Dailies' coverage split on Canada's opposition coalition

OTTAWA: Thirty-two percent of coverage in major market dailies was critical of the Liberal-led coalition to topple the Conservative government, according to a new study. That compares to 20% in support of it, the media analysis conducted by MediaMiser found.

OTTAWA: Thirty-two percent of coverage in major market dailies was critical of the Liberal-led coalition to topple the Conservative government, according to a new study. That compares to 20% in support of it, the media analysis conducted by MediaMiser found. It was conducted from November 28 to December 4, 2008, and tracked 13 major dailies across Canada.

Forty-eight percent of the coverage was neutral. Chris Morrison, VP of client services at MediaMiser, pointed out a number of other findings, including the following:

A significant percentage of the critical coverage came from the National Post. Of 84 articles, half of them were critical of the Liberal-NDP accord, while another 14 were characterized as supportive. Twenty-eight were neutral.

The survey found that The Globe and Mail coverage was relatively balanced: 16 articles were critical, 16 positive, and 38 neutral. In terms of front-page coverage, however, The Globe and Mail published five articles in support of the coalition, and none critical of it. And an editorial last week by The Globe and Mail suggested Prime Minister Stephen Harper should resign.

Although Harper's plan to cut party funding helped spark the opposition coalition, the MediaMiser's analysis found that the term “party funding” only appeared 14 times in 526 articles about the coalition. Instead, the coverage focused on “the economy, which was at the top of the [keyword] list," Morrison said.

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