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.
With Congressman Steve Scalise still recovering from an attack by a crazed leftist, MSNBC’s Joy Reid couldn’t keep from politicizing the tragedy as she took a cheap shot at the congressman’s record. On June 17 the host of AM Joy tweeted “Rep. #Scalise was shot by a white man with a violent background, and saved by a black lesbian police officer, and yet...” Sadly, Reid’s inability to put her leftist agenda aside, even while Congressman Scalise was in the hospital, is reflective of her MSNBC career.
The media seem allergic to reporting on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. On June 12, protesters set fire to the country’s supreme court, after it “voted to reject a motion that would prevent Mr. Maduro from rewriting the country's constitution,” according to The Telegraph. Yet, the morning and evening news shows of ABC, CBS and NBC failed to mention this major incident even once.
Donald Trump’s repeated branding of CNN as “fake news” may have been born in its biased 2016 campaign coverage, but the truth is CNN has peddled inaccurate reporting with an agenda for at least three decades. From former CNN correspondent Peter Arnett, in 1991, passing along Iraqi war propaganda of allied forces bombing a “baby milk” factory to CNN executive Eason Jordan, in 2005, accusing U.S. soldiers of targeting journalists to CNN contributor Donna Brazile feeding townhall questions to the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, there is a long history of news fakery at the oldest 24-hour cable news outlet.
President Trump’s announcement that the United States would be pulling out of the Paris climate accord was bound to be met with journalistic hand-wringing, and MSNBC’s Brian Williams didn’t disappoint. “On a sunny day in the rose garden, what could be defined and construed as a dark speech,” Williams said somberly. “And as you go through it, more like four or five dark speeches in there.”
It’s not just the press that are freaked out by Donald Trump. Talk show hosts and celebrities from Stephen Colbert to Robert DeNiro, Katy Perry and Rosie O’Donnell are losing their minds over the new president: DeNiro claimed Trump was worse than con-man Bernie Madoff: “He’s a pig”; Perry whined that Trump’s election brought “a lot of trauma for me”; Colbert infamously characterized Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin in the most obscene terms; and O’Donnell sounded like she was fomenting a revolution: “We have never had this kind of treasonous madness in power before. Desperate times - desperate measures.”
CNN claims it’s right down the middle, somewhere between the left-wing MSNBC and the more conservative-friendly Fox News Channel. But an MRC study of an entire day of CNN’s coverage shows the network spent almost all of its time covering the Trump presidency, with a heavily skewed roster of anti-Trump guests and on-air commentators.
Primetime cable hosts, reporters and contributors from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin unleashed hell on Donald Trump after news broke of FBI Director James Comey’s firing. All night on Tuesday, journalists obsessively compared Trump’s move to Richard Nixon’s “Saturday night massacre” of special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal.
The major health insurance provider Aetna announced that it would be pulling out of the last two states where it still participated in Obamacare. Yet, the morning news shows of ABC and NBC completely ignored this important news story, while CBS This Morning gave it a mere 25 seconds.
This continues a longstanding network news tradition of defending the Affordable Care Act and ignoring its failures.
After a lengthy career as an NBC/MSNBC analyst spent trashing conservatives and admiring Democrats, so-called Republican Nicolle Wallace is finally being rewarded with her own show. Wallace’s show Deadline: White House will debut on Tuesday, and she fits the bill of an “MSNBC Republican” to a T. The former McCain-Palin campaign senior advisor, according to the New York Times, didn’t even vote for the candidates she worked for has displayed that kind of disloyalty as a TV talking head.
Liberal reporters have been eager to report on President Trump’s low approval numbers, but they’ve mostly ignored their own, significantly lower approval ratings.
According to Gallup in September of 2016, “Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media ‘to report the news fully, accurately and fairly’ has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.”
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley is plainly the most anti-Trump of the Big Three anchormen, having gone out of his way since the Inauguration to slam Trump's “falsehoods,” even asking if the President “is having difficulty with rationality.” For taking on the President in such a direct way, Pelley has become something of a rock star among his fellow journalists.
With Republicans set to make another run at repealing and replacing ObamaCare this week, look for the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) to blame conservatives, specifically, the House Freedom Caucus for any sort of obstruction to getting a deal done. In 30 days of health care debate coverage (March 7 through April 5), the broadcast networks consistently framed it as a fight between unreasonable conservatives versus more moderate Republicans and Senate Democrats by overwhelmingly applying ideological labels to one side of the argument.