Shocker: News coverage of Obama better, nicer than with Bush

posted at 2:55 pm on April 27, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Howard Kurtz gets the scoop on a study from the Center for Media and Public Affairs that analyzes the coverage of Barack Obama’s first 50 days in office.  It won’t surprise anyone to discover that they’ve spent more time covering The One than George Bush, but it might surprise people to learn that they’ve managed to exceed coverage of Bush and Bill Clinton … combined:

The networks have given President Obama more coverage than George W. Bush and Bill Clinton combined in their first months — and more positive assessments to boot.

In a study to be released today, the Center for Media and Public Affairs and Chapman University found the nightly newscasts devoting nearly 28 hours to Obama’s presidency in the first 50 days. (Bush, by contrast, got nearly eight hours.) Fifty-eight percent of the evaluations of Obama were positive on the ABC, CBS and NBC broadcasts, compared with 33 percent positive in the comparable period of Bush’s tenure and 44 percent positive for Clinton. (Evaluations by officials from the administration or either political party were not counted.)

On Fox News, by contrast, only 13 percent of the assessments of Obama were positive on the first half of Bret Baier’s “Special Report,” which most resembles a newscast. The president got far better treatment in the New York Times, where 73 percent of the assessments in front-page pieces were positive.

A striking contrast: Obama’s personal qualities drew more favorable coverage than his policies, with 32 percent of the sound bites positive on CBS, 31 percent positive on NBC and 8 percent positive on Fox.

I’ve looked for the study on CMPA’s website, but in an ironic tautology, so far they’ve only reprinted this excerpt from Howard Kurtz’s column.  Maybe the study doesn’t actually exist, and this is just a media-bubble echo!  Actually, the study should get released later today, and I’ll update the post when it becomes available.

No one should be shocked that the media has gone out of their way to be nicer to Obama than to Bush, but the contrast with Clinton is rather striking.  Clinton’s transition had its share of nanny problems in the beginning, but it had none of the tax-evasion problems that have plagued the new administration.  Clinton also had received glowing press during the campaign and was heralded as a harbinger of change, as the Baby Boomers finally had their first President.  And even Clinton didn’t get the kind of adulation thus far lavished on Obama in the media.

I’d be curious to see what the numbers were between each President’s first European tour.  I’m betting that the disparities were even more pronounced, even though Obama’s trip turned out to be laughably inept.


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Well, I mean… BHO has a better tan than GWB, so, right there you’ve got favorability ratings…..

44Magnum on April 27, 2009 at 2:57 PM

whatever you’re adding to Clinton’s, he inherited from Bush.

cpr on April 27, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Well, what do you expect? He IS the first black president (with apologies to Bill Clinton).

Oh wait…

Race has nothing to do with this election.

I’m confused. When is it ok to refer to race again?

cannonball on April 27, 2009 at 2:58 PM

I honestly do not care about Europe. B.O. has shown he is just inept on all reguards concerning it.

Nice or not, I want someone who has a clue… not someone who can’t figure out languages defined by his inept staff.

upinak on April 27, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Sure, but how does Meghan McCain feel about it? You all haven’t posted anything from MooMoo for at least 24 hours.
Slackers.

JeffinOrlando on April 27, 2009 at 3:00 PM

But the media is neutral and with out bias right…..right

LincolntheHun on April 27, 2009 at 3:01 PM

It is because he is cool man!!!! We finally have a cool president that knows he has a gift.

deidre on April 27, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Well, at least the kneepad manufacturing industry is booming.

landshark on April 27, 2009 at 3:02 PM

I’m going to have to go back and compare some of Ceauşescu’s devotees’ adulatory propaganda to Obooba’s, and see which is funnier.

Akzed on April 27, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Great, Fox is biased in its criticism and the other networks and outlets are biased in their praise.

One foot in a (small) bucket of hot water and another in a (big) bucket of cold.

I’m not very comfortable,

SteveMG on April 27, 2009 at 3:02 PM

It is wonderful that a black man can be President. Now, if only he could also be criticized when he screws up. Alas, “the soft bigotry of low expectations” continues.

