MRC's Tim Graham: Journalists Spin Trump as 'Epic Threat to the Country'

According to the Media Research Center’s Tim Graham, biased journalists are treating Donald Trump as “some sort of epic threat to the country and has to be stopped.” The MRC’s director of media analysis appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Tuesday to explain how journalists are leaping on Trump’s latest scandal and ignoring Hillary Clinton’s controversies. 

Regarding the comparison of the businessman’s comments on a tape and the latest from the Clinton Wikileaks e-mails, Graham noted, “We have been comparing that to other Clinton scandals, which generally get started off in a very slow fashion. They never take off like this.” 

While the Trump tape has garnered 167 minutes of coverage on the network newscasts through Monday night, the Democrat’s e-mails have earned just 10. Graham argued: 

ECHEVARRIA: Would you say there is bias then against Donald Trump and the coverage? 

GRAHAM: I think there’s not just bias against Donald Trump. I think. the news media has been very plain. When you have an essay on the front page of the New York Times saying, “This election is too important for us to try to be evenhanded.” I think the coverage on the networks, the coverage on television basically has the whole flavor of “This man is some sort of epic threat to the country and has to be stopped.” We’re not seeing objectivity. I think that matches where we're seeing now in the public opinion polls were trust in the media is at an all-time low. 

 

Graham appeared on C-SPAN for the full half hour and took calls from viewers. He also explained the purpose of the Media Research Center: 

GRAHAM: We were founded in 1987, just almost coming up on 30 years now. We basically monitor the national news, starting with the television networks, also some print. You know, still some newspaper analysis. But mostly focused on television news. We are recording all the time, all the networks, cable, broadcast, and then trying to analyze those and bring — study some patterns and be able to talk to people about, you know, how much coverage there is of things and how much there is an of things and the general tone of things. 

A partial transcript is below: 

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Washington Journal
10/11/16
8:34

PEDRO ECHEVARRIA: Our first guest of the morning is Tim Graham with the Media Research Center. He is the media analysis center director. Good morning to you. 

TIM GRAHAM: Good morning. 

ECHEVARRIA: Tell us about the center. What it is, what you do and the perspective you come from. 

GRAHAM: We were founded in 1987, just almost coming up on 30 years now. We basically monitor the national news, starting with the television networks, also some print. You know, still some newspaper analysis. But mostly focused on television news. We are recording all the time, all the networks, cable, broadcast, and then trying to analyze those and bring — study some patterns and be able to talk to people about, you know, how much coverage there is of things and how much there isn't of things and the general tone of things. 

ECHEVARRIA: With those things in mind then, when it comes to campaign 2016, talk about what you are seeing, particularly after the events over the weekend come Friday with the release of that tape about Donald Trump. 

GRAHAM: Well, the first thing we do is say is how many minutes is the story getting? We are, as through last evening, we are up to 167 on ABC, CBS, and NBC. That's an enormous story, you know, just since Friday. 

We have been comparing that to other Clinton scandals, which generally get started off in a very, very slow fashion. They never take off like this. This is more equivalent to, for example, the Chris Christie bridge story where you got— we counted 88 minutes in the first 48 hours. That is the kind of thing we do to basically say that the media is going full bore on this. The media thinks  this is something that is an enormous, a crisis. Whether or not that's true, they are certainly making it or creating it as a crisis. 

ECHEVARRIA: If that many minutes have been applied to Donald Trump’s tape, how many minutes have been applied to the release at the same time of Hillary Clinton's e-mail then? 

GRAHAM: Far less. Far less. We're just a little over 10 minutes. So, I mean — This happens all the time. Democratic scandals, Democratic problems or issues, the leaks, the FBI issues, the e-mails —  they all get less attention. And the tone of the story is obviously different as well. I think that there is not a tone of crisis when they report on Hillary's e-mails. There is a tone of “poor Hillary is so embattled by these people who won't let her be.” It's just a different tone. Now, obviously that's a little harder to analyze than the minutes. There has clearly been a difference here in the minutes. And of course, Donald Trump over the last two years has dominated the news. In the Republican primaries, he dominated the news now in the general. The general question is if it is good for him. Obviously, it’s been good for him in the primaries. I think there's an idea now that it's not great for you in the general election.

ECHEVARRIA: Would you say there is bias then against Donald Trump in the coverage? 

GRAHAM: I think there’s not just bias against Donald Trump. I think. the news media has been very plain. When they have an essay on the front page of the New York Times saying, “This election is too important for us to try to be evenhanded.” I think the coverage on the networks, the coverage on television basically has the whole flavor of “This man is some sort of epic threat to the country and has to be stopped.” We’re not seeing objectivity, and  I think that matches where we're seeing now in the public opinion polls were trust in the media is at an all-time low. 

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