Interesting little fact courtesy of Howie Kurtz this morning. Turns out the coverage of President Obama in 2009 was totally fair and balanced…if you look at it from the batting average perspective. Reports Kurtz:
Obama wound up 2009 with balanced coverage — 49 percent positive, 51 percent negative — according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs, which studied the network newscasts, Time, Newsweek and the New York Times front page. But he swooned from 59 percent positive in the first four months of the year to 39 percent positive from August through December.
The researchers, from George Mason and Chapman universities, found the president drawing 46 percent positive evaluations on the NBC, ABC and CBS evening newscasts. By comparison, those networks were harder on George W. Bush (23 percent positive), Bill Clinton (28 percent) and Ronald Reagan (26 percent) in the first year of their terms.
In a sharp contrast, Obama drew 22 percent positive coverage on the first half-hour of Fox News’s “Special Report,” which most resembles a newscast. The study found his evaluations “consistently negative” all year, skidding to 14 percent positive in the last four months.
Which most resembles a newscast! Anyway, one glance at the current headlines is enough to surmise it may be a while before Obama enjoys the sort of coverage he started 2009 with. Also, this is obviously less a measure of “balanced” reporting than it is a schizophrenic news cycle that just happened to average out well. One thing is for certain, it’s going to be an interesting year, as Obama (reportedly) so ably put it: “The big difference here and in ‘94 is you’ve got me.” Don’t we all know it.