. Once again, polled its staff -- at least those willing to say publicly -- on how they would be voting. And the numbers for 2012 were much like 2000, 2004 and 2008:


Obama: 31

Romney: 2

Gary Johnson: 2

Jill Stein: 1

No one: 1

Nov. 10 2012 07:00 AM

Naturally no mention that a sitting President ran one of the most negative and expensive campaigns in history making a mockery of the civility trope and voter suppression accusations put out by his minions. Negative campaigns are designed not to win votes for a candidate but to completely disgust the electorate and turn them off from voting and thus suppress the vote which it successfully accomplished.

Recently the late Lee Atwater was discussed along with his notorious campaign skulduggery in a less consequential election. Is seems the critics of the long past Lee Atwater will demand no calls for divine absolution or pleas for forgiveness from the producers of year's extreme nastiness but will only offer their applause, congratulations and gratitude for this campaign which will decide the financial future of the nation and the world in this century.

Nov. 10 2012 12:04 AM

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