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.
On April 13, ABC’s World News Tonight correspondent Tom Llamas devoted most of that night’s report to chilling death threats against the Colorado state Republican party chairman, angered at how Donald Trump failed to win any delegates at the weekend party convention. That one report, plus two minor mentions on ABC and CBS, is all of broadcast news attention given to these threats. But the broadcast networks have aired a collective 45 minutes, 30 seconds of coverage since Sunday of Trump’s post-Colorado complaints that the GOP nominating system is “crooked” and “rigged.” That’s 24 TIMES more airtime spent on Trump’s grievance about the process, vs. death threats against anti-Trump Republicans.
In March, the GOP nomination contest winnowed to essentially a two-man race between frontrunner Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, with Ohio Governor John Kasich trailing far behind. Yet the broadcast networks spent much less time on Cruz and essentially ignored Kasich, giving Donald Trump a whopping 72 percent of the Republican airtime last month. Trump's 267 minutes of coverage was more than five times as much as Ted Cruz's 52 minutes (14% of the GOP total) and nearly 15 times more than Kasich's 18 minutes (4.8% of the total).
Whomever Barack Obama selects to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia expect the liberal media to worry the selection isn’t progressive enough. As might be expected, journalists criticize the Supreme Court appointments made by Republican presidents as “hardline” and “very conservative.” But even the nominees elevated by recent Democratic presidents have been challenged as not liberal enough for the media’s taste.
A Media Research Center study of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news coverage finds Ted Cruz has actually received a negative bump in the week since Iowa, garnering fewer minutes of total TV news airtime (16 minutes, vs. 21 minutes before the caucuses) and a significantly smaller share of GOP campaign coverage than he had in the week leading up to the caucuses (17.8%, vs. 24.8% earlier). Not only did Cruz take a back seat to Iowa runners-up Marco Rubio and Donald Trump in overall coverage, much of the attention the Texas Senator did receive was negative.
For the liberal media there might not be a greater hate object than Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The consistent conservative’s win in Iowa and rise in the polls will probably mean even more heightened attacks from journalists. Which would be remarkable, given liberals in the chattering class have already compared him to Nazis, the KKK and even pointed a figurative gun to his head.
A new analysis by the Media Research Center finds Trump continued to receive the vast majority of TV news coverage throughout the month of January, leading up to tonight’s crucial Iowa caucuses. An examination of all campaign coverage on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from January 1 through January 31 finds Trump received nearly 157 minutes of airtime, or almost 60 percent of the total coverage of GOP presidential candidates. With January now in the books, Trump’s entire campaign has thus far received a whopping 736 minutes of coverage on the three evening newscasts, nearly five times as much coverage as his nearest competitor.
As of Friday, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s seven-month-old candidacy has been the focus of an incredible 684 minutes of coverage on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, far more than any of his GOP rivals. But amid that sea of Trump news, the networks have spent only about nine minutes (1.3% of Trump’s overall coverage) discussing the candidate’s clearly documented past support for liberal policy positions and his praise of leading Democrats.
What the liberal media have routinely failed to do, since the 1990s, is tell their audiences how Hillary Clinton was not some innocent bystander, but was just as guilty in attacking those women who could’ve been a threat to their rise to power.
A new Media Research Center study of every broadcast network evening newscast of 2015 documents last year's news agenda: heavy on crime, terrorism and weather, but light on Democratic scandals, ObamaCare's failings, the out-of-control national debt, sanctuary cities and Planned Parenthood's grotesqueries. In their Campaign '16 coverage, the networks highlighted Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who had by far the most coverage of any presidential candidate.
Barack Obama’s announcement of new gun regulations today has already been met with cheers by the anti-gun rights activists in the liberal media. This comes after years the liberal media lobbying the Obama administration for new onerous restrictions on guns. And just in the past year reporters, anchors, hosts and newspaper editors exploited terror attacks in France and San Bernardino California and random shootings in Oregon and Virginia to immediately call for curbs on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
ABC’s Martha Raddatz will be a co-moderator (along with ABC World News anchor David Muir) for Saturday night’s Democratic candidate debate in New Hampshire and if her coverage of Hillary Clinton over the years is any guide, viewers shouldn’t expect to many hardballs aimed at the frontrunner.
From praising Clinton’s infamous Benghazi testimony as “charming” and “disarming” to wondering what to call the new grandmother “Maybe Glam-Ma?” Raddatz has shown a soft-spot for the former Secretary of State.
After a five-week hiatus, the Republican presidential candidates meet tomorrow night for their next prime time debate, moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Based on how the various networks handled the first four debates, viewers of Tuesday's CNN debate should expect: 1) the questions will be aimed at getting the candidates to fight with one another; 2) Donald Trump will take more airtime than any of his competitors; 3) Blitzer and his colleagues will gobble up more speaking time than any of the individual candidates; and 4) the audience will be much higher than for the Democratic debates.