In four weeks, Americans go to the polls for the midterm elections that the news media are casting as a referendum on the Trump presidency.
Over the summer, the 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 8 percent positive.
For this report, MRC analysts reviewed all 1,007 evening news stories (1,960 minutes of airtime) about the Trump administration on 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 results show that, over the past four months, nearly two-thirds of evening news coverage of the Trump presidency has been focused on just five main topics:
The networks’ coverage of all of these topics has been highly negative, while positive accomplishments such as the booming economy* received extremely little coverage (less than one percent of the four-month total).
… Amid this sea of coverage, the networks spent almost no airtime — a mere 14 minutes, or 0.7 percent — on the administration’s economic achievements, including the positive effects of the tax cuts and deregulation, plus historic job growth. Indeed, the only aspect of the Trump economic program that interested the networks during the past four months has been the President’s use of tariffs to push for better trade deals (80 minutes).
Coverage of Trump’s trade policy emphasized the downside: potential higher costs to consumers or the possible harm to industries that rely on foreign imports, as opposed to the potential for job growth or higher wages for American workers. That made the spin of trade news nearly as negative as the other major topics (88% negative), overwhelming the positive (89%) but puny coverage of the broader economic record. (From an Oct. 9 report by Rich Noyes at mrc.org.)
The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard researched and compiled a list of 289 major accomplishments under the Trump administration. From the October 12 report:
1. What type of bias does the excerpt illustrate?
2. Why do you think the Big 3 – ABC, CBS and NBC run almost all negative storeis on the Trump presidency?
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
1. Bias by story selection, omission and spin.
2. Opinion question. Answers vary.