Mike Huckabee argued this week that unless Americans watch Fox News, much of the public “will assume that Obama really is just doing a great job.”
I’m not sure if Huckabee has thought this one through. Voters who rely on professional news organizations will come to believe President Obama is doing great work? Isn’t that a Democratic argument?
Of course, Huckabee’s point is that he believes the non-Fox media outlets favor the president and present the news from a skewed perspective. The failed former presidential candidate is certainly entitled to his opinion, but it’s worth considering the point on a more quantitative level.
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism tracks reporting for Obama and Mitt Romney, and breaks down coverage into “positive,” “negative,” and “neutral” reports. Here, for example, is the trend for Romney, with a solid line pointing to positive coverage, and a dotted line pointing to negative coverage. Neutral stories aren’t included in the image.
Looking back over the last year, you’ll notice that some months Romney has enjoyed mostly positive coverage, while other months, negative stories dominated. It’s gone back and forth. Now consider the same analysis of Obama coverage.
Every single month, the coverage has been more negative than positive. As James Fallows put it, “At no time in the past year has coverage of President Obama been as positive as that of Governor Romney. Indeed, at no time in the past year has it been on-balance positive at all. You can argue that negative coverage of the administration is justified. You can argue that incumbents are – and should be – held to a tougher standard, since they have a record to defend. But you can’t sanely argue that the press is in the tank for Obama.”
Someone might want to let Mike Huckabee know.