NewsBusters Executive Editor Tim Graham appeared on the March 3 edition of The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News to discuss the new MRC study by Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella showing network evening news coverage has been 88 percent hostile to President Trump in his first month in office.
Guest host Jesse Watters asked Tim how the American people process this unrelenting wave of media hostility:
JESSE WATTERS: In the second "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, the media's coverage of President Trump. A new study by the conservative Media Research Center finds that during President Trump's first 30 days in office, a whopping 88 percent of the evening news coverage on the big three networks was hostile. Here is a sample. Watch.
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS EVENING NEWS ANCHOR: Today, President Trump told the U.S. military audience that there have been terrorist attacks that no one knows about because the media chooses not to report them. It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality.
WATTERS: Joining us now with more from Richmond, Virginia. Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center. So, Tim 88 percent, it is pretty astonishing. I mean, that is almost 100 percent out of the park. What do you take away from that?
TIM GRAHAM: Well, we should explain that it does not count partisan sources which would mean Trump speaking or Chuck Schumer speaking. But yes, overwhelmingly, those people that you trust, the reporters themselves, sources in the American public overwhelmingly negative. And the funny thing about it is, this is the time in the presidency where the President of whichever party get some sort of a honeymoon. You know, eight years ago we were still on "And that the Obama girls got a dog." You know? And look at Michelle's arms.
WATTERS: Yes. I mean, if Mrs. Trump's honeymoon, we know the rest of the marriage turns out. I mean -- (Laughter) I think divorce is right around the corner. The effect that this constant barrage of just very negative attacks against the President. The American public, are they tuning this coverage out or are they soaking it in? How do you think they're digesting it?
GRAHAM: I think it obviously gives them some sense of unease. I think you saw, you know, when there was like this little pause after his speech to Congress, there was sort of a sense of relief like oh, they're not going to slam them today for about two hours.
GRAHAM: But obviously we found the same thing in the fall. Eighty-eight percent negative coverage in the last few weeks of the campaign and he won. [Actually, the MRC found it was 91 percent negative last fall.] So, I think he can govern with this but I think that still the question is, how do these people suggest this is fair and balanced? I don't think that is the case at all. And you don't have to be 88 percent hostile to hold the President accountable.
Watters asked if this "hateful media machine" actually helps Trump with his public image by overdoing it so much. Graham replied "I think that they have this idea though that Trump criticizing the liberal media is something he just does for his base and this can't possibly work with independent voters, people in the middle. I think that is not true. I think it's obviously again, we saw the results of the election. I think it's actually remarkable some of the approval ratings we've seen for Trump in these first few weeks. You would expect it to be much worse trying to watch the way the television networks go after him."