Report: Coverage of President Trump’s early weeks has been 89 percent negative

by WorldTribune Staff, April 19, 2017

American broadcast networks’ coverage of President Donald Trump has been 89 percent negative as the new president’s efforts to grow the job market and fight terrorism are largely ignored in favor of controversies such as Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia during the campaign, a report said.

Trump has received “by far the most hostile press treatment of any incoming president,” Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella wrote for Media Research Center (MRC) NewsBusters on April 19.

President Donald Trump’s policies that are ‘ostensibly far more important to voters’ are largely ignored by the major media. /AP

The report noted that Trump’s “push to invigorate the economy and bring back American jobs received a mere 18 minutes of coverage (less than one percent of all airtime devoted to the administration), while his moves to renegotiate various international trade deals resulted in less than 10 minutes of TV news airtime.”

The networks devoted 223 minutes (93 percent negative) to the temporary travel ban and 222 minutes (97 percent negative) to the Russia election investigation.

“Eight years ago, in contrast, the broadcast networks rewarded new President Barack Obama with mainly positive spin, and spent hundreds of stories discussing the economic agenda of the incoming liberal administration,” the NewsBusters report said.

For the study, MRC analysts reviewed all of ABC, CBS and NBC’s evening news coverage of Trump and his new administration from January 20 through April 9, including weekends.

The report pointed to Trump’s March 4 claim that Trump Tower was “wiretapped” by Obama, which drew 97 minutes of coverage, 99.5 percent of which was negative. The coverage included 189 negative statements vs. only a single soundbite in support of Trump — a man at a pro-Trump rally shown on ABC’s World News Tonight on March 5, saying, “I think there’s some validity in Mr. Trump’s comments.”

Other topics, “ostensibly far more important to voters,” were pushed far down the network news agenda, the report said. The entire process, from nomination to confirmation, of new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch received just 69 minutes of network evening news coverage. The ongoing war against ISIS, including the raid in Yemen that killed a Navy SEAL, was given just 57 minutes of coverage.

The networks’ treatment of Obama’s first 100 days was markedly different, the report said.

“Back then, the networks delivered most of their coverage to Obama’s key policy priorities, topped by the nearly $1 trillion ‘stimulus’ package (150 stories). The network spin for that legislation: 58 percent positive.”

As MRC analysts calculated at the time, the networks also delivered mostly positive coverage for Obama’s intervention in the housing market (59 percent positive), his decision to use taxpayer money to fund embryo-destroying stem cell research (82 percent positive), as well as his push for more government action on global warming (78 percent positive).

“The President’s first seven weeks have been a whirlwind, with often dramatic movement in all directions, on all fronts: the economy, health care, two wars and today education reform,” then-anchor Brian Williams marveled on the March 10, 2009 NBC Nightly News.

On World News, March 1, 2009, ABC’s medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, gushed after a forum on health care: “I was blown away by President Obama’s grasp of the subject, how he connected the dots, how he answered the questions without any script.”

The MRC report concluded: “When the president shares the media’s liberal mindset, journalists are willing to be seen as cheerleaders, shaking their pom-poms on behalf of the White House. But when voters select a president who challenges the liberal establishment, those cheerleaders morph into unleashed pitbulls, ferociously attacking both the president and his agenda.”