Report

The Master Character Narratives in Campaign 2012

On the eve of the conventions, the portrayal in the news media of the character and records of the two presidential contenders in 2012 has been as negative as any campaign in recent times, and neither candidate has enjoyed an advantage over the other, according to a new study of mainstream media coverage of the race for president.

More of what the public hears about candidates also now comes from the campaigns themselves and less from journalists acting as independent reporters or interpreters of who the candidates are.

An examination of the dominant or master narratives in the press about the character and record of presidential contenders finds that 72% of this coverage has been negative for Barack Obama and 71% has been negative for Mitt Romney. The study, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, examined the personal portrayal of the candidate in 50 major news outlets over a 10-week period.  

Read the full report, The Master Character Narratives in Campaign 2012, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism website.