Mike Ciandella is a research analyst for the MRC's News Analysis Division
Mike Ciandella is a research analyst for the MRC's News Analysis Division, and manages the MRC's Bias by the Minute project (BBTM). Bias by the Minute is an extensive database of evening news broadcasts from ABC, CBS and NBC, stretching back to January 2015. By utilizing this database, Ciandella and other MRC analysts are able to release detailed studies on network media coverage. On top of this, BBTM also publishes studies looking at cable news coverage, timing out the coverage of various topics to the second.
You can check out the full archive of Bias by the Minutes stories here: http://newsbusters.org/administrative/bias-minute
Latest from Mike Ciandella
Like their counterparts at CNN and MSNBC, many news outlets were quick to promote anti-Trump protests in New York City on November 12, 2016 – and in doing so became unwitting promoters of Russian propaganda. An indictment handed down on February 16 by Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed that this protest, as well as one in Charlotte, NC on November 19, 2016, was organized by Russian operatives.
ABC and NBC couldn’t find time on their February 11 Sunday political shows to mention conservative criticism of a budget deal that adds roughly $300 billion to the deficit, bringing the deficit total to over a trillion dollars. Conservative lawmakers have expressed concern that this deal goes against a fiscally conservative platform that the President and many in Congress campaigned on.
To create hype for his network’s Olympics coverage, NBC’s Keir Simmons decided it would be a good idea to play bumper cars in a North Korean amusement park. “They’re ruthless, these guys,” Simmons joked in the June 6 Today segment, about the other bumper car drivers – in a country that is legitimately ruthless to its own people. Not once in the segment did Simmons use that word to describe Kim Jong Un’s regime. But this isn’t the first time that NBC News has run a report that bordered dangerously close on propaganda for a foreign dictatorship.
When Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a January 11 press conference, belittled the $1,000 bonus Walmart workers that were going to get (via the tax cut) as mere “crumbs” CNN and MSNBC offered the elitist comment a mere 17 seconds in a week’s worth of coverage.
During President Trump’s first State of the Union address on January 30, MSNBC host Joy Reid took to Twitter to rant about how polarizing the speech was – not because of any of the policies he mentioned, but because it talked about things like “family” and “church,” which she dismissed as outdated and nationalistic tropes.
A Media Research Center study of every broadcast evening news story about the Trump administration in 2017 found the new President was by far the biggest story of the year, accounting for one out of every three minutes of evening news airtime; the tone of coverage was incessantly hostile: 90% negative, vs. just 10% positive; and more than two-fifths of evening news coverage of the President (43%) focused on controversies, not policies, with the Russia investigation alone accounting for one-fifth of all Trump coverage (1,234 minutes).
In another baffling display of disconnect, CBS News blamed President Trump’s low poll numbers on Republican voters being pro-ObamaCare. During the December 27 CBS This Morning, National Correspondent Chip Reid announced that Trump’s push to repeal ObamaCare “could hurt many of his own supporters.”
NBC News still hasn’t reported on the sexual harassment accusations against Democratic Congressman Ruben Kihuen, but ABC took things a step farther. ABC isn’t just ignoring Kihuen: the network buried its own bombshell scoop on him. In an interview with ABC News Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce that was posted on the network’s website but never made the cut for television, Kihuen accused Democratic leadership for being opportunistic in calling for his resignation.
If even Nancy Pelosi thinks that sexual harassment accusations against sitting Democratic Congressman Ruben Kihuen are serious enough that he should resign, why haven’t ABC and NBC covered them at all?
Kihuen has been accused of making multiple sexual advances towards a campaign staffer in 2016 without her consent, including touching the staffer’s thighs. According to the accuser’s interview with BuzzFeed, Kihuen “propositioned her for dates and sex despite her repeated rejections.”
If there was any doubt about the liberal media's double-standard when it comes to policing politicians' character, the last 24 hours have made it clear: All three networks have given heavy coverage to the serious accusations against a Republican Senate candidate, while the ongoing federal trial of a Democratic Senator has been largely hidden from view.
As journalists rejoice over Republican defeats in New Jersey and Virginia, hyping them as a referendum on President Trump, we at the MRC dove into our archives to remind them that just 8 years ago they said the exact opposite when the exact same situation happened to President Obama. The comparison couldn’t get more apples-to-apples: in both 2009 and 2017, the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey were lost by the party that had just won the presidential election the year before.
After 62 days of testimony, closing arguments and now jury deliberations, CNN has only managed to devoted a paltry 36 minutes out of their 24/7 news broadcast to the corruption trial of sitting Democratic Senator Bob Menendez. But even CNN’s lack of coverage isn’t as bad as the broadcast networks. The evening shows of ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to cover the trial at all.
ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows have not reported on the corruption trial of Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez at all since September 6 when the trial began. The Senator from New Jersey is charged with accepting bribes from a wealthy friend in exchange for political favors.
For the first seven days after The Hill published startling new information about the Clinton/Russia/Uranium scandal, the 24-hour cable news giant CNN had produced less than five minutes (3 minutes, 54 seconds) of actual news coverage about the case. In fact, from the morning of October 17 through the morning of October 24, CNN's reporters and anchors only mentioned the scandal twice.
The broadcast network morning and evening shows have so far failed to provide even a single second of coverage to an October 17 report from The Hill which revealed new details in the Clinton/Russia/Uranium scandal. The networks' blackout is all the more striking given the airtime those shows have already devoted this year to wacky conspiracy theories and urban legends, including the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, the Loch Ness monster, alien abductions, ghosts and even "lizard people."
The prosecution rested on October 11 in the corruption trial of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. Yet, with a whole day of reporting to work with, CNN has only mentioned this story for a total of five minutes on 2 shows. On October 11, The Lead With Jake Tapper gave the story 3 minutes and 9 seconds of coverage. Tapper was the only anchor to cover the story the day that the prosecution rested, with CNN Newsroom covering it for 2 minutes and 2 seconds the following morning.
When Republican Congressman Tim Murphy from Pennsylvania resigned in disgrace on October 5, all three broadcast evening shows ran reports on it. NBC’s Today also covered this story the following morning. But just last year when another Pennsylvania Congressman, Democrat Chaka Fattah, was forced to step down amid a corruption trial that eventually ended in his conviction, not one of the morning or evening shows on ABC, CBS or NBC covered his resignation at all.
With September’s news coverage now in the record books, the latest Media Research Center analysis finds TV’s hostility to the Trump presidency continues unabated. According to our analysts, the President received 92% bad press, vs. just 8% good press on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows last month.
After the Trump Administration on Friday pulled some U.S. diplomats from Cuba and restricted travel to the island nation following a series of attacks with acoustic weapons, both the CBS and NBC evening news broadcasts suggested that the United States, and not the Castro dictatorship, was the problem.
The double standard at CNN is stark. The cable news network can’t seem to find much time for the three-week long unfolding drama of the corruption trial of sitting Democratic Senator Robert Menendez from NJ. But it found nearly 2 hours in just one day to cover HHS Secretary Tom Price’s flights on private jets.