Media analysis: Negative TV coverage of Mitt Romney going up

If you thought Mitt Romney was taking a flogging in the news since the revelation that he said he believes nearly half of Americans feel like they are “victims” who won’t take personal responsibility, you would be right, according to a company that tracks television coverage.

Silicon Valley-based Boxfish found that in Tuesday’s news reports from the three major broadcast television networks and Fox News, President Obama got 16% more positive than negative mentions, while Republican challenger Romney got 7% more negative mentions.

The start-up captures dialogue from closed-captioning on television and analyzes the number of positive or negative terms used in proximity to the candidates’ names, said Jonny Shaw, chief marketing officer for the company.

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The findings from Tuesday reflect a longer negative trend for Romney, with Boxfish finding Obama got 7% more positive comments over the last week, compared with Romney’s 5% more negative remarks.

Over the past month, comments on Obama tilted 3% to the positive, while Romney’s leaned 3% negative, the company said. Separate analysis of CNN and Fox News showed essentially the same pro/con split for the two presidential candidates.

By most political analysts’ accounts, Romney has suffered a series of setbacks over several weeks. His convention speech in Tampa, Fla., last month received lukewarm reviews, and it was remembered less by Americans, one poll showed, than actor Clint Eastwood’s conversation with an empty chair. The Republican presidential nominee also took heat for failing to mention the military and the war in Afghanistan during his acceptance speech.

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Romney last week tried to pounce on statements from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to suggest that it proved Obama was more sympathetic to Muslim demonstrators assaulting the mission than to the Americans who were under attack. But even some of his supporters said the candidate appeared overly partisan and opportunistic at a time of national crisis.

Leading into his secretly videotaped comments about nearly half of Americans refusing to take “personal responsibility,” a widely read story by Politico had depicted the Romney team as riven by internal dissension and disagreements over strategy.

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