Media Jumping 100-Days Gun, Praising His Popularity

The major media aren’t waiting for the actual 100 days of the Obama administration to end before crowning him a success. The front page of Friday’s USA Today touted their poll with Gallup, using the headline "Poll: Public thinks highly of Obama." He’s only getting stronger, they claimed:

President Obama's opening months in the Oval Office have fortified his standing with the American public, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, giving him political capital for battles ahead.

As his 100th day as president approaches next Wednesday, the survey shows Obama has not only maintained robust approval ratings but also bolstered the sense that he is a strong and decisive leader who can manage the government effectively during a time of economic crisis.

It’s also worth watching how they use the "man on the street" quotes to boost his image. Here’s the third paragraph:

"A lot of things were ignored over the last eight years, and I think it's all coming home to roost," says Benjamin Bleadon, 51, an insurance broker from Skokie, Ill., who was among those surveyed. "He has given the perception that he understands the issues and that he has taken control … and we'll just have to wait and see if it works."

By contrast, a critic emerged in paragraph 10, after Obama adviser David Axelrod praised his boss:

"He's throwing money at the automobile makers and all these companies," says Kelsey Maliszewski, 26, of Ocala, Fla., one of those polled.

Obama critics will have to read deeper to find Obama’s soft spots. USA Today merely hints at what gets a little more play in the Gallup.com article:

The worst thing Obama has done as president, according to the American public, is spend too much taxpayer money on bailouts, the budget, and the economic stimulus package. A combined 28% of Americans name one of these issues, including 14% specifically mentioning bailouts, the largest single response for this question. (Thirty-nine percent of Americans cannot name anything in response to the question asking about the worst thing Obama has done.)

The second-most-often-mentioned family of responses involves Obama's approach to dealing with America's national security. A combined 11% of Americans name either his relations with U.S. enemies, his closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison, or the release of classified information.

President Obama is clearly popular. The question at this juncture is how much less popular would he be without all the media adulation?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis