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.
I have never received more insults in my life, all for simply participating as a volunteer in President Trump’s visit with Hurricane María victims seeking supplies at Calvary Chapel in Puerto Rico.
On Friday and over the weekend, ABC, CBS and NBC reacted with their typical anti-Trump fervor to the President’s decision to end federal subsidies of insurance companies through ObamaCare, but only a meager portion of broadcast news coverage — barely three percent — tipped viewers off to the fact those payments were unconstitutional in the first place.
In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting massacre, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks wasted little time in exploiting the tragedy to advance their anti-gun rights agenda. In just six days (October 2 through October 8) of coverage, the networks filled their evening and morning show programs with statements favoring gun control over gun rights by a ratio of roughly 5 to 1.
The prosecution rested on October 11 in the corruption trial of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. Yet, with a whole day of reporting to work with, CNN has only mentioned this story for a total of five minutes on 2 shows. On October 11, The Lead With Jake Tapper gave the story 3 minutes and 9 seconds of coverage. Tapper was the only anchor to cover the story the day that the prosecution rested, with CNN Newsroom covering it for 2 minutes and 2 seconds the following morning.
When Republican Congressman Tim Murphy from Pennsylvania resigned in disgrace on October 5, all three broadcast evening shows ran reports on it. NBC’s Today also covered this story the following morning. But just last year when another Pennsylvania Congressman, Democrat Chaka Fattah, was forced to step down amid a corruption trial that eventually ended in his conviction, not one of the morning or evening shows on ABC, CBS or NBC covered his resignation at all.
With September’s news coverage now in the record books, the latest Media Research Center analysis finds TV’s hostility to the Trump presidency continues unabated. According to our analysts, the President received 92% bad press, vs. just 8% good press on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows last month.
The double standard at CNN is stark. The cable news network can’t seem to find much time for the three-week long unfolding drama of the corruption trial of sitting Democratic Senator Robert Menendez from NJ. But it found nearly 2 hours in just one day to cover HHS Secretary Tom Price’s flights on private jets.
CNN has barely covered the corruption trial of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, but the network didn’t always have an aversion to the corruption trials of sitting U.S. senators. Back in 2008, Republican Senator Ted Stevens got plenty of attention from CNN for his own corruption trial. When it came to reporting on Stevens, CNN rarely missed a day, and often updated viewers on the status of the trial multiple times in the same day.
Since it began more than two weeks ago, CNN has provided a paltry 14 minutes and 11 seconds of coverage to the corruption trial of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez. In fact, the 24-hour cable news network has mentioned the trial only once since September 7. For contrast, on just one day (September 18), CNN spent more than 45 minutes analyzing former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s 60-second appearance at the Emmy Awards ceremony the night before.
One theme of Hillary Clinton’s book tour is that news media bias helped tip the election in favor of Donald Trump, but no reasonable person could suggest that political reporters created a landscape more favorable to Trump than to her. And it’s silly of her to say the news media were one of the causes of her defeat.
The twin disasters of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma showcased once again the media's reflex to use such tragedies to push for liberal climate change policies. In their pursuit of this agenda, the broadcast networks' have heavily criticized the Trump administration's policies on the environment. From January 20 through August 31, MRC analysts tallied 75 stories discussing the President and climate change, totaling 73 minutes, 43 seconds of network airtime.
Since Inauguration Day (January 20), Media Research Center analysts have reviewed every mention of President Trump and top administration officials on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, including weekends. As of August 31, coverage of the administration has totaled nearly 74 hours (4,418 minutes) of airtime, or about 39 percent of all evening news coverage. Analyzing the networks’ spin makes it clear that the goal of all of this heavy coverage is not to promote the President, but to punish him.