RegularJoe on April 27, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Imagine how bad this guy would look with coverage down the middle. It’s really pathetic. This whole thing from top to bottom. It’s abysmal. It really is.

lorien1973 on April 27, 2009 at 3:04 PM

The really sad thing is how long its taking the MSM to die.
The damage they’re doing in their death throes is considerable.

Iblis on April 27, 2009 at 3:08 PM

This is just TV. The newspaper coverage of Obama is enough to make you gag. Then there are the magazines… Go to Borders or Barns and Noble and count how many magazines have either Barry, Michelle, or both of them, on the cover.

The Beatles got a lot of flack for saying they were more famous than Jesus. Too many people think Obama IS Jesus!

Star20 on April 27, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Sure, but how does Meghan McCain feel about it? You all haven’t posted anything from MooMoo for at least 24 hours.
Slackers.

JeffinOrlando on April 27, 2009 at 3:00 PM

True , we need more cowbell from MooMoo.

the_nile on April 27, 2009 at 3:09 PM

When are the spineless Republicans going after the One?

promachus on April 27, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Come on…give the guy (and the media) a break…he’s got a new puppy!!

dont taze me bro on April 27, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Anyone willing to place bets to see if the MSM runs with this story? Obama stiffs Sidwell Friends School Fund Raiser. [From MSNBC...that is unbelievable.]

coldwarrior on April 27, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Why don’t conservatives simply blurt out statistics like this (and the dozens of other examples of bias)on the few occasions when they are being interviewed on cbs, abc, nbc, etc. At least then the lemmings that still watch the MSM news programs would get a nugget of truth.

chromium on April 27, 2009 at 3:14 PM

I honestly don’t think even a terrorist attack would give the Obamessiah bad press. Olbermann and everyone at MSNBC would just say it was Bush’s fault for making the Islamists hate us so much and that there was no way Obama could have stopped anything.

Speedwagon82 on April 27, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Blah blah blah Obama’s great.

In other news…Obama’s awesome!

blatantblue on April 27, 2009 at 3:15 PM

What a shocker!!! NOT!!!

capejasmine on April 27, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Is Big O still out on the golf course today?

eforhan on April 27, 2009 at 3:15 PM

What’s with the Air Force One flyover of Groung Zero?

Most photogenic admin evah!

dingbat on April 27, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Come on…give the guy (and the media) a break…he’s got a new puppy!!

dont taze me bro on April 27, 2009 at 3:11 PM

And unicorns. Don’t forget the unicorns.

Rational Thought on April 27, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Bush didn’t have incredible pecs, a blazing..uhhhh..intellect or a wife who is single-handedly redefining fashion for the 21st century.

Bishop on April 27, 2009 at 3:19 PM

Great, Fox is biased in its criticism and the other networks and outlets are biased in their praise.

SteveMG on April 27, 2009 at 3:02 PM

What makes you think that Fox is biased in it’s criticism.
I’d say 13% positive is much more than Obama has earned through his record.

MarkTheGreat on April 27, 2009 at 3:19 PM

Racism!!

Captain America on April 27, 2009 at 3:21 PM

I don’t see what could be positive about what Obama is doing whatsoever. Okay, perhaps the pirate thing a little bit; but on policies, he has been sucking at it.

The positive news stories must consistent of the dog, his abs, his great gift that he has, and him playing golf.

deidre on April 27, 2009 at 3:21 PM

It’s just hard for me to beleive that this association of boot lickers, water carriers, shoe shine boys, and presidential a__ wipers, otherwise known as the MSM would give the “great I am” a pass.

sdd on April 27, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Come on…give the guy (and the media) a break…he’s got a new puppy!!

Don’t forget about the swingset for the girls.

Matticus Finch on April 27, 2009 at 3:24 PM

This is how the dems will get a filibuster proof senate in 2010. This is also how obama will get re-elected.

It helps to own the media.

sonofdy on April 27, 2009 at 3:26 PM

The Craigslist killer gets better coverage than Bush.

LibTired on April 27, 2009 at 3:28 PM

MSM is complicit in treason. I’m not kidding.

marklmail on April 27, 2009 at 3:29 PM

even though Obama’s trip turned out to be laughably inept.

