Journalists have offered fair coverage of the passing of George H.W. Bush. But it was not always thus says Rich Noyes, senior analyst for Newsbusters.org — who consulted records dating back to 1988 for an analysis of coverage of the late president’s campaign and years in office.
Mr. Noyes pointed out that a historic poll of Washington media bureau chiefs and correspondents found that just 7 percent voted for George H.W. Bush in 1992, vs. 89 percent who voted for Bill Clinton — reflecting a longtime liberal bias in the press. Two percent opted for independent Ross Perot.
“Washington-based reporters preferred Clinton 12 to 1,” the survey said at the time.
“The media’s current appreciation for the 41st President stands in sharp contrast to how they covered his presidential campaigns and his administration. When Bush was still in the arena, liberal reporters were among his most vociferous critics, who deplored his campaign tactics, accused him of exacerbating racial tensions, and bashed him for failing to adopt liberal policy positions,” wrote Mr. Noyes, citing multiple stories which diminished the 41st president’s many accomplishments and approval ratings.
“The White House press corps by and large detested George Bush, Time’s William A. Henry III revealed after the 1992 election on a PBS special. He argued that the media’s coverage of Bush was so one-sided, it hurt journalism among conservative and Republican voters: ‘Their real contempt for him showed through in their reporting in a way that I think got up the nose of the American people.’ ” Mr. Noyes recalled.
“Keep all of this in mind as you hear journalists trumpet their praise of George Bush this week. They weren’t always singing the same tune,” he said.