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FOX doesn't need no stinkin' studies, part 2

Reported by Chrish - October 20, 2008 -

As usual, FOX and Friends 10/20/08 just suggested something without any facts or sources to back it up; a little checking reveals that the facts wouldn't have supported their innuendo, so best left unsaid.

The beginning of their premise was a two-sided endorsement by the Philadelphia Inquirer. The newspaper's Editorial Board endorsed Barack Obama, but since it was apparently a contentious and non-unanimous vote, they also printed "another view," that McCain is the stronger candidate. This is an uncommon occurrence,and Gretchen Carlson cited only two previous instances in smaller newspapers.

What she really wants to know is how many newspapers typically endorse the Democratic candidate - implying that, since FOX insists that the mainstream media is far and away liberal, most endorsements are for Democrats. Steve Doocy, who recently contradicted a thorough study of campus politics with his own keen observations, said (twice, for emphasis) "I'd say most of them." Brian Kilmeade named three papers who have endorsed Obama, and said "there seems to be a trend."

Well, an MIT study (care to refute that one too?) reports

"We measure which candidates newspapers endorse in state and federal elections from 1940 to 2002. One sample focuses on the largest circulation newspapers in the United States from 1940 to 2002. A second sample examines 65 newspapers, representing all regions of the country, over the period 1986 to 2002. We document two important features of newspaper endorsements. First, newspapers have shifted from strongly favoring Republicans in the 1940s and 1950s, to dividing their editorial endorsements roughly equally between the parties. Today, Democratic candidates are about 10 percent more likely to receive an endorsement than Republican candidates. Second, newspaper editorials have come to favor heavily those already in office. Incumbents today receive the endorsement about 90 percent of the time. In the 1940s, incumbents received endorsements only about 60 percent of the time. The consequence of this shift, we estimate, is to increase incumbents' vote margins, on average, .2 to 1 percentage points.

Additionally, an Indiana University analysis, The Influence of Newspaper Endorsements in Presidential Elections: The Case of 1964, by Robert S. Erikson Š 1976 Midwest Political Science Association, begins
"This paper estimates the influence of newspaper endorsements on voting behavior in presidential elections. The analysis focuses on the impact of newspaper endorsements in the 1964 presidential election--the one recent presidential election in which a considerable number of newspapers endorsed the Democratic candidate."

Not to get too complicated for FOX, but it appears that the studies, once again, don't support their talking points.