Bill D'Agostino is the Media Editor for NewsBusters as well as a Research Analyst for the Media Research Center.
Bill D'Agostino is the Media Editor for NewsBusters as well as a Research Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis division. He previously worked as a video editor for a production studio in New York. His work has been featured on Fox News, Drudge Report, the Daily Caller, and other conservative outlets.
Latest from Bill D'Agostino
It’s been nearly a week since a former Joe Biden staffer leveled disturbing accusations of sexual misconduct against the Democratic presidential frontrunner, and yet ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN haven’t said a single word about them. In that same time period, CNN, MSNBC and NBC have hosted Biden for a total of three interviews (including an hour-long town hall on CNN), and no host asked even a single question about these new charges.
Whether motivated by ratings or by some political agenda, liberal TV news networks on Sunday acted as though the coronavirus numbers released by the Communist Party of China were trustworthy enough to report on American national television. Throughout Sunday morning and into the afternoon, journalists on both cable and broadcast networks proclaimed that the number of confirmed cases in the United States had surpassed those in both China and Italy, even though that claim relies on dubious figures reported by the Chinese government.
On Sunday’s Meet The Press, moderator and NBC News political director Chuck Todd conducted a sympathetic interview with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Almost all of Todd’s questions were open-ended invitations for Biden to speculate about how he'd have handled the coronavirus pandemic better than the President, and at one point the NBC host even asked whether Trump had “blood on his hands.”
TV journalists have yet to go a day without crying “racist” in the nearly two weeks since President Trump accurately stated that the current coronavirus outbreak originated in China. But although the President’s continued assertions that the virus is “Chinese” or “foreign” have so thoroughly upset the media, most of them are unable to explain what exactly has them so upset about it.
CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday spent a full interview with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson lobbing softballs, even as Congressional talks over a coronavirus stimulus package were faltering due to, among other things, concerns about whether corporations would use the aid responsibly. However, the Reliable Sources host’s decision to genuflect rather than ask anything meaningful isn’t much of a shock when one considers that AT&T owns CNN — which technically makes Randall Stelter’s boss.
Is there anyone out there who didn’t expect cable pundits to turn the coronavirus outbreak into a “Trump ruins everything” story? For the last few weeks, CNN and MSNBC’s talking heads have taken cheap political shots at the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, with their characterization of the situation ranging from “dangerous” to “the worst” government response, “ever.”
For more than four months, you couldn't watch TV news without hearing journalists talk about how impeaching Donald Trump was necessary for the health of the Republic. But since the liberal attempt to remove the President ended in failure, the same media talking heads are fretting about how Trump's acquittal has created an “emboldened” Chief Executive who threatens the rule of law “like never before.”
During national emergencies such as natural disasters or outbreaks of disease, the news media can serve as a valuable source of information for the public. Yet when it came to their coverage of the coronavirus on Thursday, CNN largely put their Trump-bashing agenda ahead of that important role.
President Trump’s state visit to India received less than a single minute of evening news coverage from broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC). But back in 2010, those same networks dedicated more than 20 times as much coverage (18.5 minutes) to then-President Obama’s India trip, often making it the top item of their nightly newscasts.
When the Trump administration deployed elite Customs and Border Patrol forces to round up violent offenders in ten sanctuary cities, CNN and the big three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) largely ignored the topic. The only network to devote more than two news briefs to the story over the weekend was MSNBC, which somehow managed to report fewer details in over 16 minutes of coverage than other networks covered in a single report.
As the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump drew to a close, the liberal media’s interest gave way to disappointment. Television journalists gorged themselves on sour grapes, complaining at length that trial was “a sham,” the vote was “rigged,” and the outcome meant nothing aside from confirming the “guilt” of Senate Republicans.
The TV news media have declared the Iowa Democratic Caucus a disaster, after a series of technical failures prevented the Democratic Party from being able to determine a winner. Across cable and broadcast networks Tuesday morning, a throng of overtired journalists laid into the DNC with a combination of frustration, confusion, and relentless mockery.
Before the Articles of Impeachment even reached the Senate, liberal journalists on broadcast and cable news insisted that any trial would be illegitimate without witnesses. Who’d ever heard of a trial without witnesses, they asked? As it turns out, their counterparts from 1999 had. Back then, journalists were adamant that any witnesses in President Clinton’s Senate trial would needlessly prolong a process whose outcome was essentially predetermined anyway.
One could be forgiven for inferring from this morning’s CNN chyron that a conservative group was releasing attack ads against Senator Susan Collins (R-ME); after all, the chyron read: “Conservative Group Releases Ad Targeting GOP Sen. Collins.” But in reality, the “conservative group” in question is a PAC created by frequent CNN guest George Conway, and populated by formerly Republican never-Trumpers like Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt.
It doesn’t take a skilled code-breaker to figure out the liberal networks’ stance on President Donald Trump’s impeachment: There’s no doubt we need witnesses if the Senate is going to conduct a fair trial; impeachment is necessary to prove that nobody — not even the President — is above the law; and there’s no more pressing task for Congress if we’re to keep this President, and future Presidents, from acting like tyrants. But when the President being impeached was a Democrat, the spin was completely reversed.
In the first 100 days since House Democrats began their impeachment push, ABC, CBS and NBC have aggressively aided the effort. An MRC analysis finds the Big Three evening newscasts battered the President with 93% negative coverage and promoted impeachment at the expense of nearly all other Trump news. At the same time, the broadcast networks donated at least 124 hours of wall-to-wall live coverage as they pre-empted regular programming in favor of House Democrat-led impeachment activities.
According to a recent MRC study, the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) aired 45 reports about “outrage” at alleged police misconduct in 2019 — more than any topic except politics. However, only one report throughout last year described outrage at a police officer coming to harm.
For days now, leftwing TV news networks have expressed horror over the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. While their reasons varied, nearly every cable and broadcast journalist agreed that President Trump had caused an international disaster — and, perhaps, a war.
Even a casual watcher of broadcast news these days knows that journalists are using increasingly emotional language in their reports. Case in point: the word "outrage," which MRC analysts found was used 229 times in ABC, CBS and NBC's evening news reports in 2019.
New York Times political reporter Jeremy Peters has a fun theory that conservative media and President Trump are somehow a fault for the recent machete attack at a Hanukkah party in Monsey, New York. During a Monday panel discussion about the incident on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Peters asserted that “the media that a lot of the President’s supporters consume” was partially to blame for a recent uptick in racially motivated attacks.