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.
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.
As they did in April, the Big Three network evening news broadcasts in May spent more airtime talking about alleged police misconduct than any other single topic – nearly 109 minutes, more than the amount devoted to the Amtrak train derailment, the horrific floods in Texas or the war against ISIS. Nearly all of that network airtime was devoted to just three instances of alleged misconduct (in Baltimore, Cleveland and Madison, Wisconsin), plus general discussion of the topic. In contrast, all of the other murders committed in the U.S. in May garnered less than half as much time (50 minutes and 48 seconds).
If his 2012 presidential run is any indicator, Rick Perry’s jump into the 2016 presidential race will bring about a flurry of the liberal media’s favorite pejoratives to hit Republicans with. Racist? Anti-science? Religious bigot? Gun nut? Heartless cutter of programs for the poor? You name it, the former Texas governor was called it by his haters in the leftist press.
Social conservative-haters in the liberal media are sharpening their knives today as Rick Santorum is set to announce his 2016 presidential ambitions. From his arrival to the Senate in 1995 through his 2012 presidential run the media have attacked the former Pennsylvania Republican Senator as a “terrifying” “theocrat” who wants to impose a “Christian version of Sharia law.”
George Stephanopoulos may be in trouble right now for donating cash to the Clintons but for years he’s been giving in-kind contributions, in the form of on-air praise and suck-up questions to them in his time as anchor of Good Morning America and host of This Week.