Statistical Analysis Shows ABC News Unfair in Democrat Debate

As related in my blog post yesterday, Dennis Kucinich felt that ABC News was unfair in the way it covered him following last Sunday's debate sponsored by that network. Well, statistical analysis provided of the words spoken and the time alloted to each candidate shows that ABC News was indeed extremely unfair to both Kucinich and Mike Gravel during the debate itself.  Here is the analysis by USA Election Polls:

We took a look at the entire ABC News Debate transcript from 8/19, parsed the file, and counted how many words each of the candidates were able to speak. The two candidates with the least amount of words were Kucinich and Gravel. Obama and Clinton as you would expect dominated in how many words they were able to speak.

The total number of words spoken at the debate was 14,528. Stephanopoulos spoke 1907 words and Yepsen spoke 197 so a total of 12,424 words were spoken by the candidates. Here is how it broke down.

Candidate                       Words             % of Total
Barack Obama                2462                19.8%
Hillary Clinton                2399                19.3%
John Edwards                1644                 13.2%
Joe Biden                       1415                 11.4%
Bill Richardson              1319                 10.6%
Chris Dodd                    1230                  9.9%
Dennis Kucinich            1059                  8.5%
Mike Gravel                   896                   7.2%

Even more damning of the obvious favoritism displayed by ABC News was the analysis of just the first half of the debate when most of the viewers were watching:

But the biggest discrepancy comes when you only look at the first half of the debate. If you only looked at all the words spoken up to the half point, Word # 7264, here is how it broke down.

Candidate                   Words                 % of Total
Hillary Clinton            1465                    25.2%
John Edwards             1093                    18.8%
Barack Obama            953                      16.4%
Joe Biden                    758                      13.0%
Bill Richardson           680                      11.7%
Chris Dodd                 548                       9.4%
Mike Gravel                325                       5.6%
Dennis Kucinich         204                       3.4%

So it turns out that Dennis Kucinich was allowed to speak less than one-seventh of the time as Hillary Clinton during the important first half of the debate. While John Edwards complains about the unfairness of Fox News as an excuse to boycott any debate sponsored by that network, a statistical breakdown of the ABC News debate shows which news organization is the one that is really unfair. USA Election Polls concludes:

So what happened was Kucinich was practically ignored during the entire first half of the debate and at the end of the debate (garbage time) the moderators tried to make it a bit equal. Too much emphasis was given to the top tier candidates. In fact, even Chris Dodd got more air time than Kucinich which is ridiculous because Kucinich is beating Dodd in the majority of state polls. So if the emphasis was on giving the most time to the leaders in the polls, then what was Dodd doing speaking more than Kucinich.

One fringe benefit for Dennis Kucinich of being almost totally ignored by ABC News was that it allowed him to get off the best line of the debate. When asked by debate moderator George Stephanopoulis for his view of a personal God that responds to personal prayers, Kucinich bitingly replied:

George, I've been standing here for the last 45 minutes praying to God you were going to call on me.


Journalistic Issues Mike Gravel Dennis Kucinich

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