MRC’s Tim Graham: ‘Music and Lyrics’ of Election Bias on Display with Clinton vs. Trump Gaffes

Hours after MRC President Brent Bozell appeared on FNC’s Your World, NewsBusters Executive Editor Tim Graham entered the No Spin Zone of Thursday’s O’Reilly Factor to highlight for fill-in host Eric Bolling the stark disparity in network coverage of Trump’s Second Amendment slip and the father of the Orlando terrorist attending a Hillary Clinton rally. 

Bolling began the segment by reading for viewers the five-to-one disparity in coverage on ABC, CBS, and NBC of both controversies before giving way to Graham, who prefaced his analysis by noting that “it’s getting worse as we go along.”

“CBS is really standing out here because they have 14 minutes on Trump to one on Hillary. So, they are really skewing the whole thing. It just shows you a general election pattern that they always have, which is take whatever the gaffe is like binders full of women and completely exaggerate it and hyperinflate it and with the Democrats it's like what story,” Graham explained.

Tell the Truth 2016

The fill-in O’Reilly Factor host followed up with a question about whether the differences were seen across other mediums and Graham responded that “[g]enerally the pattern is the same all the way across” for broadcast and cable networks and, contrary to what one may think, newspapers don’t always a more balanced picture even though they have the ability to go beyond TV soundbites:

What's really interesting sometimes is when you think that newspapers are going to be more in-depth and offer you more on some of these Hillary scandals and then what you find when you go back and look at it is no. You know, for example, the networks totally jumped all over Kazir Khan's speech to the Democratic convention. The networks ignored Patricia Smith. You look at the newspapers, you find the same thing. The newspaper coverage of the Republican convention barely noticed Patricia Smith and completely exaggerated the Kazir Khan speech. 

“This is what you find whether it's print, whether it's broadcast, whether it's cable news of the liberal persuasion, you're going to get this overwhelming slant that basically always suggests to you this election should be over already. That's the kind of music and lyrics they like to provide in general election season,” Graham added.

Concerning the top two candidates for president, Graham admitted that “clearly, these are two candidates who are both unpopular” but the spin has been troubling that “they like to describe Trump as abnormal and Hillary is normal” when she’s anything but the case.

The transcript of Graham’s appearance on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor from August 10 can be found below.

FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor
August 10, 2016
8:44 p.m. Eastern

ERIC BOLLING: And in the personal story segment tonight, the media's coverage of Donald Trump's comments about Hillary Clinton and second amendment supporters, according to a study by the Media Research Center, a conservative outfit, the morning and evening network newscasts devoted more than five times the amount of coverage to the Trump controversy than the story of the Orlando terrorist father showing up at a Clinton rally. Joining us now from Reston, Virginia, the Media Research Center’s Tim Graham. So, it went from four times to five times the amount. Does that mean the coverage continues to be that skewed, biased?

TIM GRAHAM: Yeah, it's getting worse as we go along. In particular, CBS is really standing out here because they have 14 minutes on Trump to one on Hillary. So, they are really skewing the whole thing. It just shows you a general election pattern that they always have, which is take whatever the gaffe is like binders full of women and completely exaggerate it and hyperinflate it and with the Democrats it's like what story?  

BOLLING: Yeah. So, do you find that it's consistent along all medium? In other words, broadcast medium versus network and versus cable?

GRAHAM: Yeah. Generally the pattern is the same all the way across. What's really interesting sometimes is when you think that newspapers are going to be more in-depth and offer you more on some of these Hillary scandals and then what you find when you go back and look at it is no. You know, for example, the networks totally jumped all over Kazir Khan's speech to the Democratic convention. The networks ignored Patricia Smith. You look at the newspapers, you find the same thing. The newspaper coverage of the Republican convention barely noticed Patricia Smith and completely exaggerated the Kazir Khan speech. This is what you find whether it's print, whether it's broadcast, whether it's cable news of the liberal persuasion, you're going to get this overwhelming slant that basically always suggests to you this election should be over already. That's the kind of music and lyrics they like to provide in general election season.

BOLLING: So, It sounds like it's both. Not only are they highlighting a negative that they perceive as a negative story for Donald Trump so, yes, they are blowing that up big which newscasts tend to do that but, also, they are burying what has been perceived by many as a negative story for Hillary Clinton. So they — that's maybe more egregious. 

GRAHAM: Well, and clearly these are two candidates who are both unpopular. Both of them are perceived as not tremendously honest. I think Hillary is presented as more dishonest and the networks, again, present her as utterly uncontroversial. You know, they like to describe Trump as abnormal and Hillary is normal. Hillary in no way is normal. She is the wife of an impeached, disbarred president, you know, with train loads of corruption and they are presenting her as normal in this election and so many Americans just aren't buying that and they are not buying the media bias. 

BOLLING: But Tim, this isn't new though. There has been a media bias and skew going on for a really long time. 

GRAHAM: Exactly and this is what we're trying to say to people. You know, Jim Rutenberg had a commentary in the front page of The New York Times on Monday. This is The New York Times line: Donald Trump is so uniquely horrible that we all have to ensure his defeat in the news media but the funny part was they pretended this has never been done before. We have never skewed the general election before this is just what they do and it's still deplorable. 

BOLLING: Alright, Tim, we will leave it right there. Thank you very much.

NB Staff
NB Staff