The broadcast and cable news shows raced to proclaim the stall in the passage of an Obamacare replacement as a “disastrous” failure for the Trump administration, with reactions ranging from gloating exaggerations to blatant falsehoods. “The President who fancies himself a master of the art of the deal is still an apprentice when it comes to politics,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley chortled on March 24. “This is an embarrassing defeat for President Trump and for Paul Ryan,” NBC Senior Politics Analyst Mark Halperin on the March 24 Nightly News.
Media Reality Check
Occasional compilations and studies, from the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division, documenting distorted coverage and/or media omissions. Archive on MRC.org has the full text posts of Media Reality Checks from 2015 and earlier.
While the liberal media has portrayed the tabling of the ObamaCare replacement bill as a “hugely embarrassing” political failure for President Donald Trump, there is one thing they aren’t doing – calling it a missed opportunity to rescue Americans who have been hurt or burdened by ObamaCare. However, there was a time back in 2010, when liberal reporters were saying something entirely different. After Republican Scott Brown took over “Ted Kennedy’s seat” and was poised to cast the deciding vote that would kill ObamaCare the liberal media feared for the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation.
All it took was one picture of Trump meeting with an all-male Congressional committee to get the BBC to lump him in the same boat as a country that until 2015 didn’t allow women to vote. The liberal Twitter mob attacked the White House on March 23 after Vice President Mike Pence tweeted out a picture of President Trump meeting with the House Freedom Caucus. Although Kellyanne Conway was in the room off screen, critics complained that the photo of a meeting about the now-defunct GOP healthcare bill didn’t include any women, but the BBC took it one step further.
When President Trump made his claim that President Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower during the presidential campaign, the media demanded evidence. Since Trump’s initial tweet on March 4, the evening news shows of ABC, CBS and NBC have called on the White House to provide more evidence a grand total of 123 times.
The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) have devoted exhaustive coverage over the allegation that Russia may have interfered with the 2016 election, as most recently seen in their massive reporting of the James Comey hearings. But there was a time when they didn’t care when a foreign country tried to buy a U.S. election (Hint: It helped a Democrat). Back in 1996, China helped then-President Bill Clinton get re-elected by funneling money to the Clinton campaign.
If the liberal media cover the Neil Gorsuch hearings the same way they handled Barack Obama’s choices for the Supreme Court, they will do everything they can to pave the way to an easy confirmation. When they weren’t singing the praises of their backgrounds, or even comedic stylings, liberal reporters and anchors tried to downplay the leftist leaning of Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Merrick Garland. The following is a collection of some the most egregious examples of liberal reporters and anchors doing their best to pave the way for Obama’s nominees.
Despite a complete lack of newsworthiness, the morning news shows of ABC, CBS and NBC on March 15 spent 20 minutes and 28 seconds speculating about President Donald Trump’s tax returns based on two pages that even they had to admit were “certainly not scandalous in any way.” On March 14, Rachel Maddow revealed that her much-hyped excerpt from Trump’s 2005 tax returns were completely inconsequential and revealed nothing relevant. Nothing good, nothing bad. Just nothing. It was so little payoff for so much hype that even CNN mocked Maddow.
Media criticism of the current GOP health care bill has been swift, but ObamaCare’s rollout was met with unified and resounding support from these same networks. In his report on NBC Nightly News on March 7, correspondent Tom Costello included a clip of a George Washington University professor who claimed that “The losers in this are lower income people who need financial assistance to be able to buy coverage that’s affordable for them.”
Since Saturday, when Donald Trump first took to Twitter to accuse former President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, the morning and evening shows of ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted 107 minutes, 33 seconds to refuting the President’s claim. In contrast, new reports from previous weeks suggesting the Obama Administration did, in fact, initiate surveillance were essentially ignored at the time.
If you ever doubted that the media see the news through a partisan prism, consider this: in less than two days, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted nearly 7 times as much coverage to Jeff Sessions meeting with the Russian Ambassador in his role as a U.S. Senator than they did when then-Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress in June 2012.
A new American President is always a big story, but TV news is obsessed with the Trump administration — and not in a good way. In the first 30 days (January 20 to February 18), our analysts determined that the President and his team were the subject of 16 hours of coverage on just the Big Three evening newscasts, or more than half (54%) of all of the news coverage during this period. And while most new presidents enjoy a media honeymoon, the tone of Trump’s coverage was nearly as hostile (88% negative) as we found during last year’s presidential campaign (91% negative).
“He took us to the mountain tops.” “Big and bold” “He wowed us!” No, these aren’t movie critic blurbs on a movie poster praising a star actor’s performance, these were the immediate reactions from the liberal media to President Barack Obama’s first address to Congress. Will Donald Trump’s speech tonight receive similar accolades? Given the press’s hostility to the new president, it seems unlikely. But back in 2009, the first takes on Obama’s speech were effusive.