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.
Despite the unreliable nature of anonymous sources, the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) have used them in nearly three fifths of their news reports about the impeachment probe since it first began, mostly to pass along damning accusations against the President that cannot be independently verified.
Elijah Cummings, the late Maryland Democratic congressman who passed away due to health complications Thursday, was the son of sharecrop farmers, became civil rights icon, and served for decades in the House of Representatives. But CBS Evening News boiled his life achievements down to largely what he was doing the last few years of his life: battling President Trump.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, along with his colleague Erin Burnett and the New York Times’s Marc Lacey, will moderate Tuesday night’s Democratic debate. While Cooper has in the past shown the capacity to ask tough debate questions, a look through the MRC archives suggests it's more likely that if the AC360 host does ask any challenging questions, they’ll be from the left.
Despite the fact that the Jeffrey Zucker-led CNN has created a cottage industry out of town halls involving presidential candidates and/or their liberal causes, CNN showed very little interest in recapping their four-and-a-half-hour, horrendously-rated Thursday night LGBTQ town hall with nine 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Between midnight and 7:30 p.m. Eastern Friday (so 21 and a half hours total), CNN shows spent just under 25 minutes (24 minutes and 47 seconds) on a town hall that featured a slew of alienating takes.
NBC’s Chuck Todd decreed a “National nightmare is upon us.” CNN host Don Lemon and former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather proclaimed that Donald Trump has “Out-Nixoned Nixon.” And when former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld claimed Trump’s “treason” was punishable by death, an MSNBC contributor’s response was to casually inquire “Have you looked into this?...How do you see this proceeding?” The following is just a sampling of the most egregious outbursts from the liberal media and celebrities from the past few weeks.
On Tuesday, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York broke the news that the whistleblower that sparked the Trump-Ukraine impeachment push had a “significant tie to one of the Democratic presidential candidates.” Total broadcast news coverage of this stunning revelation: A meager 38 seconds on Wednesday’s edition of NBC’s Today show.
The anonymous whistleblower who complained about President Trump’s July phone conversation with the leader of Ukraine is being touted and toasted across the liberal media, but it was a far different story 21 years ago when a Pentagon employee named Linda Tripp helped bring Bill Clinton’s perjury and obstruction of justice to the attention of Independent Counsel Ken Starr.
In just ten days (September 20 through September 30) the broadcast networks overwhelmed their evening and morning shows with more than 7 hours of coverage devoted to a whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the ensuing calls for impeachment. Only 46 minutes of that coverage referenced Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s sweetheart deal with a Ukranian company.
Over the span of just 26 hours on Monday and Tuesday, the network morning and evening newscasts featured mentions of impeachment a stunning 73 times while hyping the controversy over President Trump’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine.
The American press fell head over heels for the lefty Canadian PM when he first hit the scene in 2016. He got the pop star treatment with network anchors catching “Justin Fever” as they swooned over the “super hunky” “dreamy” and “adorable” politician they dubbed “Canada’s Obama.” The following is just a few of examples of the liberal media’s infatuation with Trudeau, as culled from the MRC’s archives.
While the liberal broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC have spent nearly 32 minutes (31 minutes, 47 seconds) hyping the disintegrating bombshell against Justice Brettt Kavanaugh over the past three days, they have withheld from viewers how Christine Blasey Ford friend (and supposed corroborating witness) Leland Keyser now states that she has does not believe Ford’s account.
So far, Biden’s 1987 scandals have been a non-factor in media coverage of his current race for the White House. But our review shows that when the multiple plagiarism accusations first appeared 32 years ago, liberal journalists treated them as Joe Biden’s first big test of character on the national stage — and, in their eyes, he flunked.