WH’s Huckabee Sanders Cites MRC Study in Heated Debate with NBC’s Welker

During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited the latest Media Research Center study by Rich Noyes, which showed that the Trump coverage on the major broadcast network evening newscasts was 90 percent negative toward the President. 

Sanders was being openly lobbied by NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker to accept a congressional investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against the President when the White House official began noting the media’s refusal to cover policy issues. 

 

 

“He has spoken to these accusations and...pushed that they are all false and fabricated accusations. Frankly, I think if Congress wants to spend time investigating things, they should probably focus on some of the things that the American people would really like them to investigate....If you look at the issues in poll after poll after poll taken by a number of the outlets in this room...the issues that are top mind, number one every single time, the economy, jobs, national security, immigration, health care. Yet we never talk about those issues,” Sanders argued before turning to the Noyes study.

She then started to discuss the study, citing “90 percent of the coverage,” but was interrupted by Welker telling her that the discussion of sexual misconduct is “an important moment” regardless of what polls state as being what’s most important to voters. 

Undeniably so, the Me Too movement is an important one and brought to light behavior that has been tolerated for far too long. Put simply, enough is enough as everyone, regardless of age or gender, are children of God and deserve respect. However, multiple things can be true at once in that the Me Too movement matters while issues such as national security and economic growth do as well.

And thus, Sanders continued:

[H]old on. I let you finish. I'm going to finish this statement. 90% of the coverage that comes out of the media is negative and rarely covers those topics and those are the things that American people want to talk about. If Congress wants to investigate something, I think that they should look is at some of the priorities of the people that they actually represent. 

As a side note, her claim needs some clarification. The Noyes study did not look at all “coverage that comes out of the media” (broadcast TV, cable TV, print, etc.). Rather, it examined the network evening newscasts of ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News from September 1 to November 30.

This was not the first time that the White House cited a study published on NewsBusters. From the same podium, Sanders alluded to a Noyes study during June 29's briefing, which charted the obsessive coverage dedicated on the same newscasts to Trump-Russia collusion.

On April 29, the President similarly invoked a blockbusters study by Noyes and Mike Ciandella on his 100th day in office at a rally in Harrisburg, PA. While Trump stated that it applied to the whole media, the study only focused on the 89 percent negative network evening news coverage of the President during his first 100 days.

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Here’s the relevant transcript from December 12's White House press briefing:

White House press briefing
December 12, 2017
3:35 p.m. Eastern    

KRISTEN WELKER: And Sarah, members of Congress have called for an investigation into these accusations. If President Trump is confident they are not true, would you support such an investigation? 

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, the president has answered these questions. He has spoken to these accusations and denied and pushed that they are all false and fabricated accusations. Frankly, I think if Congress wants to spend time investigating things, they should probably focus on some of the things that the American people would really like them to investigate, like how to secure our borders, how the defeat ISIS, how to pass tax reform that actually impacts them. If you look at the issues in poll after poll after poll taken by a number of the outlets in this room and pushed out regularly, the issues that are top mind, number one every single time, the economy, jobs, national security, immigration, health care. Yet we never talk about those issues. In fact, 90 percent of the coverage that is —

WELKER: And yet, this moment is an important moment as well, Sarah. This is a moment that’s getting a lot of attention

SANDERS: — happened — hold on. I let you finish. I'm going to finish this statement. 90% of the coverage that comes out of the media is negative and rarely covers those topics and those are the things that American people want to talk about. If Congress wants to investigate something, I think that they should look is at some of the priorities of the people that they actually represent. 

WELKER: And yet, Sarah, this is something that is being discussed in businesses all across the country. There have been a number of people who have been fired about this. So, why not allow the congressional investigation to go forward if the President is confident and the accusations being false? [INAUDIBLE]

SANDERS: Look, the President has addressed these concerns. He’s addressed them directly. You guys spent months talking about them on the campaign trail and the American people voted for this President. They have confidence in this President and they wanted him to lead our country and they wanted him to focus on things like the economy, focus on health care, focus on fixing our broken tax system, focus on fixing our borders, and focus on national security. That's what we're here to do. That's what we are focused on. These questions have been asked and answered and we’re ready to move forward and focus on the questions of the day that the American people have.


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CyberAlerts Economy Media Bias Debate War on Terrorism Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Sex Scandals NBC Video MRC/NB News Government & Press Rich Noyes White House Press Briefing Kristen Welker Sarah Huckabee Sanders
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