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Special Report

Just How Tough Has the Media Been on Sarah Palin?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Taking Aim

A new study by the Culture and Media Institute — an offshoot of the conservative Media Research Center — has found the three major broadcast networks were overwhelmingly negative in their coverage of Sarah Palin during a two-week period in late September and early October.

The study found that ABC, NBC and CBS ran a total of 69 stories on Palin. Two were deemed positive, 37 negative and 30 neutral. None of the evening news shows ran a positive story about Palin.

Twenty-one stories portrayed Palin as unintelligent and unqualified, 14 characterized her as John McCain's attack dog and nine emphasized attacks on Palin by conservatives.

The "Joe" Effect

"Joe the plumber" may not be the reason why, but ever since his "spread the wealth" encounter with Barack Obama, John McCain has seen gains among voters focused on the economy.

A new Ipsos/McClatchy poll indicates Obama's lead over McCain on jobs and the economy is down from 16 points to just seven in a single week. Obama's lead on taxes is down three points to just five.

The poll indicates McCain still holds a sizable advantage when it comes to foreign policy and national security. He leads Obama by margins of nine and 12 points respectively.

Clean Sweep?

Nancy Pelosi is trying to dispel fears of a Democratic-controlled Congress and White House. A San Francisco TV station reports Pelosi told an audience at Google's headquarters that Democratic gains would mean a greater effort to work across the aisle.

Pelosi said, "If the Democrats win and have substantial majorities, Congress of the United States will be more bipartisan."

Pelosi failed to say how exactly that would work, since Democrats already control the House and Senate, but she did criticize John McCain for suggesting that a Democratic sweep of both chambers and the White House is not in the best interest of the country.

"It's interesting to hear Senator McCain talking about the dangerous Obama, Reid, Pelosi. Dangerous is not really a word that should be a part of a national debate," she said.

Chain Reaction

A chain of 13 weekly newspapers in Colorado has halted all political coverage this week. The Colorado Community Newspapers group reaches more than 125,000 households and boasts quote, "Our news coverage focuses on the events that have particular interest to our subscribers — the events that happen across the street, across town or in their own backyard."

So why are the newspapers not reporting on politics in the days before an election when reader interest in politics is at its peak?

The papers say they want to, "allow readers an opportunity to develop their stance without media interference."

FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.