The Media Research Center has been tracking the big news networks’ coverage of President Trump since he first took office, and the conservative media watchdog has found a remarkably consistent pattern: overwhelmingly negative coverage of Trump at a rate of about nine-to-one negative to good. MRC’s latest study found that the overtly biased coverage trend has continued; in fact, it’s ticked up a notch.
Over the course of the last four months, Newsbusters reports, MRC found that “broadcast networks have 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.” MRC’s previous studies found the bias rate to be about 91%.
MRC looked at 1,007 evening news stories by the big three networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — from June 1 to September 30, “tallying the coverage of each topic and all evaluative comments made by anchors, reporters and non-partisan sources (such as voters or experts).” The result was a familiar one: a vast majority of the coverage focused on potentially negative stories for Trump, particularly Russia, immigration and the uncorroborated allegations of Kavanaugh, and the slant of that “reporting” was egregiously one-sided.
Newsbusters provides summaries of the media’s biased coverage of the major stories over the last four months, including the Kavanaugh allegations. After spending a grand total of just 32 minutes covering Kavanaugh from his nomination on July 9 to September 6, things changed dramatically when the uncorroborated allegations emerged on September 13. Newsbusters reports (formatting adjusted):
From then until the end of September, the networks produced an additional 249 minutes of coverage centered on accusations of youthful sexual misconduct, or roughly eight times more than was devoted to the earlier debate about Kavanaugh’s judicial record and philosophy. … The chart (above) reflects only the evaluative (82% negative) statements about how President Trump and his team handled the Kavanaugh nomination, including criticism of the President for dismissing the accusations, and for supposedly limiting the scope of the FBI probe.
Comments about Kavanaugh himself were far more numerous, but just as negative (83%) — nearly all of it focused on the late September misconduct allegations. … Once the coverage moved to the sexual assault allegations, reporters offered nightly recitations of the highly inflammatory (and uncorroborated) charges against Kavanaugh, including that he enabled gang rapes of high school girls in the early 1980s. It is impossible to recall the networks ever giving publicity to a more damning accusation that had not either originated from law enforcement or at least been corroborated by journalistic investigation.
Another major story that the media has continued to hammer when it hasn’t been repeating the accusations against Kavanaugh is the Russia probe. “The networks spent 151 minutes on the Trump administration’s approach to Russia, virtually all of it (99%) negative,” Newsbusters notes. Here’s the breakdown of MRC’s findings by topic: