April 30, 2001

The First 100 Days

The Insider vs. The Man of the People

Another distinction embedded in the coverage is a subtle sense of Bush as the inside man compared with Clinton.

A notably larger percentage of the stories dealt with Bush's relationships with other insiders, such as members of Congress, while Clinton's coverage dealt significantly more with his relationship to the American people.

Overall, Clinton stories were twice as likely as Bush stories to be concerned with how his actions related to the American people (16% Clinton versus 8% Bush).

But the difference is even more pronounced when it came to certain kinds of stories.

Consider the budget, the biggest single issue in the period studied. Roughly half of all Bush budget stories were about relations with Congress. Only 12% related him to citizens.

In contrast, less than a third (30%) of Clinton budget stories were Congressional while a full quarter were about how his budget plans related to and affected citizens.