Ed, Ed, Ed…I’m so sorry to have to correct you, but Obama’s trip to Europe was brilliant, BRILLIANT, I tell you. I’ve been told so by ever so many friends and pundits, so it must be true.

:)

Bob's Kid on April 27, 2009 at 3:29 PM

All these stories should be saved for 2-3 years from now, because whenever something blows up that the big media didn’t report on, they always have these hand-wringing symposiums and roundtable discussions on “What did we do wrong?/Why did we miss the story?” And then, of course, they go right back to what they were doing.

If Obama’s next 1,361 days in office are like his first 100, my guess is we’ll be see a lot of these types of “How did we miss the story?” critiques, with the goal more to find an answer that fits their world view (i.e. — The Republicans distracted Obama and his administration from dealing with the problems due to their sniping and roadblocks), then to actually admitting that the problems weren’t uncovered earlier because they didn’t want to admit there were any problems to begin with.

jon1979 on April 27, 2009 at 3:29 PM

LIKE HELL YOU SAY

HAHAHA OH WOW on April 27, 2009 at 3:35 PM

I’m betting that the disparities were even more pronounced, even though Obama’s trip turned out to be laughably inept.

Laughably inept? Ed, for the first time in years, the rest of the world loves us and respects us! Isn’t that worth something??

Just ask Putin.

Cicero43 on April 27, 2009 at 3:37 PM

The Beatles got a lot of flack for saying they were more famous than Jesus. Too many people think Obama IS Jesus!

Star20 on April 27, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Don’t who who created it (they were a genius) but there was a great spoof Page 1 of the NY Fishwrap online last year with this screaming headline above a picture of a Beatles press conference:

OUTRAGE

LENNON: “WE’RE MORE POPULAR THAN O’BAMA NOW”

Below this in the right top column, a picture of Keef Olbermann and this quote:

Olbermann: ‘Have You No Shame, Sir?’ Five Hour Special Comment

And on the upper left side of the page:

‘Hardball’ Host Suffers Massive Trauma To Leg

After living thru these first 90 days, this spoof headline looks more and more real every day.

Del Dolemonte on April 27, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Media in Charge

Wade on April 27, 2009 at 3:39 PM

jon1979 on April 27, 2009 at 3:29 PM

that explains media assclowns’ mindset in a nutshell.

gsherin on April 27, 2009 at 3:40 PM

And someone took the time to “document” this, it wasn’t that obvious to them?
They are next going to do a study to prove that summer is warmer then winter…

right2bright on April 27, 2009 at 3:43 PM

right2bright on April 27, 2009 at 3:43 PM

well yes it is obvious, but i like it better when someone goes to the trouble of quantifying how bad it really is.

gsherin on April 27, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Bush had all of his neutral/favorable coverage during the 3 weeks after 9/11. That’s not even close to Barry’s media apotheosis that’s been going on since late 2007.

ScottMcC on April 27, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Don’t forget about the swingset for the girls.

Matticus Finch on April 27, 2009 at 3:24 PM

What?! When did this happen?

I hope Obama starts twittering so I can keep up with all the hard news without the bias of the conservative media getting in the way.

landshark on April 27, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Can we NOW have a discussion about media bias?
(crickets)

Defector01 on April 27, 2009 at 3:53 PM

I just want to know one thing…

Is the report available in Austrian?

kingsjester on April 27, 2009 at 3:55 PM

But what about the First Puppy? He’s so cute!

Cicero43 on April 27, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Drive-by Media is to DNC and BHO as

Pravda is to …. ;)

Cadian on April 27, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Well, we can be optimistic and say these major Obama rags will not survive their loss of readership and advertising and just die before the 2012 elections. How many here still subscribe to the local rag? I quit doing that 8 years ago. I stopped watching network news about 2 decades ago. I only watch local news for the weather. Eventually their advertising is going to dry up. I am not sure even this Congress is brazen enough to bailout the newspapers, but we know they will try.

More tea parties anyone?

karenhasfreedom on April 27, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Ya don’t say!

