Press Box

President-for-Life Bill Clinton

Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz confirmed yesterday what the press has been thinking since Jan. 20: George W. Bush may live in the White House, but Bill Clinton is still the president.

According to Kurtz’s findings, the network evening newscasts aired 18 pieces on Clinton and only 14 about Bush between Feb. 12 and Feb. 15. Between Feb. 12 and Feb. 16, the Washington Post published four Page One pieces on each of the presidents while the New York Times ran four Page One stories on Clinton and only two on Bush.

President-for-Life Clinton maintained his media lead yesterday, Monday, Feb. 19, as NBC Nightly News ran a piece about his pardon of Marc Rich. Over on ABC’s World News Tonight, a verbal slip by Peter Jennings telegraphed his feelings that news hog Clinton has gotten too pushy. In reporting a Gallup Poll about Americans’ favorite presidents, the suave frostback newsreader reported, “Ronald Reagan came first, followed by John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, and Bill Clinton was forced–fourth.”

Bush made all three newscasts with dutiful stories about his dedication of the Oklahoma City memorial museum and one CBS Evening News piece about the estate tax.

Over on the print side, the Feb. 19 New York Times published one Page One story about the Clinton pardon, and the Washington Post published one Page One about Bush and the Iraqis.

If we standardize Kurtz’s methodology to include the Friday, Feb. 16, network news broadcasts (but exclude all weekend coverage), we arrive at these running coverage totals:

Clinton:             29 prominent stories
Bush:               25 prominent stories

To be updated weekly …