MEDIA
03/27/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Self-Censoring Journalists Gave Favorable Coverage To Republicans: Study

The three major broadcast networks favored Republicans in elections from 1992 to 2004, according to a study that analyzed presidential campaign coverage.

That effect was largely due to journalists censoring their own reporting out of frustration at being accused of a liberal bias, according to Maria Elizabath Grabe, associate professor in the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University College Of Arts and Sciences, who co-authored "Image Bite Politics: News And The Visual Framing Of Elections" (Oxford University Press) with fellow academic Erik Bucy.

Grabe and Bucy examined 62 hours of network news coverage - 178 newscasts - between Labor Day and Election Day over four elections and examined the visual coverage, including such package techniques as the "lip-flap shot - when a reporter's voice is heard over video of the candidate, which tends to be unflattering for that candidate.

They also examined the "Goldilocks effect" - which party gets the last say in a piece and is better remembered by viewers.

According to their research, Democrats were more likely to be the subject of the unflattering "lip-flap" effect while GOP candidates had the last say in every election but 2004. In 1996, Republicans got the final say eight times as many times as Democrats.