Politico Asks: 'Media In The Tank' for Obama or 'Perpetual Whining' of GOP?

Politico went to its “Arena” pages to ask the experts if its recent story on the New York Times and The Washington Post being "in the tank" for Obama was accurate or inaccurate. The expert mix was pretty balanced.

Former USA Today reporter Richard Benedetto was candid: “As a daily reader of the print edition of The Washington Post, I have the clear anecdotal impression that President Obama and wife Michelle receive better headlines, photos, story placement and more-positive story angles than Mitt Romney and his wife Ann. My thesis is that an empirical study would bear that out.” Others were deniers:

Two liberals were selling the unreliable Pew numbers suggesting Obama’s received more negative press than Romney. Professor and “Monkey Cage” blogger Joshua Tucker oddly used the Pew numbers – which included horse-race evaluations of GOP primary results – AND cited a fan of his who said primary results were not determinative:

“Politico’s query is premature. Ascertaining bias with respect to the two major-party nominees is neither useful nor practical until the general election is fully underway. When only one party has a nomination contest, the underlying political reality is imbalanced, thus rendering “balance” a useless baseline for measuring media slant.”

Political scientist Jamie Chandler claimed the Pew people offered “hard evidence that President Obama is on the downside. Thirty-four percent of ink puts him in bad light compared to Romney’s 25.”

"The average voter doesn’t read the Times or the Post. If they did, these broadsheets wouldn’t be suffering their continued, long-term decline in circulation. People are more interested in the weather and sports. Unless the press starts mixing talk about the UV index with Ann Romney’s equestrian skills, no one cares. The GOP shouldn’t complain; any press, negative or positive, is better than none. They have the Super PAC advantaged. The ton of ads that air between now and November 6 will be what matters. The party should focus its energy on getting voters interested in the campaign, not fussing about whose winning the happy story race."

Professor Timothy Stoltzfus Jost offers what would be the response directly from the liberal newsroom: "This is the perpetual whining of Republicans. They own a substantial share of the broadcast and print media, and continually blast the Obama administration through it. Any attempt by the media to provide actual fair and balanced coverage, however, is criticized as biased. POLITICO should not even dignify this sniveling by acknowledging it. Or at least ask if the WSJ and Fox are treating Obama fairly."

We close with Grover Norquist: “I spent the first half of my life reading the Post and Times explain how the Soviet Union was working (better in many ways than us) and how socialism was popular with ‘its’” people. I am spending the second half reading their similarly faith-based commitment to the idea that big and bigger government will always be with us…and we like it.”

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