Paper Accepted! To PCAACA

I had a proposal for PCAACA’s “Politics in a Mediated World” accepted. It turns out it was accepted during Ike, but I didn’t realize it. Whoo hoo!

My proposal reads (pretty much) as follows (with liberties taken with paragraphs for more bloggable readability):

FoxNews.com: Fair and Balanced?
An Analysis of Pre-convention Presidential Campaign Coverage

FoxNews.com presents itself as a neutral news source, using slogans such as “fair and balanced” and “We report. You decide.” However, many criticize Fox saying it has a clear right-leaning bias (Slate Magazine, Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, MoveOn.org).

Based on a quick perusal of high-traffic sources, it would seem that FoxNews.com is biased. However, the anecdotal evidence is insufficient to determine whether or not FoxNews.com exhibits a political bias in its reporting.

A rhetorical analysis of four days’ postings from FoxNews.com inspected for bias in the coverage of the presidential candidates gives an intriguing perspective. The analysis of digital rhetoric was limited to stories about and pictures of the two major party candidates taken from links on the homepage, the politics front page, and the election coverage main page.

The number of pictures of the two presidential candidates were examined, providing an analysis of bias in visual rhetoric (22 to 14). A simple count of stories, number per candidate, provided a second means of examining bias (35 to 18 with 6 about both).

These straightforward statistics do not take into account negative headlines or unflattering pictures, so to minimize possible skewing, a rhetorical examination of headlines and headline verbs was instigated. Rankings for connotation were determined by trained raters.

Unsurprisingly FoxNews.com is biased, but it is not quite as unambiguous as many suppose.

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