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.
The broadcast morning and evening news shows have spent 20 minutes and 18 seconds focusing on White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments about the size of Donald Trump’s Inauguration crowd. Meanwhile, when President Trump signed a far more consequential executive order that limits the penalties from the Affordable Care Act, the same networks spent only 1 minute and 39 seconds covering it – less than one-twelfth the coverage.
Millions of Americans will celebrate Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, but the vast majority of journalists probably won’t be among them — and it’s not their scrupulous “objectivity,” or a unique aversion to Trump’s personal style, that keeps them from joining the party. Reviewing the media’s inauguration coverage since 1989 finds that incoming Republican presidents receive little of the worshipful coverage that’s accompanied the ascension of Democratic presidents. Instead, journalists measure new presidents using their standard liberal yardstick.
Donald Trump hasn’t even been sworn-in yet but the liberal media has obsessed almost over every Trump tweet and controversy. Conversely, Barack Obama’s administration has been full of scandals and gaffes but liberal reporters have insisted that his record is clean as a whistle. Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, after Obama’s January 10 farewell speech gushed: “He’s been scandal free, frankly, in the White House. We haven’t had that what for a while.” Time magazine’s Joe Klein, back in December declared there has been “absolutely no hint of scandal” during his eight years.
These liberal reporters have the audacity to bless this administration as scandal free, because many of Obama’s controversies were either ignored or barely reported by the establishment media. The following is a look through the MRC’s archives at some of the worst scandals and gaffes made during the Obama administration and how they were underreported at the time.
The broadcast news networks barely even mentioned the latest significant overhaul of U.S. policy by the Obama Administration.
For two decades, the United States has granted asylum to Cuban fleeing the Castro regime who make it to American soil, a policy known as “wet foot, dry foot.” Now, in his final days in office, President Obama has ended this policy, to applause from the Cuban government. According to NBC’s Today, “The policy change has been in the works for several months, as the U.S. and Cuba work to cement changes in their relationship.”
Last night and this morning, ABC, CBS and NBC dedicated a paltry 86 seconds to this news. ABC was the worst with a stingy 15 seconds of coverage, while CBS came in close behind with 23 seconds.
On January 14, NBC’s Today show will mark its 65th anniversary on the air. Over the decades, hosts and correspondents on the morning program have routinely spouted liberal talking points on a wide range of issues, boosted Democrats, and lambasted Republicans. Despite the cavalcade of co-hosts – from Bryant Gumbel to Matt Lauer, Katie Couric to Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry to Savannah Guthrie – the left-wing bias has remained constant. Here are some of the most obnoxious Today quotes over the years:
Despite repeatedly calling it “unconfirmed” and “unsubstantiated,” the ABC, CBS and NBC morning news shows on Wednesday spent a combined 44 minutes promoting allegations the Russian government had information that they could use to blackmail President-elect Donald Trump. These allegations stemmed from a 35-page “report” published by BuzzFeed, which itself doubted the veracity of the information.
When President-elect Donald Trump announced that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, would be taking an advisory role in the White House, all three broadcast evening news shows raised concerns about “nepotism,” with each one specifically using that word. But, on January 25, 1993, when President Bill Clinton appointed his wife to lead a health care task force, the broadcast networks praised the decision, and not a single one even mentioned “nepotism.”
With the Democratic Party defeated, ObamaCare set for repeal, and incoming President Donald Trump poised to revoke a host of his executive orders, Obama’s actual legacy will likely fall far short of what his media fan club once imagined. But one aspect of his place in history seems secure: Barack Obama has been the lucky recipient of more biased, positive “news” media coverage than any other President in history.
On Friday, NBC Today show co-host Matt Lauer celebrated his 20th anniversary anchoring the network morning show. Since joining the program on January 6, 1997, Lauer’s liberal bias has routinely seeped into his news coverage. From repeatedly excusing Bill Clinton’s sex scandals as mere “peccadillos” to bashing George W. Bush’s “controversial” presidency to gushing over Barack Obama as a “savior” for the country, his double-standard treatment for Democrats and Republicans has been clear. After 20 years of waking up Americans with liberal talking points, here are 20 of Matt Lauer’s worst quotes:
The networks treat accusations of Russian hacking very differently when they can use it as an angle to bash Trump. When Russian cyber criminals were accused by intelligence agencies of hacking the emails of the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, the networks devoted 58 minutes, 47 seconds to these allegations since December 12.
CNN President Jeff Zucker went on the defensive Wednesday night, when a room full of campaign surrogates called him out for his network’s lopsided campaign coverage. However, as a surrogate for a former GOP candidate pointed out, the MRC has proven that CNN's track record this campaign season has been anything but defensible.
When Jill Stein was the Green Party’s candidate for U.S. president, the networks only gave her 36 seconds of coverage. However, as soon as she launched a campaign to contest the presidential election and demand a recount of ballots in several key states, the evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC managed to find 7 minutes and 26 seconds of coverage for her in just four days.