Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Media bias in book coverage

Matt Philbin and Zoe Ortiz document how liberal books and authors get substantially more coverage -- and more favorable coverage -- than conservative books and authors. The most glaring example is the treatment of Mark Levin, whose book was the number one non-fiction book for 12 weeks, yet received zero coverage.
Reaching No. 1 on the Nonfiction Hardcover List is a notable achievement. To maintain that spot for more than a single week is truly impressive.

Two liberal authors reached the No.1 spot on the List in 2009. Elizabeth Edwards’ “Resilience” was No.1 for just one week and Thomas Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” held that spot for two weeks.

They received media coverage befitting No.1 best-sellers, garnering nine instances of coverage on the networks between the two.

But there was another book that hit No.1. In fact, it held the No.1 spot for 12 of 18 weeks, and has yet to fall under the No. 4 spot. (Also, at this writing, it ranked No. 24 on, and has enjoyed 186 days in Amazon’s Top 100.)

That book, “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” by conservative political commentator and nationally syndicated radio-host Mark Levin, was by far the most successful book on the list – nothing even came close. . . .

Yet Levin's book received zero coverage from any of the networks since its release on March 29. Nor did his name appear on any of the news programs since the release.

Contrast that with Edwards’ and Friedman’s nine instances of coverage for books that spent one and two weeks respectively at the top of the list. Equivalent coverage for Levin would require 36 mentions on the networks.

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