Honeymoon from Hell: The Liberal Media vs. President Trump

from – NewsBusters.org – by Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella

As President Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office, he has received by far the most hostile press treatment of any incoming American president, with the broadcast networks punishing him with coverage that has been 89% negative. The networks largely ignored important national priorities such as jobs and the fight against ISIS, in favor of a news agenda that has been dominated by anti-Trump controversies and which closely matches what would be expected from an opposition party.

For example, President 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.

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.

For this 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. Coverage during those first 80 days was intense, as the networks churned out 869 stories about the new administration (737 full reports and 132 brief, anchor-read items), plus an additional 140 full reports focused on other topics but which also discussed the new administration.

Five big topics accounted for roughly two-fifths (43%) of the whopping 1,900 minutes of total network airtime devoted to the Trump administration. But those five topics accounted for a much larger share (63%) of the negative coverage hurled at the administration, as the networks covered each with an overwhelmingly hostile (more than 90% negative) slant.

Methodology: Our measure of spin was designed to isolate the networks’ own slant, not the back-and-forth of partisan politics. Thus, our analysts ignored soundbites which merely showcased the traditional party line (Republicans supporting Trump, Democrats criticizing him), and instead tallied evaluative statements which imparted a clear positive or negative tone to the story, such as statements from experts presented as non-partisan, voters, or opinionated statements from the networks’ own reporters.

Using these criteria, MRC analysts tallied 1,687 evaluative statements about the Trump administration, of which 1,501 (89%) were negative vs. a mere 186 (11%) which were positive.

The networks spent 223 minutes on the battle over the President’s executive orders aimed at temporarily banning immigration from seven (later reduced to six) countries that are either failed states or otherwise safe havens for Islamic terrorism. All three networks showed their disdain by filling their newscasts with soundbites from those distressed by the order. “I feel ashamed to be living in this country now,” one traveler was shown saying on CBS’s January 28 broadcast, while ABC weekend anchor Cecilia Vega said the order had created “chaos, confusion and fear.”

“It feels like a nightmare,” a Syrian resident of Pennsylvania told NBC two days later, after his relatives arrival was delayed by the order. There was no balance to this debate, with our analysts tallying 287 negative statements on this topic vs. a mere 21 positive, which computes to an astounding 93% negative spin.

The next-most-covered item (222 minutes) was the continuing probe of Russia’s presumed role in last year’s hacks of Democratic e-mails, and whether individuals connected to the Trump campaign may have participated in the scheme. While this topic generated only about half as many evaluative statements as the travel ban, an overwhelming 97% (153 out of 157) were critical of President Trump and his associates.

The GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare received 152 minutes of evening news coverage, with a ridiculously lopsided 94% hostile spin (193 negative vs. 12 positive statements). The Trump administration’s effort to crack down on illegal immigration, including increased deportations, an end to sanctuary cities, and a border wall, received 120 minutes of network coverage, 93% of which was negative (117 negative vs. 9 positive statements).

And the President’s March 4 claim that Trump Tower was “wiretapped” by President Obama drew 97 minutes of coverage, an astronomical 99.5% of which was negative: 189 negative statements, vs. only a single soundbite in support of the President — 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.”

Network anchors used the flap to brand the President as an incorrigible liar. “After a string of unproven claims, will this President struggle to keep the trust of the American public?” NBC’s Lester Holt intoned on his March 20 newscast.

Earlier, on March 8, CBS’s Scott Pelley suggested President Trump had psychological problems, asking longtime Democratic official Leon Panetta: “Is it appropriate to ask whether the President is having difficulty with rationality?”

Other topics, ostensibly far more important to voters, were pushed far down the network news agenda. 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 tragic raid in Yemen that killed a Navy SEAL, was given just 57 minutes of coverage.

Eight years ago, the networks’ treatment of President Obama’s first 100 days was very different. 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, or 15% of the total). The network spin for that legislation: 58% positive, vs. 42% negative.

As MRC analysts calculated at the time, the networks also doled mostly positive coverage for Obama’s intervention in the housing market (59% positive), his decision to use taxpayer money to fund embryo-destroying stem cell research (82% positive), as well as his push for more government action on global warming (78% 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 networks also broadcast dozens of stories that treated Obama and his family as pop culture celebrities. “From the moment the Obamas landed in Britain, hand in hand, many here were already star-struck,” NBC’s Dawna Friesen enthused on the April 1, 2009 Nightly News. Covering a European leaders summit a few days later, ABC’s David Muir warmly referred to Obama as “the cool kid in the class.”

Needless to say, President Trump and his family have received no such positive reviews. Instead, the media’s reaction this President has been unremittingly hostile, with aggressively negative coverage of both the new administration’s policy agenda as well as his character.

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.

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Serious Steve
5 years ago

Too many times, you hear them referring to him as Mr. Trump, and not President Trump. Despicable.

5 years ago

Never have understood what it takes to be a journalist. I heard brian williams just had a high school degree, true? I know he’s a big prime timer at some liberal outlet, but just saying, high school dipolma? So stand on a corner waiting for news, and now your a journalist. How do you go about getting hired? Anyone know how much $ a media guy or gal makes?

5 years ago

This is exactly why I’ve stopped lessening to radio news, watching TV news and reading newspapers and/or web news. This started over 20 years ago for me. I don’t trust the main stream news anymore. They have completely lost their main purpose of impartiality. Shame on them!

Thomas H
5 years ago

When will conservatives finally take back the media instead of complaining about it?

