The antagonism between Trump and the “mainstream” media is no secret, with Trump recently calling corporate-owned news media the “enemy of the American people.” Now a new study, conducted by the Media Research Center (MRC), has confirmed that the media’s coverage of Trump has been anything but balanced, with 88% of all news coverage of the administration within its first 30 days in office found to be overtly “hostile.” The study analyzed evening newscasts on the “Big Three” networks – ABC, NBC, and CBS – for both tone and content during Trump’s first month in the White House. They found that the three networks had collectively produced around 16 hours of coverage on Trump and his administration, representing 54% of their total coverage for the entire month.
“Our measure of media tone excludes sound-bites from identified partisans, focusing instead on tallying the evaluative statements made by reporters and the nonpartisan talking heads (experts and average citizens) included in their stories,” wrote Rich Noyes – research director for the MRC – along with fellow MRC analyst Mike Ciandella. “Our measure of media tone excludes sound-bites from identified partisans, focusing instead on tallying the evaluative statements made by reporters and the nonpartisan talking heads (experts and average citizens) included in their stories,” the pair added.
Despite the study’s focus on allegedly nonpartisan journalists and experts, the networks were found to have filled their stories with quotes largely from citizens angry about Trump’s policies, giving minimal airtime to Trump supporters. It was also found that reporters “often injected their own anti-Trump editorial tone into the coverage. ‘It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality,’ CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley […] began his February 6 broadcast.”
The study also noted that Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” drew the most negative coverage, netting over three hours in total, though the border wall issue was a close second. The study also reported that “nearly an hour of coverage (56 minutes) was given over to anti-Trump protests on various topics, with nearly one-fifth (82 out of 442) of the Trump stories or briefs aired during these 30 days including at least some discussion of an anti-Trump protest.”
A previous MRC study had found that negative coverage of his campaign was similarly high with 91% of broadcast coverage at the time found to cast the Trump campaign in a negative light. With trust in the media at an all-time low and with a majority of Americans believing that the media is too critical of Trump, this latest study only confirms that the mainstream media remains remarkably out of touch with the average American.
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