Monday, March 16, 2009

Has the media turned on Obama?

It's really hard to not notice some of the headlines being selected when some media sources are writing about the President. While it's safe to say some of these journalists were not overly supportive of Barack Obama as a candidate, it seems as if it is harsher than it was during the past two new presidential administrations. What made me start thinking about this in earnest this morning was this headline, Does Obama Know What He's Doing?.

Since we tend to exaggerate some memories of the past and diminish others, I returned back to something I had read years ago, from 2001, How Bush Versus Clinton Fared In the Press in preparation for what I hope will be a similar research study done when Obama finishes his first 100 days, though I'm not sure if they will compare him to both Bush and Clinton, probably only to Bush, which is why this will be more important to give us the full picture. One of the most interesting items from 2001 was the difference in the coverage:
The most striking single statistic is the drop in the amount of coverage of Bush versus Clinton in their early days.

The drop-off is across the board—across TV, newspapers and newsweeklies. Network television was down 43%, newspapers 38%.

The reality is it would make more sense to compare the first 100 day coverage to former President Bill Clinton because of the economy and because of the above referenced drop in coverage for former President George Bush. It appears that is not the case this time around.
Whether by design or accident, Clinton was attached in news pages to the economic downturn of 1993. That may have been because Clinton, as a Democrat who had campaigned on the economy, felt a need to carry through with the promise that he would be more responsive to economic changes than his predecessor.

There are lots of sub-categories to the material provided by the Project for Excellence in Journalism on this topic, it's one that you can spent quite a bit of time reading if this topic interests you.

1 comment:

J. Rowsey said...

Lisa Renee - I totally agree. The real comparison is between Clinton and Obama. Great point.