Monday, February 9, 2009

Obama's first news conference

Sat down tonight to watch Obama's first news conference. I was impressed with the give and take, and learned a lot.

I remarked to my wife that it was nice to have a president who wasn't afraid of the facing the media in a news conference, thinking that Bush was loathe to do this. Well, turns out he wasn't as loathe to do a news conference than I had thought.

According to the American Presidency Project at UC-Santa Barbara, Bush held a total of 209 news conferences during his presidency, averaging just a shade more than 26. In 2008-09, Bush 29 news conferences alone.

While much fewer than Presidents Coolidge through Truman, Bush fares well compared to his contemporaries. He held more on year, on average, than Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton. Only his father exceeded the yearly average, holding more news conferences on average than any president since Truman.

Boy, was I wrong! And it just goes to show you that sometimes an impression fostered by the media (Bush as syntactically challenged and afraid of facing the media in unscripted events) can lead to the wrong conclusions about a president/presidency. Check out all the nifty graphs and charts at the website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The attitude and the tone that the media gives is very different for Obama.

For Obama it is treated almost like a sporting event and we all know how they treated them for Bush. This change in attitude and positive coverage leads to the impression that you had and goes to show that the elite media often presents an attitude or a narrative that creates a false picture. David you are a very well informed man and they even fooled you till you went and checked the raw data. This tells just how powerful the media attitudes can be, and it does you credit that you challenged your own assumption and looked for yourself.

I find it interesting that while we face yet another quarter of 6.1% negative economic growth Obama was asked the “enchanting question” by the NYT in the most recent press conference.

Unemployment is growing and the elite media is spinning it positive, on the other hand when the tax cuts helped us come out of the recession that Bush inherited and was compounded by 9/11 when unemployment fell (it even went below Clinton’s) it was called the jobless recovery, then it was “there are jobs but they are burger flipper jobs” and finally when the recovery was so solid that they couldn’t try to refute it any longer without looking silly they pretty much dropped the issue as a focus of coverage.

Chuck Norton