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.
After two nights, NBC/MSNBC has proved that they deserve the nickname “MSDNC.” The twenty Democrats who made the presidential debate stage were treated to questions that were wildly skewed (69%) to the left, with only a scant 13% challenging the candidates to defend their outside-the-mainstream views, a five-to-one disparity.
The NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo panel that questioned the first 10 Democratic 2020 candidates spent most of Wednesday night’s debate cuing up liberal talking points and rarely confronted the contenders with the idea that their hard-edged leftism might drive away middle-of-the-road voters. An MRC analysis finds 39 of the questions at the debate echoed liberal talking points or were framed around a liberal world view, vs. only five that challenged liberal/Democratic assumptions.
While MSNBC analysts were peeved by the lack of Trump talk in Wednesday night’s debate, the network’s post-debate panel more than made up for the discrepancy, with much of their discussion centering around the President. In fact during those two hours of special coverage, the panel referred to Donald Trump far more often than they did to any of the Democratic candidates.
It could get nasty tonight and tomorrow when NBC’s moderators bring up the topic of Donald Trump during the Democratic candidates debate. If recent history is a guide expect the moderators to ask questions that push the candidates to criticize Trump and his administration’s policies while treating some candidates – like Bernie Sanders – as heroes. The following are just a few examples of NBC’s debate moderators most liberal moments since Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, as culled from the MRC’s archives:
On Wednesday and Thursday NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo will host the first Democratic primary debates. If they are to match what their CNBC colleagues did with the Republican candidates in 2015, they should ask questions designed to humiliate, badger and paint the Democratic field as not ready for prime time, cartoonish, out-of-touch extremists.
Even though the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have championed some of the most radical policy proposals ever seen in American politics, the vast majority of this year’s coverage (202 stories, or 92%) has failed to include any ideological label. Instead, reporters have eagerly touted adjectives describing the candidates’ race, gender, ethnicity and sexual identity, applauding the group as “crowded and diverse,” “historically diverse,” and the “most diverse” group ever to run.
President Trump made more headlines Wednesday night after he told ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos that he would be fine with taking “oppo research” on his 2020 opponent from foreign countries. This comment drew criticism. But during their almost two hours and 30 minutes of prime time coverage, or hair-on-fire panic, neither CNN nor MSNBC cared to mention that that’s exactly what the Clinton campaign did in 2016 with the now-infamous dossier.
On Wednesday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a new abortion bill that is being called more radical than New York’s law that was passed in January. So far none of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) have reported on the Illinois law that – among other things – does away with that state’s ban on partial birth abortions.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, and Betsey DeVos are some of the most prominent names in the Trump administration. Cue the predictable gasp among liberals in the press, but all of the individuals listed above share the distinction of being female. It leads one to ponder the all-encompassing question of how does a “sexist” President continue to place women in high positions of power?
Donald Trump may be the most hated president in Hollywood since...well...ever. In the last month celebrities from Bill Maher to Cher have wished the worst, most vile things on the current president. The following is just a sampling of the worst outbursts (this past month) from Hollywood:
Democratic presidential candidates had it super easy when they showed up for interviews on cable and network shows this past month. Candidates like Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker and Pete Buttieg were greeted by hosts who bragged about owning their campaign t-shirts and asked them hard-hitting questions like “are you too nice?” and “what can we do better” to help your candidacy? Those same news outlets trashed Donald Trump as “sociopath” whose rhetoric has ramped up a “body count” of dead children. The following are the most obnoxious moments of media bias over the last month.
TV news coverage of President Donald Trump was as hostile (92% negative) in May as it was in the months immediately before Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report in March. And despite the fact that Mueller concluded there was no campaign conspiracy with Russia, TV news delivered three times as many stories talking about "impeachment" as before the report was issued.