An Extended Presidential Honeymoon? Coverage of Barack Obama in the New York Times during 2009 and 2010


  • Acknowledgements: The authors thank Dan Amundson of the Center for Media and Public Affairs for his research assistance and the Council for Excellence in Government, George Mason University and the University of Mary Washington for financial support. Thanks as well to the editors and the anonymous reviewers. An earlier version of this paper was delivered at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Political Science Association. All errors and interpretations remain the authors' responsibility.


Content analysis of front page New York Times stories during the first and second years of the Barack Obama presidency revealed news coverage that was far more positive in tone than the norm for recent U.S. presidents, particularly with respect to foreign policy coverage. While coverage of Obama was somewhat less positive during 2010 when compared to 2009, the Obama findings overall reveal a much longer honeymoon than seen in the past. Coverage of specific problematic policy areas, like offshore drilling issues in the wake of the BP oil spill, was particularly negative. Coverage of arms control matters was very positive in tone in 2010 for Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Related Articles

Farnsworth, Stephen J, and S. Robert Lichter. 2012. “News Coverage of New Presidents in The New York Times, 1981-2009.” Politics & Policy 40 (1): 69-91. Bode, Leticia, and Valerie M. Hennings. 2012. “Mixed Signals? Gender and the Media's Coverage of the 2008 Vice Presidential Candidates.” Politics & Policy 40 (2): 221-257. Fogarty, Brian J. 2011. “Modeling the Negotiation of Newsworthiness.” Politics & Policy 39 (6): 1053-1076.

Related Media

Balz, Dan, and Jon Cohen. 2010. “Confidence in Obama Reaches New Low.” Washington Post. July 13. Calderone, Michael. 2009. “How Media Sucks Up to the White House.” March 4. Shear, Michael D. 2010. “Better Focus, Faster Response Part of Obama Communications Plan.” Washington Post. February 15.


Durante los primeros dos años de su presidencia Barack Obama gozó de una cobertura muy positiva comparada con la de sus antecesores en sus respectivos primeros bienios. Esto es lo que destaca un análisis de contenido de primeras planas del New York Times que comprende el periodo mencionado. A pesar de que el año 2010 (segundo año) fue menos positivo que 2009, el analisis de contenido revela que la presidencia de Obama se distingue de la de sus antecesores por haber logrado la luna de miel más prolongada con la opinión pública. La cobertura de áreas problemáticas de políticas como la perforación de pozos marinos en la etapa inicial del derrame de BP en el Golfo de México fue particularmente negativa. En contraste, la cobertura de la política de control de armas fue muy positiva, como también lo fue el que Obama recibiera el Premio Nobel 2009.