Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The 9% That Counts (With An Illustrative Update)

9% has entered the news in a very important way, and this time it's not the 9% that Herman KochCain is proposing for a national sales tax.  In fact, it is the 9% of news stories that's the scandal.

It is the percentage of stories that cover President Obama favorably in the American media, according to a new Pew study.  That's not 90% or 19%--it's 9%. That's right--the liberal lamestream media included.  9% of the coverage of President Obama was favorable. It is the lowest percentage of favorable coverage of any current candidate for the office that President Obama currently holds.  By a lot.

In contrast, Cowboy Rick got 32% favorable coverage, Herman KochCain 28% and Newt Romney 26%.

President Obama also got the highest percentage of negative coverage, with the exception of Mitt Gingrich who beat him by a point, 35% to 34%.  For Romney, the unfavorable was 27%. 

The only good news in this study might be that a bare majority of the coverage was deemed "neutral."  But Pew wasn't seeing the significance of it in that way:

"One man running for president has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment of all: Barack Obama. Though covered largely as president rather than a candidate, negative assessments of Obama have outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-to-1. The assessments of the president in the media were substantially more negative than positive in every one of the 23 weeks studied. In no week during these five months was more than 10% of the coverage about the President positive in tone."

And this kind of coverage continues.  Here's the first sentences of a Christian Science Monitor report on President Obama's speech on his Jobs Bill in North Carolina: "When the going gets rough, blame the other guys. That appeared to be President Obama's game plan Monday..."   Beginning with a questionable and negative premise, it takes the GOPer point of view.  It's a GOPer talking point press release. (Here's another story that reports what President Obama said and how it was greeted.)

Add this to the non-coverage of what the President of the United States says and does (and then pundits complain about what he's not saying or doing, mostly because they don't know what that is) and it is a significant wonder that once again, President Obama is trusted by Americans to fix the economy over the GOPers by some 15 points.

But this is still a scandal.  That the media will not cover, of course.

Update: I missed this contemptible (and awfully familiar-sounding) lead to a report on this study in NBC's First Read: "When times get tough for politicians, they're usually not shy about blaming the media for their sagging fortunes."  Once again, a questionable judgment as a premise, and even worse, a false report.  This is a report about the Pew study.  Nowhere does it say that any politician (notably one would assume, President Obama) blamed the media for anything.  The study blames the media, and this story is itself evidence of the study's accuracy.  It is a defensive "news story" that is gratuitously negative about President Obama. 

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