CynicalOptimist on April 27, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Anyone willing to place bets to see if the MSM runs with this story? Obama stiffs Sidwell Friends School Fund Raiser. [From MSNBC...that is unbelievable.]

coldwarrior on April 27, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Maybe the One can give some personal items to the Sidwell School – Like an Ipod with Rasool’s Speeches; Or how about a set of DVDs. Or maybe follow in BJ Clintons footsteps and donate used underwear for auction like BJ donated his to Goodwill and took a tax rightoff.

Kuffar on April 27, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Serves all you unilateral hemispheric thinkers right.
And as for the rest of ya,
didn’t you read the textbooks in school or did you just sponge bob it?

OkieDoc on April 27, 2009 at 4:18 PM

What’s with the Air Force One flyover of Groung Zero?

Most photogenic admin evah!

dingbat on April 27, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Apparently they wanted some photos of AF-1 flying over the Statue of Liberty, or something. More Obama propaganda (for those who can’t get enough).

Meanwhile, the sight of a large jetliner flying low over NYC with a military escort reportedly freaked out the local population and caused 9/11 survivors to experience PTSD symptoms. The business channel reported that Goldman, Sachs were so frightened they temporarily emptied out their NYC offices. Same channel also reported that the Obamabots in charge of this stunt refused to allow the public in NYC to have advance notice, so they wouldn’t freak out.

But hey, it’s all about the O.

AZCoyote on April 27, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Bill Clinton ran as a moderate, pro-business Democrat. The wirters and editors in the major media outlets are hardcore. anti-business, pro-nanny-state leftists. They love Obama’s agenda as much as they love him. With Clinton, they only loved Hillary, not the Clinton policy agenda.

rockmom on April 27, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Shocking that Obama would come out looking better than the worst President in history. The bar has been set exceedingly low.

Constantine on April 27, 2009 at 4:54 PM

I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the NYT is now junk, and CNN and msnbc ratings are tanking.

It is outrageous the way these socalled news agencies pander to the Obama administration. It is like watching them morph into Pravda. And more and more people are noticing it too.

Terrye on April 27, 2009 at 5:13 PM

..and yet with all of this good press he still has the same poll numbers that Bush had at this time in his first term, hmmmmmmm.

29Victor on April 27, 2009 at 5:25 PM

The really sad thing is how long its taking the MSM to die.
The damage they’re doing in their death throes is considerable.

Our leftist government isn’t going to let their PR wing die anytime soon. The major media outlets will be deemed “too important to fail” and will become our version of state-run media. The content is already there, all we’re missing is an official change in ownership.

The MSM dying is about as likely as American auto companies surviving without ejecting the unions and/or a continuous stream of taxpayer money.

TheMightyMonarch on April 27, 2009 at 5:26 PM

Shocking that Obama would come out looking better than the worst President in history. The bar has been set exceedingly low.

Constantine on April 27, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Hey. getalife’s baby brother is back.

Which heavily Democrat over-sampled poll are you quoting now, kid? The AP one that sampled twice as many Democrats as Republicans, or the WaPo/ABC one that just came out that oversampled them by something like 19 points?

Del Dolemonte on April 27, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Ed:
You forget, the MSM made Obama. They sold him to the American public. They have behaved like whores and sold any credibility they’ve had remaining to push Obama’s agenda. They are in a box of their own construction. No way out, no other choice but to serve The One. And we thought Baghdad Bob was comic relief.

GarandFan on April 27, 2009 at 5:49 PM

The MSM has proven itself to be biased in the past, but the current degree is unprecedented. They must protect the monster they created, but, if real world events continue to run contrary to the medias narrative, they may render themselves obsolete.

Stickeehands on April 27, 2009 at 7:02 PM

Hey. getalife’s baby brother is back.
Which heavily Democrat over-sampled poll are you quoting now, kid? The AP one that sampled twice as many Democrats as Republicans, or the WaPo/ABC one that just came out that oversampled them by something like 19 points?
Del Dolemonte on April 27, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Whoa Mr. Pineapple, your posts are all remarkably similiar: throw a few weak insults then deflect from the topic. If you’d like to assert Obama is far less popular than it appears, please provide the information. Otherwise, once again, you’ve got nothing.

