ABC and NBC on Wednesday night and Thursday morning avoided a bleak new poll labeling Barack Obama the "worst president" since World War II. Only CBS This Morning on Thursday bothered to cover the story, but gave just 21 seconds to the story. Guest co-host Anthony Mason explained, "Since World War II ended, 12 men have been President of the United States. A new Quinnipiac University poll puts President Obama on the bottom of that list." [MP3 audio here.]
The journalist added, "Thirty three percent of Americans rate him as the worst President." Only 13 percent said Richard Nixon. Not mentioned by Mason was the fact that the survey also shows that 45 percent think America would be better off if Romney had been elected. Only 38 percent say worse. Obama's overall approval rating stands at 40 percent. In contrast, ABC and NBC have played up the "worst" label when it applied to George W. Bush.
On January 22, 2006, the late Tim Russert asked then-Senator Obama, "Will George Bush be considered one of the worst presidents in history?"
On May 21, 2006, ABC's George Stephanopoulos profiled then-Senator John Edwards. He wondered, "You've also said the President is the worst President of our lifetime...Worse than Richard Nixon?"
On Wednesday, MSNBC downplayed the bad news for Obama. Chuck Todd dismissed, "These great and worst lists, they’re terrible...because they always reflect the moment in time." Yet, in 2006, the same network hyped a "devastating" poll finding a similar result for George W. Bush.
A transcript of the CBS This Morning brief:
ANTHONY MASON: Since World War II ended, 12 men have been President of the United States. A new Quinnipiac University poll puts President Obama on the bottom of that list: 33 percent of Americans rate him as the worst President since the war; 28 percent give that distinction to President George W. Bush. Thirteen percent say the worst was Richard Nixon, the only President ever to resign.