Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters
Rich Noyes is currently Research Director at the Media Research Center where he manages the MRC's longterm studies showing liberal media bias. An expert with more than 30 years of experience studying the news media’s impact on U.S. politics, Noyes has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and many radio talk shows, and has authored articles which have appeared in the Journal of Political Science, New York Post, Investor’s Business Daily, Roll Call and Human Events.
Latest from Rich Noyes
Congress may be almost evenly divided these days, but not on the liberal cable news networks. A new study by the Media Research Center finds that CNN and MSNBC host Democratic Representatives and Senators seven times more frequently than their Republican counterparts, and most often use Democratic talking points to question members of both parties.
On Friday, unsealed court documents named former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and former Clinton cabinet official and ex-New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as among those who allegedly had sex with an underage victim of Jeffrey Epstein. But while all three evening news broadcasts covered the case, one thing was missing: any hint that those two men are Democrats.
Compared to MRC Latino’s original study five years ago, the two main Spanish-language evening news broadcasts in the U.S. have become even more heavily skewed to the left. Out of 812 stories on U.S. politics and policy, more than 70 percent were slanted in a liberal direction, compared with 240 stories (29.6%) that were balanced or neutral and only two (0.2%) which were favorable to conservatives.
In the 31 months since the President took office, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts alone have spent an astounding 2,634 minutes covering the investigations into alleged Russia collusion and obstruction of justice. Yet these newscasts have barely mentioned some of the crucial unresolved questions surrounding the investigation’s bias.
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.
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.
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.
A new Rand study published earlier this week finds that the news media have become more subjective and opinionated over the past 30 years, and suggests the shift away from fact-based reporting has contributed to the public’s growing distrust of the news media. The report does not consider how journalists’ personal partisan skew is part of the problem, but it is.
A new Hill/HarrisX poll finds former Vice President Joe Biden taking a huge 32 point lead over his competitors in the 2020 Democratic primary race. One potential reason: television news coverage that once was shared among many of the candidates is now focused almost solely on Biden. Despite the presence of more than 20 announced candidates, Biden was rewarded with by far the lion’s share of the coverage: 77% of candidate airtime (52 minutes) in April, ten times more than his nearest competitor.
Since even before Donald Trump’s presidency began, CNN’s “news” programming has consisted of hammering him with virtually wall-to-wall negative coverage. Now, the ratings are in — and they’re downright pitiful. As NewsBusters noted earlier this week, the Fox News Channel’s primetime line-up in April had more than three times as many viewers as CNN, 2.4 million vs. 767,000. Here are just a few ways to look at these numbers:
After Attorney General William Barr released the key findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month-long investigation, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts showered Donald Trump with good press (80% positive) for the first time since he became President. But the good news for the White House only lasted for two days; after that, the networks resumed their lopsidedly hostile (79% negative) coverage of the President and his administration.
From January 20, 2017 (Inauguration Day) through March 21, 2019 (the last night before special counsel Robert Mueller sent his report to the Attorney General), the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts produced a combined 2,284 minutes of “collusion” coverage. Now that the investigation they relentlessly touted has ended with an outcome favorable to the President they despise, those networks seem ripe for a “reckoning.”
During the first break in Michael Cohen’s testimony on Wednesday, NBC’s panel of anchors, reporters and legal analysts all celebrated his performance. “Michael Cohen has comported himself pretty well,” NBC’s Chuck Todd asserted. NBC News legal analyst Chuck Rosenberg, touted Cohen as “the quintessential cooperating criminal....This is what cooperating witnesses look like, sound like, and feel like.”
On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos framed today’s congressional testimony from ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen not as a case of an admitted liar potentially seeking to avoid the consequences of his crimes, but as an “epic,” “historic,” “Watergate”-style showdown, with Cohen playing the role of Nixon White House whistleblower John Dean.
According to published reports, new CBS News President Susan Zirinsky is considering a shake up at the CBS Evening News barely 15 months after the network installed Jeff Glor as anchor. If true, it would mark the departure of the least anti-Trump of the Big Three anchormen, just as the 2020 campaign is heating up. Compared to his predecessor Scott Pelley’s belligerent Trump bashing, Glor has struck a more neutral tone in its political coverage and avoided the hyperbolic coverage of his competitors.
In just 35 days, the partial government shutdown generated nearly five hours of coverage on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts. By a six-to-one margin, network reporters framed the shutdown as the fault of President Trump, not the Democrats. Out of 297 minutes of total shutdown coverage, just 27% was devoted to the debate over the border wall — far less time than was given to TSA workers calling in sick, delays at airports and the personal plight of government workers who had their paychecks delayed.
At the midpoint of Donald Trump’s first term, the establishment media’s obvious hostility shows no signs of relenting: 90% negative, vs. just 10% positive, matching the historically bad press we documented in 2017. But polls show this negative coverage has had no discernible impact on the public’s attitudes toward the President. Instead, the media's partisan approach has earned them high marks from Democrats, while alienating most Republicans.
Democrats take control of the House of Representatives today, but you don’t hear journalists instructing them to “show that they can govern” by finding ways to “compromise” with President Trump, as you do when Republicans are poised to gain power. “Opposing the President is not a policy,” NBC’s Matt Lauer lectured New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the November 5, 2014 Today.
The media’s current appreciation for the 41st President stands in sharp contrast to how they covered his presidential campaigns and his administration. When George H. W. Bush was still in the arena, liberal reporters were among his most vociferous critics, who deplored his campaign tactics, accused him of exacerbating racial tensions, and bashed him for failing to adopt liberal policy positions.