Study: VA Media in the Tank for Democrat McAuliffe in Governor's Race

A new review of the media's coverage of the race for Governor in the Commonwealth of Virginia shows a staggering one-sided favor for the Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe.

A review of the media covering the hotly contested race shows that GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli has withstood a 24-1 margin of stories by state-based newspapers attacking him or are otherwise negative with just four stories versus 95 showing the GOP candidate in a positive light.

The study of the media coverage of the VA race by the Media Research Center shows that the media appears to be all in for former Democratic National Committee Chairman and longtime Clinton crony McAuliffe.

"Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe faced news coverage that was predominantly negative," The MRC's Rich Noyes writes, "with three times as many negative news stories (66) as positive ones (21). But that paled compared to the overwhelmingly negative spin faced by Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who saw only four news stories tilted in his favor, vs. 95 that were tilted against him, a astonishingly lopsided 24-to-1 margin."

The study also finds that Cuccinelli, the state's current Attorney General, has been tested with far more stories questioning his ethics than Democrat McAuliffe, even though the latter was a principal actor in a failed green tech company that is undergoing a federal investigation. Twice as many stories questioning Cuccinelli's ethics have been published than those looking into McAuliffe's.

Further, reporters and editorial boards have labeled Cucinnelli a "conservative" dozens of times (in 26 stories) whereas McAuliffe has never once been identified as a "liberal."

In fact, several stories passed on as mere fact the Democrat's campaign tactic of calling McAuliffe a "business-friendly moderate" without doing anything to clarify the matter. In contrast, Cucinnelli's campaign has been characterized in highly ideological terms, with one paper even claiming his education plan harkens back to the days before desegregation with shades of Jim Crow.

Finally, on the ethics point, the coverage of Cucinnelli's gift and loan issues from some business interests has exceeded stories on McAuliffe's ethics issue of heading up a failed green tech company that is under federal investigation.

"From June 12 through August 31, 91 news stories (34% of the total) and 61 editorials and columns (44% of the total) mentioned or discussed Cuccinelli’s ethics," Noyes revealed.

In contrast, 48 news stories (18%) and 27 opinion pieces (19%) talked about McAuliffe’s ethical problems, chiefly his stewardship of GreenTech Automotive, currently the subject of a federal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Overall, readers saw 152 stories about Cuccinelli’s ethics, vs. just 75 about McAuliffe, a greater than two-to-one disparity.

Arguably, Cuccinelli's late reporting of gifts and loans he received from some business interests in the past is far less troubling that the $37.5 million that was invested in GreenTech Automotive when McAuliffe was the company's chairman, millions that now seems to have simply disappeared—some of which came from Chinese investors.

As Noyes says, "the disparity in coverage was a huge favor" for Terry McAuliffe's bid for governor.


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