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
As yesterday’s throwdown in the White House press room made clear, relations between the President and the press corps are as bad as they have ever been during the Trump administration. But as the Media Research Center has been documenting all year, the media have approached the Trump presidency with unrelenting hostility. Our latest numbers show that coverage of Trump on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts in September, October and November was more than 90 percent negative.
Liberal reporters are scandalized by what they say is President Trump’s effort to “discredit” and “undermine” special counsel Robert Mueller, worried that it could presage an attempt to “remove Mueller, or end his investigation.” But when President Bill Clinton was being investigated by Ken Starr, journalists applauded Democratic and White House attacks on the independent counsel, and frequently joined in themselves.
Both Republicans and Democrats have faced serious allegations of sexual misconduct, but in the month of November, ABC, CBS and NBC spent twice as much time telling viewers about the Republicans’ problems. Nearly two-thirds of this coverage (4 hours, 27 minutes) focused on Republican politicians, compared to 2 hours, 6 minutes spent on the Democrats, a greater than two-to-one disparity.
For the past four days, the establishment media have provided intensive coverage of the scandal involving Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, with reporters repeating the damning accusations against the candidate and the “mounting pressure” for Moore to quit the race. The media’s reaction to Moore makes their double standard on scandals all the more glaring: Since early September, a sitting United States Senator has been on trial for corruption involving the abuse of his office, and the media have essentially buried the story.
Exactly one year ago today, Americans elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. But in the days leading up to the election, the establishment news media made it seem as if a Trump victory was unthinkable, as they touted their own polls and predictions as if they were facts. As reporters now thump their chests and label themselves as “facts first,” they should look back with some humility at their performance in last year’s campaign.
Here’s one top takeaway from network news coverage in 2017: Sneaky Russian influence in American politics is a huge story if it involves Republicans/Donald Trump, but a non-story if it involves Democrats/Hillary Clinton. From January 20 through October 20, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts have aired 1,000 minutes of coverage of the Trump/Russia/collusion conspiracy theories; since The Hill broke details of a Clinton/Russia/Uranium scandal on October 17, those same broadcasts have generated only 20 seconds of coverage.
On Friday, the Treasury Department reported that the federal government took in a record $3.315 trillion in revenue during the just-completed 2017 fiscal year. None of the broadcast networks bothered to mention the Treasury on any of their Friday evening or weekend broadcasts. Yet even as revenues have grown at an average of 14 percent annually since 1980, liberal journalists have spent that entire time trumpeting the need for even higher taxes.
On Friday and over the weekend, ABC, CBS and NBC reacted with their typical anti-Trump fervor to the President’s decision to end federal subsidies of insurance companies through ObamaCare, but only a meager portion of broadcast news coverage — barely three percent — tipped viewers off to the fact those payments were unconstitutional in the first place.
Over the past several months, journalists have had no qualms about attacking President Trump on a deeply personal level, calling him an “embarrassing” “unhinged” “liar,” a “sociopath” and a “madman” presiding over a “malignant presidency.” But eight years ago, many of these same reporters were offended at criticism of Barack Obama and his policies, scorning the “mean,” “ugly,” “offensive” “vitriol” and “idiot talk” hurled at the last President during the same months of his term.
With September’s news coverage now in the record books, the latest Media Research Center analysis finds TV’s hostility to the Trump presidency continues unabated. According to our analysts, the President received 92% bad press, vs. just 8% good press on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows last month.
The GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare is back before the Senate, and so too are the deceitful tactics employed by liberal reporters in their obvious effort to build opposition to the measure. Thursday evening’s newscasts on ABC and NBC each included one-sided stories about the fears of mothers of babies with high medical costs — but neither network told viewers that both of the women were activists, not random participants in the health care system.
ABC’s Good Morning America spent two-and-a-half minutes on Thursday morning whacking HHS Secretary Tom Price’s use of private planes for travel last week, with the apparently horrifying price tag “in the tens of thousands of dollars.” But during the Obama years, GMA had no problem with then-First Lady Michelle Obama spending in excess of $200,000 to travel to Spain for a vacation with her daughters. At the time, commentator Cokie Roberts rationalized: “In the grand scheme of things, what real difference does it make? I would guess that Sasha is probably learning some Spanish. Maybe she learned a little more Spanish on her trip.”
One theme of Hillary Clinton’s book tour is that news media bias helped tip the election in favor of Donald Trump, but no reasonable person could suggest that political reporters created a landscape more favorable to Trump than to her. And it’s silly of her to say the news media were one of the causes of her defeat.
Since Inauguration Day (January 20), Media Research Center analysts have reviewed every mention of President Trump and top administration officials on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, including weekends. As of August 31, coverage of the administration has totaled nearly 74 hours (4,418 minutes) of airtime, or about 39 percent of all evening news coverage. Analyzing the networks’ spin makes it clear that the goal of all of this heavy coverage is not to promote the President, but to punish him.
Wrapping up his coverage of Friday’s early morning Senate vote that at least temporarily scuttled GOP hopes for a repeal of ObamaCare, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams could not help but admire Senator John McCain’s decision to align himself with Democrats, calling him and two other GOP defectors a “profile in courage,” and he welcomed the vote against the Republican bill as “the people of this country... getting their voices heard.”
The broadcast networks' obsession with all things Russia continues: Over the last ten days (July 9 to July 18, including weekends), the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts have devoted nearly two hours (114 minutes) to the ongoing probe of potential 2016 collusion -- far more airtime than they devoted to any other political topic.
A Media Research Center study of every broadcast network evening newscast in the five weeks since the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller on May 17 found a whopping 353 minutes of airtime devoted to the Russia probe, or 55 percent of all coverage of the Trump presidency during those weeks. The study also found one-third (34%) of the networks’ Russia coverage was based on anonymous sources, some of which later proved erroneous.
On the June 11 NBC Nightly News, correspondent Lucy Kafanov voiced nostalgia for the days of communism as she reported on poverty in rural Russia. "It wasn't always like this," Kafanov argued. "In the Soviet era, most villagers worked on huge collective farms. Life wasn't easy, but the government provided for the people."
In today’s political climate, an observer would be roundly mocked if they suggested President Trump is the victim of a “spiteful” “witch hunt,” or even a “coup d’etat.” But during the Clinton impeachment drama in 1998 and 1999, liberal journalists trotted out all of those claims as a way to deflect and defend a Democratic President who was impeached for, among other things, obstruction of justice — the same transgression journalists are associating with President Trump.
In covering the President’s proposed budget this week, network reporters unanimously claimed it “cut” or even “slashed” federal spending. An MRC analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news coverage since Monday (May 22) finds that not a single reporter ever told viewers that overall federal spending would actually RISE under President Trump’s planned budget — just not as much as forecast under the budget baseline Trump inherited from President Obama back in January.