Over the last week, President Bush’s poll numbers have improved. While the media was quick to highlight poll results when the President’s numbers were declining, they have been less enthusiastic about noting his resurgence. Referring to the "New York Times," co-host of "Fox and Friends" Steve Doocy noted:
"...So, this is really big news for the White House and I'm sure it's going to be on page one. So anyway, with a –because I know that when the president's approval rating was falling, it was on page one..."
Mr. Doocy searched the entire front section of the "Times" on air and was unable to locate news of improving popularity for President Bush. However, it was not just the ‘New York Times" that has omitted improving poll numbers. NBC’s "Today" made no mention of an NBC poll just released yesterday showing President Bush’s approval climbing to 42%. Additionally, neither ABC’s "Good Morning America" nor CBS’s "Early Show" mentioned President Bush’s improved standing with American voters.
Some may defend shows such as "Good Morning America" or the "Early Show" and claim they have no responsibility to report on improving poll numbers if their networks do not have their own new polls to report. However, when a CBS poll showed the president’s approval at "record lows" or 34%, all networks pounced on the numbers, as noted in a Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" on March 2, 2006. If networks see fit to utilize and report on damaging polls performed by other networks, don’t they also have a responsibility to use the information gathered by rivals that show improvement?
Again, on Fox and Friends, Steve Doocy asked Fox News’ Chris Wallace a poignant question:
"Chris, why is it a big story when the president's numbers are going down and they don't even talk about it when it's going up?"
To which Wallace replied:
"Because, you know, that's one of those questions that I think answers itself, Steve."
The exchange between Steve Doocey, E.D. Hill, and Chris Wallace on "Fox and Friends" follows:
Steve Doocy: "Brian, give me the "New York Times" there for a second. So, this is really big news for the White House and I'm sure it's going to be on page 1. So anyway, with a –because I know that when the president's approval rating was falling, it was on page 1. So I’m sure the, oh, there's a sale at Macy's. I’m sure it’s going, well we’re on Page 10. "The Wire" got good reviews."
E.D. Hill: "We must have missed it…"
Steve Doocy: "I'm sure it's in classifieds. Chris Wallace is live from Washington. Chris, why is it a big story when the president's numbers are going down and they don't even talk about it when it's going up?"
Chris Wallace: "Because, you know, that's one of those questions that I think answers itself, Steve. It is very interesting, and it's a significant movement. There's no question about it, that's a nine point swing, when you take the increased approval and the decreased disapproval, that's a nine point swing to the president in a couple of weeks and there’s a poll you didn't show which I think is, frankly, more important."