Constantine on April 27, 2009 at 8:19 PM

The msm is in bed with Obama. The msm hated Bush. The msm hates conservatives. The press is biased. The gop can’t come up with any new conspiracies on why Obama kicked McSame’s ass. Dude, Americans don’t like the gop. They like Obama. They didn’t like Bush or Cheney. I know rejection is hard for you he-men, but thats just the way it is. Obama’s popularity is killing you guys. Your doing everything in your power to dent it, and nothing is working. You can’t stand it. To compensate you search with a fine tooth comb for anything you can to bring Obama down. You, like me, knows that the longer he stays popular, the harder your job gets. Your “window” is closing fast, this makes you more desperate, which in turns makes you more error prone, which ends up making you seem sillier than you already are. Normally this would cause you to take a step back, but you just can’t.Your hatred for Obama overides any sense of decency or tact. So you just wildly strike out with any crap your demented minds can come up with. Dude, you lost the election, give it up. Try again in 2012. Obama is just way smarter than any of you conservatives, that just eats away at you. You won’t last 4 years at the attack rate you are at now. But keep on flailing away at him, its great entertainment for us Democrats.

athensboy on April 27, 2009 at 8:32 PM

athensprepubescent,

As you move to higher grades (hopefully), you will be blessed with new insights into sentence structure and something called “paragraphs.” Pay attention. It will be good for you.

Star20 on April 27, 2009 at 8:50 PM

and more positive assessments to boot.

… and in other news: “The sky is blue and the sun is expected to rise in the east”

AZfederalist on April 27, 2009 at 10:18 PM

Athensboy do you deny that the MSM is not biased? Back in 1964 they said the GOP was finished and no one liked them as you say now. Remember the pendulum always swings back or unless you want a one party nation (stalinism) which I do suspect. You probably favor a nation that would close down the free press, gun rights, freedom of religion, as any leftists would desire. I wish you were just a liberal then you would tolerate all views but as a leftist you only tolerate your party line.

garydt on April 27, 2009 at 10:28 PM

The media ignoring or spinning the terrible job Obama has done in setting up a cabinet team,breaking pretty much every promise he made on the campaign trail,and getting lots of photo ops and pats on the back but no combat troops or any of his stimulus agenda is beyond corrupt and bias.

It is really sickening to watch journalism sink to such ignorant activism and blatant partisan butt kissing.

The only thing worse to watch happen than this,IS THE FACT THAT IT IS WORKING FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

How in the he!! you can appoint corrupt and incompetent cabinet official one after the other.More than double the debt by spending more than all the previous Presidents put together. Have our enemies laughing at us all the while escalating their actions of aggression, but still pull high approval ratings combined with an incredible onslaught of butt kissing magazine covers and MSM articles is criminal on the part of our press.

The Obama administration know that their sheep combined with the 5 minute news cycle voter block is more than enough to keep them in power.
That is why Obama can come out like he did and announce “fiscal restraint” and a commitment to “cutting deficits”
while he spends like a drunken sailor,providing little transparency and no accountability.
He knows the Courics,Brian Williams,Olberman’s,and NYtimes/Wapo will cover for him with little resistance from the weak Republican leadership on the hill.

Pravda West in all it’s glory.

I noticed in Kurtz’s story that Sullivan was there.
I wonder if he a Rahm have found out who the real mother of Trig is yet.

Baxter Greene on April 27, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Dang! I knew there was Media bias but this falls under a whole new category. I’m surprised Obama’s approvals are not at 80% or 90% with all this.

Let’s dispense with the pretenses. The majority of the MSM in this country officially function as “Pravda” tools for Obama and the Democratic Party. Obama literally has hundreds of press secretaries in addition to Gibbs. The Pravda MSM members also hide or will not report negative stories or facts about Obama.

There are a few exceptions to the rule like Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and Conservative Talk Radio.

Conservatives and Libertarians face an enormous task to break through the MSM strangehold.

Sean Hannity, John Ziegler, Bernard Goldberg, Rush Limbaugh and others are right. Free and Unbiased Journalism is dead in the US.

sarahpalinfan99 on April 28, 2009 at 2:13 AM

That’s why the MSM are correctly called “fellating” media.

SKYFOX on April 28, 2009 at 11:14 AM