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.
Ten years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and it wasn’t long after the devastation that liberal reporters, hosts and columnists politicized the tragedy - from the left. Everything from George W. Bush’s “big oil” buddies to America’s racism to even tax cuts were blamed for the high human toll.
“Profound,” “trusted,” “insightful,” “invaluable patriot,” “too cool to be spun.”
These are just some of the over-the-top bouquets members of the so-called serious news media have thrown Jon Stewart’s way in the last few days of his run as anchor of The Daily Show. Of course this “trusted source in news” overwhelmingly skewered some of the liberal media’s favorite conservative targets.
There are currently 17 declared candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but viewers of the three broadcast evening news shows this year have mainly heard about just two of them: former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and New York businessman Donald Trump. And even though Trump received virtually no TV news attention until he officially declared on June 16, he’s received far more network news coverage than Bush has received all year.
Due to extremely poor ratings, MSNBC formally announced Thursday it will bring down the ax on Ed Schultz and Alex Wagner. It turns out hate-mongering against conservative Republicans and sucking up to far-left Democrats is not a great way to attract large audiences.
Scott Walker’s official entry into the 2016 presidential race has already been met with questions about his sophistication and readiness to be president by the liberal media. The day of Walker’s announcement The New York Times’ Patrick Healy portrayed the GOP governor as someone who isn’t ready for the world stage: “Two words these [Walker] voters do not use about him? ‘Smart’ and ‘sophisticated.’”
Despite briefly mentioning at least six reported instances of American citizens joining ISIS in June, and multiple FBI warnings about ISIS’s influence in the United States, the networks chose to devote more time to the “threat” posed by the existence of the Confederate flag.
The evening news shows of ABC, CBS and NBC spent just 17 minutes, 35 seconds on the threat ISIS poses to American, and 37 minutes and 18 seconds on the controversy over the flag. This disparity in news coverage occurred during a ramped up social media campaign by ISIS to recruit Americans and other westerners to commit acts of terrorism.
The hunt for convicted killers who escaped a prison in New York State was the most covered topic on the evening news broadcasts of ABC, CBS and NBC for the month of June. This was closely followed by coverage of the brutal massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, with considerable amounts of air time dedicated to the 2016 presidential campaign, the ISIS terror threat and the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.
Despite the liberal media's disinterest in pursuing investigations into Barack Obama's scandals, the case of Republican Chris Christie proves the existence of a blatant double standard. The New Jersey Governor, who will announce his presidential bid on Tuesday, endured a media frenzy when the Bridgegate scandal erupted 17 months ago. And, when they're not impugning him as a Nixonian crook, liberal reporters have made fun of Christie's weight.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s expected jump into the 2016 GOP presidential nomination race is bound to be met by skepticism, if not an outright dismissal, by the liberal media if their reaction to his 2009 State of the Union response and his advocacy of fiscally and conservative views is any guide. Some in the media have even stooped to make an issue of his Indian-American heritage.
Back in 2008, the three broadcast evening newscasts showered then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama with good press during his trip to Europe that July, giving it a total of 92 minutes over an eight-day period (July 20 to July 27, 2008). GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s trip to Europe last week didn’t garner a single mention on ABC’s World News Tonight or the CBS Evening News.
Jeb Bush’s entry into the 2016 GOP primary race hands the liberal media an establishment candidate that they enjoy using as a tool to whack conservatives. Bush’s stances on immigration, Common Core and other issues have drawn praise from the likes of Chris Matthews who cooed: “He wants to run on his own terms. He’s not going to become a wacko bird. He’s not going to join the clown car...he believes in Common Core education. He believes in immigration.”
In May, as ISIS terrorists captured the cities of Ramadi and Palmyra, and with FBI warnings of hundreds of radicalized sympathizers here in the U.S., ABC, CBS and NBC devoted a combined 84.5 evening news minutes to ISIS. Despite the dour news, viewers heard virtually no criticism of President Obama’s handling of the terror group — just 43 seconds in a pair of NBC Nightly News stories, or less than one percent of the coverage.