Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney formally announced today that he would seek the Republican nomination for President, but one would hardly know this from watching CBS’s "Early Show." Romney’s candidacy received exactly ten seconds worth of coverage, following stories on a Utah mall shooting, winter storms, and the ongoing soap opera of Anna Nicole Smith’s demise. However, on Saturday, when Illinois Senator Barack Obama announced his candidacy as a Democrat, CBS’s "Saturday Early Show" devoted 9 minutes and 9 seconds, (549 seconds) to this story, a greater than 54:1 bias.
On the "Saturday Early Show," CBS aired at least one story on Barack Obama in each of the first three half hours. Yet, the ten seconds they allotted to Governor Romney on Tuesday’s program, was buried in the 7:30 half hour at 7:37. Unlike CBS, both ABC and NBC on Tuesday devoted a full story to Governor Romney’s announcement, and NBC added an additional anchor brief, roughly comparable to the coverage they gave Obama on Saturday.
Given that polls indicate that both Senator Obama and Governor Romney are top tier candidates for their respective party nominations, it is correct to provide both with similar amounts of coverage. Yet, while NBC and ABC attempted to provide this balance, at least when it came to covering the official campaign announcements, CBS provided Barack Obama with almost 55 times as much coverage as Mitt Romney. It would seem Obama is not only a media hero, but a CBS favorite as well.