Maria Elizabeth Grabe and Erik Bucy, both associate professors in the Indiana University’s Department of Telecommunications say that Republicans were the beneficiaries of media bias during the 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 presidential elections:
In their research, Democrats were more likely to be subjects of the “lip-flap” effect, while Republicans more often got the last word. GOP candidates were favored in terms of having the last say in all but the 2004 election. In 1992, the difference was distinctive with Republicans having the final say 57.9 percent of the time. In 1996, Republicans had eight times as many last-say opportunities as Democrats.
Findings for camera angle clearly illustrate the Republican advantage. Overall, Republican candidates were covered in more low-angle and fewer high-angle shots than Democrats.
Doubters would quickly note that George Bush 41 and Bob Dole lost the elections which the researchers highlight, making theirs a not quite convincing case.
“We don’t think this is journalists conspiring to favor Republicans. We think they’re just so beat up and tired of being accused of a liberal bias that they unknowingly give Republicans the benefit in coverage. It’s self-censorship that journalists might be imposing on themselves.”
Having just lived through the 2008 election cycle, it seems obvious that any predilections the mass media might have once had about at least pretending to be neutral are history.