Media Reality Check
Occasional compilations and studies, from the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division, documenting distorted coverage and/or media omissions. Archive on MRC.org has the full text posts of Media Reality Checks from 2015 and earlier.
It’s not just President Donald Trump, White House press secretaries Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders who think Jim Acosta is out of control. Even some of his journalist colleagues think his antics are bad for journalism.
It’s been 18 years since a presidential election was clogged and stalled by a recount after a close finish in Florida, and now it’s happening again after Republicans led the election night tallies for Senator and Governor in the state. This time, the national media are scoffing at complaints that Democratic election officials could be seeking to overturn the will of the voters. Back in 2000, those same outlets dripped with suspicion that Florida’s Republican Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, was conspiring to steal that election away from Democrat Al Gore.
The hype started way back in February when the New York Times’s Michael Tackett fantasized about Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke’s campaign embodying “a sense of the possible.” The “Turning Texas Blue” dream continued with Late Show host Stephen Colbert, in March, proclaiming: “Texas might be feeling the Beto-mentum, because so far this year, O’Rourke out-raised Ted Cruz by $1.5 million.” The following is just a sampling of the out-of-control media love for Beto O’Rourke and his Quixotic attempt to turn Texas blue.
This year, with Republicans in control of the White House, House and Senate, journalists are actively electioneering on behalf of Democrats, as a way to put a check on the power of President Trump. But eight years ago, when Democrats held both the House and Senate going into President Obama’s first midterm elections, the media were distressed that liberal power might be diluted, and upset that voters failed to appreciate the tremendous “victories” and “amazing legislative agenda” that Obama and the Democrats had accomplished.
To hear the liberal media tell it, you’d think Donald Trump and the Republicans are solely responsible for lowering the public discourse. Yet, many prominent Democrats in this election cycle have uttered heinous and insulting words about public figures and treated their fellow Americans terribly, but you probably never heard about them if you only got your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network news shows.
With just one week to go before the 2018 midterm elections, the broadcast networks are heavily spinning their campaign coverage against the Republicans, even as President Trump’s campaign activities have received more airtime than all of the individual Senate, House, and gubernatorial contests combined.
While the liberal media have been obsessed with blaming Donald Trump’s rhetoric for provoking the man who sent letter bombs to Democrats and CNN last week, they barely mentioned that the man who shot at Republicans on a baseball in 2017 was motivated by anti-GOP hatred.
On network evening broadcasts, the President and his administration have received virtually no credit for this achievement. Since Inauguration Day (January 20, 2017), the three network evening newscasts have spent more than 10,000 minutes on the Trump presidency, and only 33 minutes (0.33%) involved the administration's handling of the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
As the midterms fast approach, there are a bunch of Democrats who find themselves embroiled in scandals and controversies. But if you only got your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks, you’ve probably never heard about them. From Texas Senate Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke lying about his DUI arrest to DNC chair Keith Ellison being accused of domestic violence, the following is a list of Democratic controversies that the nets are keeping their audiences (for the most part) in the dark about:
Over the summer, the broadcast networks continued to pound Donald Trump and his team with the most hostile coverage of a President in TV news history — 92 percent negative, vs. just eight percent positive. Nearly two-thirds of evening news coverage of the Trump presidency focused on five main topics: the Russia investigation; immigration policy; the Kavanaugh nomination; North Korea diplomacy; and U.S. relations with Russia, while bright spots such as the booming economy accounted for less than one percent of total coverage.
During the past three weeks, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has received a deluge of news coverage accusing him of vile crimes, including attempted rape and even organizing gang rapes. While these charges did not originate with the news media, the lack of satisfactory corroborating evidence should have caused ethical reporters to refrain from gratuitously repeating allegations that painted Kavanaugh in a monstrous light. But this is not what happened.