Monday, June 18, 2007

Utah Media: Mitt Romney IS the only Presidential Candidate

Back in February, I noted how the Utah media was being fairly balanced in their coverage of the Presidential race. It now appears KSL, though, has been taken over by LaVarr Webb. It seems like they cover Romney more than anyone else. I wanted to test this theory, so I searched for all the candidates and was not surprised by the results.

Candidate Hits
John McCain 347
Mitt Romney 238
Hillary Clinton 173
Barack Obama 165
John Edwards 128
Tommy Thompson 114
Bill Richardson 98
Mike Huckabee 67
Rudy Giuliani 57
Duncan Hunter 43
Dennis Kucinich 31
Fred Thompson 26
Chris Dodd 17
Joe Biden 2
Mike Gravel 2
Sam Brownback 2
Jim Gilmore 1
Others 0

Predictably, the front-runners got the highest number of hits. I was initially surprised by the number of McCain hits, but given his vociferousness on the two biggest issues in the past few months (Iraq and immigration), I can accept it. However, it appears that Romney is getting inordinate coverage. This was confirmed when I looked at the other six news sources and their search engines (KSTU has a crappy search engine).
Deseret Morning News
Candidate Archive Hits
Mitt Romney 395
John McCain 368
John Edwards 320
Hillary Clinton 296
Barack Obama 264
Rudy Giuliani 218
Ron Paul 114
Bill Richardson 88
Fred Thompson 49
Sam Brownback 47
Mike Huckabee 39
Joe Biden 39
Chris Dodd 38
Duncan Hunter 32
Dennis Kucinich 29
Tommy Thompson 28
Tom Tancredo 17
Mike Gravel 14
Jim Gilmore 13

Candidate Archive Hits
Mitt Romney 1266
John McCain 538
Hillary Clinton 351
Rudy Giuliani 281
John Edwards 168
Barack Obama 126
Bill Richardson 120
Tommy Thompson 77
Fred Thompson 65
Jim Gilmore 45
Sam Brownback 39
Joe Biden 28
Dennis Kucinich 27
Tom Tancredo 27
Mike Huckabee 26
Duncan Hunter 22
Ron Paul 16
Chris Dodd 16
Mike Gravel 3

Candidate "Local News Hits"
Mitt Romney 30
John McCain 13
Rudy Giuliani 9
John Edwards 4
Hillary Clinton 3
Barack Obama 3
Ron Paul 2
Duncan Hunter 2
Tommy Thompson 1
Sam Brownback 1
Mike Huckabee 1
Jim Gilmore 1
Bill Richardson 1

Candidate Hits
Mitt Romney 24
John McCain 14
Hillary Clinton 14
Barack Obama 10
John Edwards 9
Fred Thompson 8
Duncan Hunter 6
Bill Richardson 4
Mike Gravel 4
Sam Brownback 4
Ron Paul 3
Dennis Kucinich 3
Joe Biden 3
Mike Huckabee 2
Rudy Giuliani 1
Tom Tancredo 1

Candidate Archive Hits
Mitt Romney 17
John McCain 16
John Edwards 2
Hillary Clinton 2
Rudy Giuliani 2
Barack Obama 1
Bill Richardson 1
Others 0

All of these news sources seem to have fallen into the fallacy that Utahns only care about their Mitt. They may defend their over-exposure of Romney by saying that Utahns want stories about how Mitt Romney is doing because of his connections to Mormonism and the Olympics. That may explain a few stories, but not when they reach into the hundreds. That excuse also does not excuse the fact that national news sources are also able to cover those issues, as NBC Nightly News did as I was writing this post. Similarly, the fact that they have overcovered Romney compared to the other candidates that have visited or will visit Utah is very disconcerting. Note that many (the Tribune and DNews only as far as I can tell, and in short, inside stories) have not covered the fact that we have TWO Democratic presidential candidates coming to Utah, perhaps for the first time ever. Sad to see this kind of bias in Utah's news, but not entirely unexpected.


Tyler Farrer said...

Hmmm. I'm a Mitt man, and I've even criticized Utah Policy Daily for their obscene amount of Romney coverage.

That being said, I think it's highly likely that when George W. Bush was running for both his first and second terms that he got the lions share of press coverage in Utah.

Utah media will shout loudest for whatever candidate resonates with the majority of voters in Utah.

And none of this says anything about the integrity of Romney's campaign.

Davis Didjeridu said...

But is that the job of the media? To give us what we think we want? Or to challenge us? To make us think harder about who we support and why?
I would dispute your assumption, though about Bush overcoverage. In 2000, I would guess there may have been a spike because he had a layover-rally in Salt Lake once. However, I would think that Orrin got more coverage until he quit/came to his senses somewhat. But in 2003-04, it was obviously the Democrats that got the coverage in the primary season. In the election, it was probably more just horserace coverage.

WP said...

I think it is interesting in a couple polls that Fred Thompson has moved ahead of everyone but Giulani and he has not announced yet. Must mean there is a fair amount of unhappiness for many R's except Tyler.

I will miss him as the DA on Law and Order. When Bush gets through he could do Will Farrell impersonations of SNL.

Rob said...

Great post!

Someone suggested to me the other day that Utah needs a blog called "Media Watch".