On Feb. 3, CBS, CNN and Fox News all passed along those numbers. CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson announced: "More than half of Americans say Congress should make big changes to the president's stimulus package or reject it all together. And Republicans detect a chink in the armor." CNN analyst David Gergen lamented: "I don't think they anticipated was how effective the Republicans and the critics would be in picking it apart." Appearing as a guest on the "NewsHour" on PBS, Sen. John Thune also spread the number, even if the anchors and reporters there hadn't announced it.
ABC ignored the survey that night as if it wasn't important. Worse yet, NBC went into damage control mode for the administration.
Over on MSNBC that night, poll results that discouraged Obama were not very welcome. On Keith Olbermann's "Countdown," liberal analyst Craig Crawford mentioned this poll result very vaguely, like it was a spreading venereal disease.
But on "Hardball," Chris Matthews strangely suggested new Gallup polls showed Obama should move faster on his plans: "Just three weeks ago, 83 percent of Americans approved of the way Barack Obama was handling his job as president-elect. Now, amid some tough decisions President Obama, in the new USA Today/Gallup poll, [is] down to a still groovy, but not still heavenly, 63 percent job approval, which translates to a 19-point drop in three weeks. Message from Ben Franklin: In order to get some things done, Mr. President, a stitch in time saves nine."
On her show that evening, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow used Gallup Poll results just like all her MoveOn.org and Daily Kos fans would demand. Armed with a new survey of 2008 voters showing Democrats with an eight-point advantage in party identification, Maddow insisted the Republicans in Washington should not be humored. They should be crushed: "We've got a really big crisis in our hands as a country. Is it really that important to bend over backwards to try to make the Republicans in Congress happy right now?"
Don't count on this new Gallup poll getting much play: While 48 percent say the media coverage of Obama is about right in tone, only 11 percent say it's too tough, while 38 percent said it's not tough enough. Expect that 38 percent number to grow if the media keeps hiding the poll results they don't like.