Bias by the Minute

By Rich Noyes | May 16, 2017 | 12:47 PM EDT

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.

By Mike Ciandella | May 11, 2017 | 12:53 PM EDT

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. 

By Nicholas Fondacaro | May 10, 2017 | 10:52 PM EDT

In the immediate aftermath of the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) didn’t quite know how to spin it. But just 24 hours later, the narrative was clear: President Trump fired Comey because the Russia investigation was closing in on him. During their Wednesday evening broadcasts, the networks spent almost two-thirds of their Comey coverage (62 percent) pushing that theory. The networks ran 40 minutes, 25 seconds of Comey coverage, and of that, they spent 25 minutes, five seconds on the conspiracy theory. 

By Mike Ciandella | April 24, 2017 | 2:27 PM EDT

After 95 days of unremittingly hostile coverage of President Donald Trump, the two liberal cable news networks indulged themselves on Monday by offering an incredible hour of uncritical live coverage to a not-very-newsworthy event by former President Barack Obama in Chicago. While Fox News showed only 7 minutes and 20 seconds of Obama’s talk, CNN and MSNBC broadcast the speech and question-and-answer segment following it for a full 52 minutes, 12 seconds and 58 minutes, 46 seconds, respectively.

By Rich Noyes | and By Mike Ciandella | April 19, 2017 | 9:16 AM EDT

As President Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office, he has received by far the most hostile press treatment of any incoming American president, with the broadcast networks punishing him with coverage that has been 89% negative. The networks largely ignored important national priorities such as jobs and the fight against ISIS, in favor of a news agenda that has been dominated by anti-Trump controversies and which closely matches what would be expected from an opposition party.

By Mike Ciandella | March 23, 2017 | 6:13 PM EDT

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. 

By Curtis Houck | March 20, 2017 | 5:00 PM EDT

On Monday, the liberal broadcast networks and cable outlets tag-teamed to ignore live opening day coverage of Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to become the next Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, instead spending over 11 hours of coverage on the FBI Director James Comey, addressing allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

By Mike Ciandella | March 15, 2017 | 12:05 PM EDT

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.

By Mike Ciandella | and By Rich Noyes | March 7, 2017 | 12:03 PM EST

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.

By Mike Ciandella | and By Rich Noyes | March 3, 2017 | 4:36 PM EST

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.

By Rich Noyes | and By Mike Ciandella | March 2, 2017 | 8:15 AM EST

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).

By Kyle Drennen | February 15, 2017 | 1:37 PM EST

On Wednesday, the network morning shows declared a “White House in crisis” amid the fallout from the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and a New York Times report on Trump campaign officials having contact with Russia during the presidential race. While those “bombshell” stories garnered 36 minutes 17 seconds of air time on the broadcasts, only a scant 2 minutes 2 seconds was featured on criticism of the serious national security leaks that fueled both stories.