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 networks are never willing to let a good Trump controversy go to waste.
The morning and evening news broadcasts on ABC, CBS and NBC have dedicated a whopping 105 minutes (1 hour and 45 minutes) to criticism of Trump’s comments about restricting Muslim immigration, since Trump made the comments on December 7.
It’s hard to imagine CBS Democratic debate co-moderator Nancy Cordes drilling Hillary Clinton with hardball questions when she’s already dubbed her the “undisputed frontrunner.”
Viewers of Saturday night’s Democratic debate probably shouldn’t expect any tough questions, at least from the right, coming from debate moderator John Dickerson.
During the past three months, the big broadcast networks have essentially stopped covering most of the GOP presidential candidates, a lack of national news attention that presumably affects the national poll ratings used to determine which candidates are included in televised debates. Instead of covering the top 10 Republican candidates, or the entire current field of 15 candidates, the networks have now essentially pared down the field to five candidates: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina.
The Kansas City Royals may have won Major League Baseball’s World Series, but the World Series lost when it came to network news coverage of professional sports championships.
MRC’s analysis of the three evening news broadcasts shows that in 2015, ABC, CBS and NBC overwhelmingly favored coverage of the NFL Super Bowl, with 59 minutes of coverage.
Over the past four weeks, as the broadcast networks have covered the House leadership contest, reporters have gone out of their way to relentlessly paint House Republicans, especially the Freedom Caucus, as ideologues who are outside the American political mainstream.
From September 25 to October 23, MRC analysts reviewed all 82 ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news stories about John Boehner’s resignation as House Speaker and the race to succeed him. The coverage included a whopping 106 ideological labels of Republicans, including 35 casting conservatives as extreme: “far right,” “hardline,” “very conservative” or “ultra-conservative.”
The RNC may regret its approval of John Harwood as lead moderator for Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate on CNBC if recent history is any guide. The CNBC anchor and New York Times columnist admitted he and a producer helped make Rick Perry’s infamous “oops” moment even worse.
Hillary Clinton is set to testify before the Benghazi committee on Thursday but the liberal media have spent weeks laying the groundwork for her. Instead of putting the onus on Clinton, her now-discredited story of the attacks being spurred by an anti-Muslim video, and her shady scheme to bypass the State Department e-mail system, the media have led up to the hearings by touting the supposed partisanship of the investigators.
The lead moderator for tonight’s Democratic debate, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, has already announced he will not pit candidates against each other and a look at his past statements perhaps reveals the reason why – he caters to liberal candidates while discussing conservatives in the ugliest terms.
If CNN wants to be balanced in how it moderates the upcoming Democratic debate on Tuesday, it will ask questions that prompt the candidates on stage to fight with one another, because that’s exactly how they handled the GOP debate back on September 16. Of the 74 total questions asked by CNN’s debate moderators at the GOP debate, 55 of them (74 percent) were framed to get Republican candidates to criticize each other’s positions and even personal traits.
According to the latest statistics from the MRC’s ongoing tracking of ABC, CBS and NBC’s evening news coverage of the campaign, frontrunner Hillary Clinton has garnered 80 percent of the Democratic airtime since January 1. Her closest announced rival, the socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has received just six percent of the airtime, or about 24 minutes vs. 337 minutes for Clinton. Unlike their treatment of the prominent Republican candidates, the networks have given both Vice President Joe Biden and Sanders nearly 100 percent positive coverage.
Like prior high profile mass shootings (Aurora, Newtown, Columbine) the liberal media wasted no time in exploiting the latest tragedy in Oregon to call for more gun control. On Thursday, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley hyped that “each mass shooting brings new calls for tougher gun laws” before correspondent Nancy Cordes declared that “sympathy and best wishes are all about the victims’ families can expect from Congress” because it “has not seriously debated strengthening gun laws since 2013.”