Wednesday marked President Barack Obama’s 100th day in office, and the national media have become muscle-bound from all the pats on the back they’ve given him in news stories evaluating those first 100 days.
But the back story — the one you won’t read about in The New York Times — is that in just 100 days, the national media have shown they have a clear double standard in how they cover Obama, compared with Republican presidents.
A new study by the nonpartisan Center for Media and Public Affairs found that network news programs gave Obama more than three times the coverage that they gave President George W. Bush at the same point in his presidency. And while 58 percent of all network news evaluations of Obama and his policies were favorable, only 33 percent of assessments of Bush were favorable.
That means networks have shown Obama to America far more often — and in a far more favorable light — than they showed Bush early in his presidency. It’s free advertising. And it explains the president’s approval ratings.