NewsBusters Podcast: PBS and The Atlantic Merge in the Liberal Bubble

March 27th, 2024 8:46 PM

Last August, PBS announced it was entering a partnership with the leftist magazine The Atlantic to rebrand its Friday night journalist roundtable show Washington Week. We've studied six months of this merger, and it's no surprise that it's dramatically anti-Trump and anti-Republican. Our PBS analyst Clay Waters shares his findings. 

Over the last six months, more than half (88) of the 157 topics addressed focused on Republicans, over twice as many as those focused on Democrats (38). As we like to ask, “who’s the president?” Democrats control the White House and the Senate, but all the heat is on Republicans.

The panelists only come from liberal outlets from PBS and NPR to The New York Times and The Washington Post. No Fox News reporters need apply! 

These panelists spent 149 minutes opining about Republicans, and nearly 90 percent of it was negative. For Republicans in Congress, it was 99 percent negative. Trump opponents like Nikki Haley and Mitt Romney drew the positive opinions.

By contrast, the Democrats received just 66 minutes of opinionated commentary, split much more evenly (57% negative vs. 43% positive). Congressional Democrats drew only 17.8 percent negative coverage. Biden drew 61 percent negative opinion, but a bunch of that was reporting his polling struggles and his failure to please the hard left. Perhaps the most amusing defense of Biden came in a discussion of Trump mocking his age and acuity: 

Mark Leibovich: Can I just actually just point out, though, that, I mean, it’s not just making an issue of Biden’s age, it’s lying, it’s saying he’s senile, saying he’s demented, saying he’s out of it. I mean, I think it’s important to sort of state for a fact that a lot of these are just --

Goldberg: Right. Mentally, he’s quite acute.

Leibovich: It seems like it.

Clay found Republicans were branded as “extreme” 11 times over the study period. Democrats never were. The Washington Week crew ignored scandals by "The Squad" and only gave 34 seconds to the gold-bars bribery scandal of Sen. Bob Menendez. Then there's their time and tone on Hunter Biden: 104 total seconds, 75 seconds positive, 29 seconds negative. or 27.9 percent negative. Poor Hunter's just trying to get his life together! 

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