Opinion Brief

Has the media turned on Obama?

Despite conservative complaints of the media's liberal bias, Obama is getting tougher press coverage than anyone in the GOP field

Republicans frequently complain that news reporters are cheerleaders for President Obama. But a new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism says it's Obama who "has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment" of all the presidential candidates over the past five months. Pew found that only 9 percent of news stories about Obama were "positive" during that period. On the GOP side, Texas Gov. Rick Perry got the best treatment, with 32 percent positive coverage. Has the press soured on Obama?

Yes. It's impossible to overlook his flaws: Obama is getting slammed because "he's the sitting president and things are going to hell in a handcart around him," says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. The media can't ignore his "falling poll numbers, the drip-drip-drip of bad news on the economy," his losing battles with Congress, and liberal complaints that he's a disappointment. Meanwhile, GOP hopefuls new to the national scene are getting the routine "meet the candidate" treatment — which tends to be rather positive."Media coverage of the candidates"

And this disproves the "liberal" media lie: Non-conservatives always knew Republicans were being dishonest when they claimed Obama had the media in his pocket, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. Now, thanks to Pew, we have the statistics to prove that Obama is the one the press attacks, and it's the Republicans who are being coddled. "Liberal media, indeed.""So much for the liberal media"

Actually, news outlets still root for Obama: With the economy tanking, "it's no surprise the news isn't all pro-White House puff pieces," says Alana Goodman at Commentary. But that doesn't mean the media have turned on Obama. "They're really just reporting on fundamental facts" like the president's sagging poll numbers. After the primaries, all the negative coverage on the GOP field will fall on the nominee. Only then will we see whether "fawning media coverage" will give Obama the same lift it did in 2008."Obama losing the media primary"

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