Romney Quoted by the Media 50 Percent More Than Obama This Election

The 4th Estate Project, which analyzed the data, says the media may favor Romney because his policies are less known than Obama.

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Mitt Romney has been quoted by the media about 50 percent more often than Barack Obama this election, a new analysis shows.

The data from the 4th Estate Project, which creates visualizations of data relating to the media, shows that Romney was quoted more often than Obama in print, TV and radio, from June 2012 to present. The project used a sample of TV broadcast shows, including CNN, MSNBC and Fox, as well as major print papers, including the New York TimesWashington Post and Wall Street Journal, and radio data from NPR.

Nearly 62 percent of quotes from the two presidential candidates in these media outlets during that time period came from Romney, while less than 40 percent came from Obama. The data does not reveal how many of those quotes were used in negative stories versus positive ones.

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Mike Howe, who runs the project, believes there could be a number of reasons for Romney's outsized coverage.

"The media has some sort of self-regulating mechanism whereby they feel like Obama is getting media exposure from the coverage of his day job as president," he says, "so they are giving Romney more voiceshare in the election-specific coverage."

Howe also thinks the media believes its their "duty" to "inform the public about Romney, his ideas and potential governance style," while the public is already well-acquainted with the president. According to the data, Obama was quoted by the media more often than Romney only in two instances: during and right after the Democratic National Convention.

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Just before that convention, the Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism released its own report on media coverage of the campaign, finding that the coverage was as negative as any campaign in modern history. Pew also noted that neither candidate enjoyed an advantage in the media coverage, with just over 70 percent of the total campaign coverage negative for both Romney and Obama.

But the 4th Estate Project data suggests that while the negative coverage of the candidates may be equal, the actual quotes readers get from them isn't. And that skewed coverage doesn't coincide with the amount of interest in Romney vs. Obama in America, at least according to Google Insights. Searches on Google from June 2012 to present far more often favored Obama, not Romney.

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or reach her at eflock@usnews.com.