You Read It Here First: Media Pick-Ups of MRC Studies

You read it here first! Thursday night, Fox News host Sean Hannity picked up on MRC's mini-study showing ABC's World News gave six times more attention to the outcry over Jim Bunning's attempt to slow the deficit than the actual scandal involving Charlie Rangel. That same night, guest host Michael Berry on Mark Levin's radio show touted MRC's recently-released "Media Bias 101" as "one of the best reports I've ever seen." Details:

# Interviewing Jim Bunning on his March 4 Fox News show, Hannity told the Republican Senator: "NewsBusters, this is Brent Bozell's website, had a piece out and said that ABC News covered your issue involving your filibuster, if you will, six times more than the coverage that they gave to Charlie Rangel's scandal, which is a real scandal."

Hannity continued, shifting into a question about Bunning's insistence that a $10 billion unemployment bill actually be properly funded: "...Do you think that there are enough people in Washington with the political courage to say what you're saying and take the tough political stands to bring America back to balanced budgets?"

As MRC's Scott Whitlock reported in a Thursday BiasAlert: "Over the last three days, ABC's World News devoted almost six times as much coverage to Senator Jim Bunning and his temporary hold-up of an unemployment bill as the program did for the ongoing revelations that Democratic Charlie Rangel violated House ethics with his trips to the Caribbean."

"World News investigated and followed the Republican for four minutes and 38 seconds over two days. In comparison, the program could only manage a scant 48 seconds of coverage for Rangel."

[UPDATE, March 7: Jim Pinkerton brought up the same MRC report during a discussion of media coverage of Bunning on FNC's NewsWatch Saturday afternoon: "What was striking, as Scott Whitlock at MRC pointed out, ABC News devoted six time more coverage to trashing Bunning - where Jonathan Karl, the reporter, went all Jessie Waters on Bunning following him around in the Senate trying to barge into the elevator, than they did on Chairman Rangel, the Ways and Means Committee's forced resignation and the scandal. So a two-day procedural thing was six times bigger news to ABC than a genuine corrupt scandal."]

# Then, filling in for Mark Levin on his national radio talk show on Thursday, Houston radio host Michael Berry picked up on MRC's "Media Bias 101" report detailing dozens of polls since 1981 showing journalists liberal attitudes and strongly pro-Democratic voting record. "I'm sitting on a great study done by the Media Research Center, Media Bias 101," Berry enthused. "It's one of the best reports I've ever seen." [audio excerpt here]

Berry was making the point that new media technologies such as Facebook lets citizens inform each other and mobilize to affect public policy without being dependent on a relatively few unrepresentative journalists: "The ability for people to communicate and to interact in the way that Facebook allows is an absolute game changer....People that can't get hired at big newspapers or big TV stations [are now] changing public policy in profound ways."

For more of what Berry had to say, check out a more detailed item at our NewsBusters blog.

-Rich Noyes is Research Director at the Media Research Center.