Often in politics there is a claim that the major news media has a left-leaning bias. There are also claims that news media show deference to incumbents and established political figures than to upstart and new political candidates. Whether that is true or not, the most recent example of the difference can be seen in the local race for Binghamton City Council for the 1st District.
The race for the 1st District City Council seat is between the incumbent Jerry Motsavage, and first-time political challenger Giovanni Scaringi. Mr. Motsavage is a Democrat and announced his re-election campaign on June 2, 2015. Mr. Scaringi is a Republican and made his official announcement today, June 24, 2015. In regard to Scaringi, both WBGN and ourselves were notified of the announcement via press release from the Citizens for Scaringi campaign on June 22, 2015. WBNG attended the announcement event of Mr. Scaringi, while we were unable to attend.
For the Motsavage announcement WBNG provided 443 words of coverage. Included were a photo of the candidate, 3 direct quotes, education, work history, volunteer organization and marital status – and of course his current position. They also noted where and when the announcement took place.
For the Scaringi announcementWBNG provided 55 words of coverage as of the last update at 3:10pm (more than 2 hours before this article is being written). The coverage included the position Mr. Scaringi is running for, his occupation, where and when the event took place.
As of June 22, 2015 (and reposted on June 23, 2015 at our political blog) we provided 510 words of coverage for Mr. Scaringi. We had no quotes directly from the candidate, but based on a past interview he had given on the 2012 election. We included his work history, education, opinions of his students, location of the event and time.
We also conveyed the nature of the election cycle at this time, the other candidate in the race, and recent voting information that is currently in debate in Binghamton City Council.
Of these coverages, which is most informative to voters? Which implies a bias? Which seems most likely to guide a low-information voter to a decision? It should also be noted that at the time of this article, no other news media have covered this news – though they were notified prior, to our knowledge.
** UPDATE – As this article was being written News Channel 34 published their coverage of the announcement at 4:54pm.
The coverage given to the Motsavage re-election announcement was 1:08 minutes on June 3, 2015. The article, that accompanies the video, provides 173 words of coverage. The article highlights 4 policy positions of Motsavage and includes 1 direct quote. The article also notes the work history of Motsavage – though it also fails to state what position Jerry Motsavage has at Ely Park Golf Club.
For comparison, the coverage of the Scaringi announcement is a video of 1:06 minutes. The article provides 167 words of coverage. The article highlights 4 policy positions, 1 direct quote, as well as mentioning the current occupation and motivation of Giovanni Scaringi.
Thus the running total as of 9:27pm is:
WBNG – 443 words for the incumbent, 55 for the challenger
News 34 – 173 words for the incumbent, 167 for the challenger
MVASS – No notification from incumbent and no coverage given, 510 words for challenger (note that Mr. Motsavage was given 76 words of coverage in the Scaringi announcement article)
Next up will be the print media.
** We must note that we are NOT picking a candidate for City Council. We have requested of the GOP and Democrat County Parties interviews with ALL candidates running for office. As always we will provide verbatim quotes, and unedited video of any interview of any candidate that we conduct.