So how could Fox have both the most balanced and the most anti-Obama coverage? Simple. It’s because the other networks were all so pro-Obama. CMPA analyzed every soundbite by reporters and nonpartisan sources (excluding representative of the political parties) that evaluated the candidates and their policies. On the three broadcast networks combined, evaluations of Obama were 68% positive and 32% negative, compared to the only 36% positive and 64% negative evaluations of his GOP opponent John McCain…

It turns out that Fox’s coverage of President Obama has been even more negative than its coverage of candidate Obama: From Inauguration Day to Oct. 10, only 27% of Special Report’s comments on the president were favorable. That sounds like proof positive of Fox’s negative intentions. But if Fox hasn’t lost its anti-Obama edge, it has certainly lost its distinctiveness. During the same period only 35% of the evaluations on ABC, CBS, and NBC were positive. So from the administration’s point of view, Fox’s coverage has gone from being the worst of all to merely the worst among equals.

Moreover, distressing as it may seem to a president used to unusually friendly coverage, this negativity is surprisingly normal. CMPA’s earlier studies found that the broadcast networks gave almost identically negative coverage to George W. Bush (37% positive), Bill Clinton (34% positive) and Ronald Reagan (37% positive) during their first seven months in office.