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.
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.
With the nation still in mourning from the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, NBC spent six minutes, 19 seconds during their Thursday evening broadcast on stories that amounted to bad news for President Trump and/or the Republican Party before they finally got around to mentioning the final day of the funeral services.
On Thursday, California Democratic Party chairman Eric Bauman resigned the position after allegations of sexual misconduct arose last week. The accusations were serious, with the state party vice chairman leading the charge for Bauman’s outer. But from when the story first broke last Saturday to Bauman’s resignation, the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) couldn’t be bothered to report any of it during their morning or evening news programs.
A few days after a failed violent assault by a hoard of Central American migrants tried to invade the U.S. on Sunday, over 100 of them grew frustrated and boarded planes for their home countries on Tuesday. And after being appalled by President Trump’s defense of Border Patrol’s use of mere tear gas to repel the attack, ABC and NBC couldn’t be bothered that evening to mention the migrants packing up and leaving plus how Tijuana locals were happy to see them go.
On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-hosts and former Trump enthusiasts dedicated just over five minutes more during their first show after a Washington Post scoop about Ivanka Trump using a private e-mail address to conduct official government business than they did on March 3, 2015 for the first show since The New York Times blew the whistle on Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail address and server.
It’s not just President Donald Trump, White House press secretaries Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders who think Jim Acosta is out of control. Even some of his journalist colleagues think his antics are bad for journalism.
It’s been 18 years since a presidential election was clogged and stalled by a recount after a close finish in Florida, and now it’s happening again after Republicans led the election night tallies for Senator and Governor in the state. This time, the national media are scoffing at complaints that Democratic election officials could be seeking to overturn the will of the voters. Back in 2000, those same outlets dripped with suspicion that Florida’s Republican Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, was conspiring to steal that election away from Democrat Al Gore.