I’d put the chances of this happening somewhere between Michael Moore passing on seconds and Obama giving up golf.

A Hard Look at the President — NYT, Public Editor

Now, though, the general election season is on, and The Times needs to offer an aggressive look at the president’s record, policy promises and campaign operation to answer the question: Who is the real Barack Obama?

According to a study by the media scholars Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter, The Times’s coverage of the president’s first year in office was significantly more favorable than its first-year coverage of three predecessors who also brought a new party to power in the White House: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

Writing for the periodical Politics & Policy, the authors were so struck by the findings that they wondered, “Did The Times, perhaps in response to the aggressive efforts by Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal to seize market share, decide to tilt more to the left than it had in the past?”

To illustrate, Faye Farrington, a reader from Hollis, N.H., wrote me earlier this year in exasperation over a Sunday magazine article about “Downton Abbey,” the public television series, in which the writer slipped in a veiled complaint about Mitt Romney’s exploitation of the American tax code.

“The constant insertion of liberal politics into even the most politically irrelevant articles has already caused us to cancel our daily subscription,” Ms. Farrington wrote, “leaving only the Sunday delivery as I confess to an addiction to the Sunday crossword.”

The warm afterglow of Mr. Obama’s election, the collateral effects of liberal-minded feature writers — these can be overcome by hard-nosed, unbiased political reporting now. […]

I applaud The Times’s stated commitment to doing these kinds of stories. Readers deserve to know: Who is the real Barack Obama? And The Times needs to show that it can address the question in a hard-nosed, unbiased way.

Read it all…