"I was struck when I got to Iowa and New Hampshire in January," said Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of the liberal Web site Salon.com, "by how our media colleagues were just swooning over Barack Obama. That is not too strong a word. They were swooning. The downside, though, is that they hate -- hate Hillary Clinton, most of them. Hate is not too strong a word."
What, media bias in favor of Obama, a leftist Democrat? Yet the same left-leaning media "hates" Hillary Clinton? Really? How about a little evidence?
From January 2007 through May 2007, Harvard, along with the Project for Excellence in Journalism (part of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press), examined 1,742 presidential campaign stories. The stories appeared in 48 print, online, network TV, cable and radio news outlets. Their conclusion?
"Obama's front page coverage," said the study, "was 70 percent positive and 9 percent negative, and Clinton's was similarly 61 percent positive and 13 percent negative." For Republicans, however, only 25 percent of the stories had a positive tone, and 40 percent were negative. As for network TV newscasts, Democrats were positively portrayed more than twice as often as they were negatively. For Republicans, however, fewer than 20 percent of the stories were positive, with a negative tone twice as often.
May I offer some examples from my files?
Dan Rather, CBS News, Jan. 22, 1993, reporting on the first working day of Bill Clinton's presidency: "On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Clinton fulfills a promise (emphasis added), supporting abortion rights. It was 20 years ago today, the United States Supreme Court handed down its landmark abortion rights ruling, and the controversy hasn't stopped since. Today, with the stroke of a pen, President Clinton delivered on his campaign promise to cancel several anti-abortion regulations of the Reagan-Bush years."
Dan Rather, CBS News, Jan. 22, 2001, reporting on the first working day of George W. Bush's presidency: "This was President Bush's first day at the office, and he did something to quickly please the right flank in his party (emphasis added): He reinstituted an anti-abortion policy that had been in place during his father's term and the Reagan presidency but was lifted during the Clinton years."
Tom Brokaw, NBC News, Jan. 22, 1993, reporting on the first working day of Clinton's presidency: "Today President Clinton kept a campaign promise (emphasis added), and it came on the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion."
Tom Brokaw, NBC News, Jan. 22, 2001, reporting on the first working day of Bush's presidency: "We'll begin with the new president's very active day, which started on a controversial (emphasis added) note."
Peter Jennings, ABC News, Jan. 22, 1993, reporting on the first working day of Clinton's presidency: "President Clinton keeps his word (emphasis added) on abortion rights. President Clinton kept a promise today on the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Mr. Clinton signed presidential memoranda rolling back many of the restrictions imposed by his predecessors."
Peter Jennings, ABC News, Jan. 22, 2001, reporting on the first working day of Bush's presidency: "One of the president's first actions was designed to appeal to anti-abortion conservatives (emphasis added). The president signed an order reinstating a Reagan-era policy that prohibited federal funding of family-planning groups that provided abortion-counseling services overseas."
And how about this for sheer gall?
The New York Times, Dec. 30, 2001, editorialized on Rudy Giuliani's waning reign as mayor of New York City: "It would be easy to go on about the things Mr. Giuliani failed to do -- New York City has so many problems and crises and needs that all mayors leave office with far more losses than wins. The most its residents can expect of a mayor is that he -- or someday she -- accomplish one big thing. When measured in that way, Mr. Giuliani more than did the job. He restored New Yorkers' confidence in their ability to control the city's destiny. The long years he spent fighting crime and disorder became the platform from which he showed us how to fight terrorism and Osama bin Laden."
The New York Times, Jan. 25, 2008, re-editorialized the tenure as mayor of the then-presidential candidate: "The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square. Mr. Giuliani's arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn't share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges."