Special Reports

See Full Study Social Security has been the most debated domestic issue of George W. Bush’s second term. Baby boomers begin retiring as early as 2008, and the nation’s retirement system faces an income shortfall beginning as early as 2017, according to the Social Security Administration. President Bush has called for personal accounts that would restructure the system to combat this looming problem. Social Security coverage on the five major networks has been overwhelmingly against personal accounts – by a margin of 2 to 1. Four of the five gave more air time to the liberal position than to explaining... continue reading
See Executive Summary In the Social Security reform debate, liberals have promised 'guaranteed' tax-funded benefits. Conservatives have warned that the outdated retirement program is nearing guaranteed bankruptcy. But the only real guarantee in this debate is that network news has been biased toward the liberal viewpoint. A new study from the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute found Social Security coverage on the five major networks biased toward the left by a margin of 2 to 1. In total, 44 percent of the 125 stories studied were liberally slanted compared to just 22 percent that were conservative. An April... continue reading
See Full Study Accounting scandals have become bread-and-butter stories for journalists. But one of the biggest accounting debacles in recent history has gone virtually unnoticed by the TV news. Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage association, has accounting errors of about $11 billion. That’s more than 19 times larger than Enron’s $567 million error. Yet a Justice Department inquiry, SEC investigation, and Office of Federal Housing Enterprise complaint were not enough to get the attention of the networks that rarely mentioned the Fannie Mae scandal. Unlike Enron, Fannie Mae has strong governmental ties and is perceived as helping the poor. Are... continue reading
See Executive Summary It's a familiar story. An enormous company reveals its 'accounting problems.' The problems are found to be far worse than anyone realized. The CEO is forced to resign. Other high-ranking executives follow. The stock price begins to drop. Billions of dollars might be lost. The politically savvy CEO even has direct connections to a presidential administration. If the word 'Enron' has formed in your mind, you'd be close, but wrong. Welcome to Fannie Mae, the nation's second-largest financial company. Only Fannie Mae, officially known as the Federal National Mortgage Association, isn't like any standard Wall Street business... continue reading
See Full Study Diet and obesity continue to weigh heavily on the minds of Americans. Those concerns have carried over to the news media, but the coverage takes on a strong anti-business slant, as if businesses and advertisers were responsible for obesity. Earlier this year, the MRC’s Business & Media Institute released a study showing a significant anti-corporate trend in the major media’s food reporting. Journalists are providing more coverage of individual responsibility as a cause of obesity, but this report documents extensive bias and misinformation in media coverage of the issue. The original BMI study analyzed all 205 news... continue reading
See Executive Summary Obesity has become one of the most commonplace health issues covered by the mainstream media. This summer, networks and newspapers were full of stories on fad diets, recipes and overweight adults trying to lose weight, Time magazine and ABC News even sponsored a national “Summit on Obesity” in early June to much fanfare, but questionable journalistic result. Through it all, one thing remained clear: The media presented an anti-business viewpoint in their coverage of obesity. In addition, the stories cited alarmist and inconsistent statistics about the size of the weight problem in young people. In several cases,... continue reading
See Full Study For nearly four years, network news programs have presented a skewed view of global warming and the Kyoto treaty that liberal environmentalists claim would cure it. Those same newscasts have all-but ignored the negative economic consequences that ratifying Kyoto would have on the U.S. The network coverage also largely ignored scientific evidence questioning global warming theory, while touting dramatic claims of liberal environmental activists. To document how network news has slanted the global warming debate, researchers with the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute analyzed all 165 news stories about global warming aired on the three... continue reading
See Executive Summary Deadly droughts, polar caps melting, forest fires, sweltering heat. Global warming hasn’t hit the news every day, but when it has, it has done so with a bang. Network news programs have parroted almost any claim to paint a horrifying picture of climate change and focus on the “impending doom” of global warming. One thing has become clear: what is “impending” is the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty designed to cut emissions that allegedly contribute to global warming. In October, Russia’s lower house of parliament ratified the treaty – giving it sufficient support to force participating industrialized nations... continue reading
See Full Study The media gave President Bush consistently negative press about perceived poor job creation and unemployment in the summer of 2004 but their reports were overwhelmingly positive when President Clinton ran for reelection in the summer of 1996 under similar economic circumstances. The media have consistently criticized the Bush record, minimizing 13 straight months of positive job creation, more than 1.5 million new jobs in 2004 and an unemployment rate that dropped from 6.3 percent to 5.4 percent. In contrast, the media consistently hailed the Clinton record of seven straight months of positive job creation, more than 2... continue reading
See Executive Summary The media have hammered President George W. Bush on the employment issue despite 13 straight months of positive job creation and other good economic news. The October 8, 2004 jobs report was the latest evidence that they treat Bush far more critically than they treated President Bill Clinton on the same issue – sometimes even for the same results. The data indicated that the economy added 96,000 new jobs in September and nearly a quarter million adjusted to the totals earlier in the year. But media reports spun the new job numbers as a strong negative and... continue reading