Dirk Smillie’s Forbes interview (6/18/09) with veteran news analyst Andrew Tyndall includes the observation that “mainstream press–network newscasts in particular–have been criticized for overly favorable coverage of the Obama administration.” Tyndall takes the opportunity to make some important distinctions about this common allegation:
There may be a personality bias, not a liberal bias. Since the inauguration, Obama has completely dominated the news agenda. He’s a ratings getter. Compare that with George W. Bush’s early days in the White House. There was very little news until September 11. It’s certainly true that there has been favoritism toward Obama, but only in the sense that the networks want to cover him.
The crucial point usually missed in this conversation: “That’s not the same thing as reporting with a bias toward his policies.” See FAIR’s take on this trend from even before Obama won the presidency–Media Advisory: “Pro-Obama Media?: What Talk About Media Favoritism Really Means” (11/4/08).