Bush finds that no news is not good news

WASHINGTON: Not only did President Bush receive little more than

half the media attention of former President Clinton during his first

100 days in office, it was also more negative than that of his


A study released last week by the Pew Project for Excellence in

Journalism, entitled 'The First 100 Days: How Bush Versus Clinton Fared

in the Press,' found that Bush won 41% less coverage than Clinton, and

that Bush's was more likely to be negative, despite Clinton's famously

tumultuous start.

The primary difference was in the first month, when stories about Bush

focused largely on his competence and not his policies. These stories

were for the most part positive. But Bush's second month saw negative

stories outweigh positive ones by an almost two-to-one margin.

The study's authors give two explanations for the decline in


'While some analysts have suggested that this may be a function of Bush

shrewdly keeping a lower profile, it also may reflect changes in the

nature of the media culture,' they wrote. 'The selection of stories in

the media is now often lighter, with a movement away from politics.'

Kathy Jeavons, VP and group manager for Ketchum's public affairs

practice, and an associate director with the White House Office of

Public Liaison under the former President Bush, called the drop in

coverage a conscious decision by the president and not a by-product of

changing media values.

'He seems to be less concerned with making news every day than with

ensuring the right people within his administration speak up about key

initiatives,' she said.

The study, available at www.journalism.org, examined 899 stories at four

network TV news stations, two major newspapers and one newsweekly.

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