It's way too early to let the nascent presidential race dominate this space. After the conventions, well, that will be another story. (OK, OK, nascent is a misnomer, there is nothing nascent about it. Neither Obama nor Romney have stopped campaigning since 2008). Still, it's hard to let certain things pass without comment.
In this The Atlantic "Wire" story we have claims that the mainstream media is not, I repeat, not in the tank for President Obama. The proof is the number of negative stories about the President compared to Mitt Romney over the same period. For one, Obama is the incumbent and has a record, a bad one at that, and Romney was the most moderate, least controversial candidate among a field of scoundrels, fools and radicals competing in a party endorsement process.
Measuring a story for positive or negative treatment of a candidate is dicey at best. Many of the negative Obama stories are of the devil's advocate type. Where the reporter or commentator will spill the argument against the president while the dripping condescension and utter dismissiveness is palatable. Usually the end of the story will portray the President as above it all.
What I see clearly is the combative attitude of the President's mainstream media supporters. That attitude is on full display when a Romney supporter is being questioned. The inquisitions are confrontational, the questions tough and the answers already concluded. The job of the interviewer is always to get the Romney guy to end up admitting something unflattering about the candidate. If at first they fail they twist and turn the question until they get what they want. Sometimes I'm embarrassed for the reporter and can't image other viewers/listeners are not also taken aback by the confrontational tone. The same is almost never true when questioning an Obama guy.
So, by golly, these guys can cite statistics all they want, but intent and nuance is almost never measured in raw numbers. Heads up to the Mainstream Media: No amount of cheer leading - or kid gloves - will help if the economy is this bad or even worse by October.