BALLABON: Negative News Coverage Is Proof Of Bias That Harms Broadcasters, Not Trump

President Donald Trump talks to members of the news media before departing the White House May 25, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to Annapolis, Maryland, to participate in the Naval Academy's graduation ceremony.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
 

It seems that liberal journalists aren’t much different from Democrat Party staffers — both get paid to downplay and divert attention from any and all good news about President Trump.

 

According to the latest study from the Media Research Center (MRC), news coverage of President Trump on the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts was 90 percent negative and just 10 percent positive in 2018, excluding neutral statements and comments from partisan sources. That’s the same ratio MRC observed in 2017, suggesting that the major news networks have not toned down their hostility toward the President since his inauguration two years ago.

“As has been the case since the President took office, the tone of network coverage has been exceptionally hostile, ranging from 82 percent negative in April 2017 ... to 96 percent negative in February 2018,” MRC observed.

MRC is not the only watchdog to document the clear political bias in contemporary journalism, either.

According to the liberal-leaning Pew Research Center, 62 percent of the news coverage of President Trump's first 60 days in office was negative, compared to just 5 percent positive coverage.

Pew reported that coverage of President Obama, comparatively, was skewed in the exact opposite direction during his first 60 days, when only 20 percent of news stories were negative — a truly stunning contrast for a profession that claims to abide by objectivity.

Pew’s findings are backed up by data cited in The Washington Post conceding that, neutral statements excluded, news coverage of President Trump has been about 80 percent negative — double the 41 percent negative coverage of Obama.

These findings are appalling, especially when you consider that President Trump has presided over the strongest economy in a generation, whereas Obama spent most of his presidency mired in a stagnant economy with persistently high rates of unemployment. To achieve the ratios that Pew, MRC, and WaPo have observed, the media seemingly would have had to misrepresent bad economic news during Obama’s presidency, ignore favorable economic developments under President Trump, or — the most likely explanation — both. President Trump has been delivering promised results Democrats and the media mockingly predicted were impossible. Thanks to President Trump’s pro-growth policies, including historic middle-class tax cuts, targeted counter-tariffs against trade manipulators, and elimination of unnecessary regulations, the U.S. economy has been booming throughout his presidency, shattering numerous performance records over the last two years.

 

In 2018, the President oversaw impressive spikes in GDP growth and a consistently low unemployment ratethat has hovered below 4 percent for many months. After years of economic struggle under Obama, the U.S. economy has added millions of new jobs during Donald Trump’s presidency, and wages have increased substantially for American workers.

Two years into Obama’s presidency, when the economy was still mired in a deep recession and unemployment was approaching 10 percent, coverage of the Obama administration was still 43 percent positive.

There is a clear double standard when it comes to media coverage of President Trump — and it doesn’t just apply to economic news.

Even as President Trump demonstrates a good-faith willingness to compromise on a signature issue — illegal immigration and border security — the media appear single-mindedly dedicated to cover for the Democrats’ dismaying recalcitrance and apparent determination to keep the government shutdown going in hopes of creating a crisis. Rather than acknowledge the significance of the President’s offer, the media diverted America’s attention by forwarding a questionably sourced BuzzFeed report alleging that the President had suborned perjury from his former attorney, Michael Cohen.

For an entire news cycle, liberal media outlets breathlessly reported on the “bombshell” story, while Democrats publicly declared that President Trump should resign or face impeachment “if” the account was accurate.

 

But it wasn’t accurate, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office confirmed in an unprecedented statement refuting the story. The uncritical eagerness with which the liberal media leapt to ratchet up this latest salacious anti-Trump rumor once again reinforced the perception that they are the Democrats’ allies and collaborators rather than skeptical, independent, fair-minded journalists.

The unprecedented and sustained level of negative news coverage of Donald Trump is evidence that bias runs deep among America’s once-revered news broadcasters. Their response has been to play victim when the president points to the obvious — to howl that his public statements challenging bias and calling out lies is an attack on their credibility and on the First Amendment itself.

Ironically — tragically — the real assault on journalism is how manifestly today’s anti-Trump media are behaving like paid partisan hacks.

Jeff Ballabon is a political advisor, media consultant, and former CBS executive.

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