The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson was obviously on another planet last year. He has JUST now discovered this amazing fact:
The Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time. Has any recent president basked in so much favorable media coverage?
My snarkiness aside… Samuelson raises a lot of good points in his column.
On the whole, this is not healthy for America.
Our political system works best when a president faces checks on his power. But the main checks on Obama are modest. They come from congressional Democrats, who largely share his goals if not always his means. The leaderless and confused Republicans don’t provide effective opposition. And the press — on domestic, if not foreign, policy — has so far largely abdicated its role as skeptical observer.
That is a pretty damning observation to be printed in the equally complicit Washington Post. But the best part of his column? The facts.
[A] study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism… concludes: “President Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush during their first months in the White House.”
The study examined 1,261 stories by The Post, the New York Times, ABC, CBS and NBC, Newsweek magazine and the “NewsHour” on PBS. Favorable articles (42 percent) were double the unfavorable (20 percent), while the rest were “neutral” or “mixed.” Obama’s treatment contrasts sharply with coverage in the first two months of the Bush (22 percent of stories favorable) and Clinton (27 percent) presidencies.
Unlike George Bush and Bill Clinton, Obama received favorable coverage in both news columns and opinion pages. The nature of stories also changed. “Roughly twice as much of the coverage of Obama (44 percent) has concerned his personal and leadership qualities than was the case for Bush (22 percent) or Clinton (26 percent),” the report said. “Less of the coverage, meanwhile, has focused on his policy agenda.”
Very dangerous indeed. But there are some signs of good news…..
Another Pew survey shows that since the election the numbers of both self-identified Republicans and Democrats have declined. “Independents” have increased, and “there has been no consistent movement away from conservatism, nor a shift toward liberalism.”
The press has become Obama’s silent ally and seems in a state of denial. But the story goes untold: Unsurprisingly, the study of all the favorable coverage received little coverage.
If not for the blogosphere and talk radio, many of the critical questions wouldn’t be asked at all. And Democrats want to silence those outlets as well. Stay tuned….