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.
It’s been two days since NBC’s exclusive reporting that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no material evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and as of yet none of the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) have given it even a single second of airtime in their evening newscasts. Considering these networks have given the Russia probe a massive 2,202 minutes of airtime, their silence on this major development is deafening.
President Trump used his State of the Union to condemn Democratic efforts to push abortion laws toward legal infanticide. Democrats have been swift to call him a liar and protest that he’s blowing things out of proportion. But he wasn’t lying and the evidence is out there, making ThinkProgress’ February 6 protestation as silly as it is dishonest. Trump, ThinkProgress asserted, lied when he claimed third-trimester abortions “rip babies from mothers.”
If tonight’s coverage is anything like President Donald’s Trump’s first State of the Union Address look for the media to trash the speech and vilify the President. Of course there was a time the media threw verbal bouquets after the SOTU speech – when Barack Obama was delivering them. The following are the most absurd media reactions to Obama-era State of the Union speeches, as culled from the MRC’s archives.
In just 35 days, the partial government shutdown generated nearly five hours of coverage on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts. By a six-to-one margin, network reporters framed the shutdown as the fault of President Trump, not the Democrats. Out of 297 minutes of total shutdown coverage, just 27% was devoted to the debate over the border wall — far less time than was given to TSA workers calling in sick, delays at airports and the personal plight of government workers who had their paychecks delayed.
The annual March for Life and Women’s March have become back-to-back events for two large, sharply clashing constituencies. By covering the Women’s March 17 times more than the March for Life, the top two national Spanish-language television newscasts in the United States reveal their clear preference for publicizing the agenda of one march, but not the other.
Between Saturday morning and Sunday night, CNN and MSNBC spent 53 minutes and 20 seconds on the fallout from Friday's confrontation between Covington High School students in Washington for the March for Life, a Native American veteran named Nathan Phillips, and the Black Israelites. 29 of those minutes came before anyone realized that perhaps things weren’t as they wanted it to appear. Of course, the liberal media have refused to take responsibility and issue retractions.
Between Saturday evening and Monday morning, NBC, ABC and CBS devoted a stunning 19 minutes 5 seconds to falsely accusing teenagers who participated in the March for Life of racism following a confrontation with left-wing activists. That was after the broadcast networks only managed to provide a pathetic 58 seconds of coverage to Friday’s annual demonstration protesting the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing abortion.
Despite what was a much delayed but important avalanche of headlines about the group’s anti-Semitism, Saturday’s Women’s March still received nearly 15 times the broadcast network newscast coverage of the 47th annual March for Life that was held Friday. Between Wednesday morning and Saturday evening, the Women’s March fetched 14 minutes and 26 seconds of coverage on the ABC, CBS, and NBC morning and evening newscasts. This stood in stark contrast to just 58 seconds for the March for Life.
Friday night, the Special Counsel’s office released an extremely rare statement that dismised as “not accurate” a BuzzFeed News item from Thursday night that alleged President Trump directed former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about possible construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow. Despite the fact that the story remained not confirmed by any news outlet from when it was first published to the statement from Mueller’s team, the broadcast networks devoted 27 minutes and 33 second on their Friday morning and evening newscasts to the matter.
At the midpoint of Donald Trump’s first term, the establishment media’s obvious hostility shows no signs of relenting: 90% negative, vs. just 10% positive, matching the historically bad press we documented in 2017. But polls show this negative coverage has had no discernible impact on the public’s attitudes toward the President. Instead, the media's partisan approach has earned them high marks from Democrats, while alienating most Republicans.
Wednesday’s network morning shows provided an avalanche of negative reviews for President Trump’s Oval Office address to the nation calling for border security legislation to end the government shutdown, with anchors and correspondents offering up a staggering 43 statements critical of the presidential speech. By contrast, only a scant five critiques were made of the Democratic response delivered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Democrats take control of the House of Representatives today, but you don’t hear journalists instructing them to “show that they can govern” by finding ways to “compromise” with President Trump, as you do when Republicans are poised to gain power. “Opposing the President is not a policy,” NBC’s Matt Lauer lectured New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the November 5, 2014 Today.