From April 23 to May 3, the top three television networks offered viewers 50 stories and interview segments on their morning and evening news programs. The tone was strongly hostile to the law and promotional to the "growing storm" of left-wing protesters: 37 stories (or 74 percent) were negative, 10 were neutral, and only three were positive toward the Arizona law's passage -- 12 negative stories for every one that leaned positive. Stories were much kinder and sympathetic to illegal aliens than they were to police officers. Cops were potential abusers of power. Entering the country illegally was not an abuse of power. It was portrayed as an honorable step by the powerless.
The soundbite count was also slanted, with 92 quotes against the law and only 52 in favor. The pro-law numbers, however, included many soundbites of Arizona public officials defending themselves against liberal charges that they were racists or in favor of racial profiling.
The study found that while the law is overwhelmingly approved by the public it has been portrayed overwhelmingly negatively by the MSM. If you think about it, this study shows how utterly worthless the MSM is. They have spent the better part of the last month mercilessly beating up on this law and all that's happened is that public opinion has hardenedDick Morris once opined that it doesn't matter how the MSM presents a story. All that matters is what story it presents. Back in 2007, Morris said that if the media is talking about the Patriot Act that's good for Republicans. If they are talking about health care, that is good for Democrats. That's because the Patriot Act then polled well for Republicans and health care did the same for Democrats.
Now, the media is fixated with illegal immigration and that clearly helps the Republicans. The public favors tough illegal immigration policies a la Arizona. The MSM is fixated on hammering home that this law intrudes on civil rights, but that's irrelevant. It doesn't matter what narrative the media presents. Instead, it only matters what overall story they focus on. To focus on illegal immigration helps the party that stands for tougher illegal immigration.