Lincoln W. Sorensen
5 years ago
Reply to  Thomas H

I register your comment as a complaint as well. Conservatives just are unable to assemble to one directive and become a lucid statement they can present in a peaceful but forceful body to be reckoned with.
What is your plan to take back the media?
I see no cohesive conservative group marching on D C. I see no local conservative groups assembling on a rotating basis in member’s garages to appoint a spokesperson to speak at city council meetings and join hands with other communities to grow in numbers and march on D C. Just a few years ago there was a million man march on D C. We have liberal protests daily around the globe. We have a group appearing out of thin air called Black Lives Matter. Why can’t conservatives form an alliance in large numbers?
Because they are the workers paying taxes and just trying to make ends meet.
The one conservative group which has been assembling from all across America annually in May for more than two decades with their destination being D C are the bikers who make “the run to the wall”.
Tis a pity, they are in such large numbers and so close. Their purpose is honorable and applauded. Conservatives across America should join them and when their purpose is satisfied this year, we should all appear before the cesspool of the politicians and demand the lobbyists be banned, the campaign money be banned, the tax code be discarded and a flat tax be installed, Line item veto be made into law, health savings plans be the replacement of Obamacare, random drug tests be required of recipients of any and all entitlements (SS is not an entitlement) SS be repaid with 6% interest all the money stolen from it since 1965, and tort reform is a necessity, also. Campaign money is no longer needed because any candidates platform can be posted on social media.
We all know that where there is money, there is corruption. america could have free education if the corruption in politics was eliminated. Things as they are now, we pay as much in taxes as the Scandinavian countries, but way too much of it goes in the pockets of our elected employees.
These are just a few changes which need immediate attention if you can get a group of conservatives to assemble with a D C destination in mind. When you do, I will join you.

Thomas H
5 years ago

Sorry for this late response – I just came upon this discussion today (1 month 20 days later). My opinion stated was simply a fact. As far as your comment telling me to be the savior of the right… sorry, but I am physically and emotionally unable to take a prominent lead in any collective assemblage. I only hope that my disabilities will not be seen by you as a reason to stop me from commenting on the truth.

Old Dutchman
5 years ago

How can we the people fight back against the news media? Living in South Eastern Oregon we only get the main networks except for Fox news, The Fox TV channel is owned and operated by none other than NBC who hates Trump.

Mackie Braden
5 years ago

The pie chart was interesting. I’d have thought that the Russian connection was given much more attention over a long period, still mentioned.

Stephen P.
5 years ago

After eight years of a philosophic thrust aimed at creating a national trend of descent to a mediocrity of goals and aspirations — not to mention the outrageous one of redefining biology that ignores the admonition that it isn’t nice to fool Mother Nature — a large part of the American population was lured like obedient lambs into acceptance of it. Thus, a gaggle of people that includes perpetrators of mass communication became victims of the often inane ideology, that like the force of a river’s direction is difficult, but not impossible, to redirect. With that in mind, it is not unexpected to have difficulties along the way of accomplishing a new and vibrant political philosophy bent on service to the citizen at all levels of social and intellectual involvement. ,

Garland Young
5 years ago

Due to actions that our ONE SIDED media has taken I watch only FOX BUSINESS with Lou Dobbs and finally canceled my one sided newspaper and at this point I feel good all over more than any where else.

5 years ago

I often wonder if TV news and print is owned clandestinely by our foreign enemies. They are clearly owned by America’s domestic enemies as well.

Marian J Remington
5 years ago

I am appalled at all the neg. press Trump & his family have to endure, but am grateful he pushes on with what he believes is right for our country. I hope AMAC & others can get the word out to the public about all the good things he is doing. Frankly it’s an embarrassment to our country the way the Dem’s & the left are behaving; they are probably laughing at us. But Pres. Trump & his family need our prayers, big time, for their safety & preserverance amid all this hostility. The Dem’s & the left need to stop crying like babies & “suck it up” & get a life.

5 years ago

I find it hilarious that the left wing media gave candidate Trump so much coverage thinking it would turn people away. They did not count on the disgust many felt with the DemocRATs AND RepublicRATs.

5 years ago
Reply to  EAA

And Chris Wallace should eat his hat publicly for asking Trump , and ONLY Trump, at the final Debate, if he would accept the election results. Wallace was doing his bias-journalist duty by asking the trick question for which there was no correct answer … A “yes” would have been interpreted as “ready to accept defeat”, a “no” answer would have received the same response as Trump’s “not yet” answer received (he’s going to bring down our Government, the Constitution is meaningless they said). But then, the whole thing came crashing down. With 98% of PA precincts reported, we actually watched Fox News hold-off calling PA in the Trump column, (it seemed like) for well over 2 hours, because it would have him winning at 270 EV’s. I can just imagine the chaos, finger pointing, and gutter-style anger, that went on after such an unprecedented and complete humiliation suffered by our media. It became clear that Trump played the media, had them eating from his hand, from the day he walked down he stairs of Trump Tower to announce his candidacy. But afterwards, instead of going high, the vengeful press went low, by reporting everything-Trump from a negative angle, ignoring his accomplishments and totally omitting reports of the uncivil left-wing. The American press and other media have become a joke and laughing stock of most foreign countries. It is noteworthy that in the early days of the MSM Vengeance Campaign, Chuck Schumer was the obstructionist’s go to guy, he was everywhere playacting and spewing hatred. But not recently, MSM have their ‘marching orders” and our man Chuck is back in his cave, lonely as ever.Join the discussion

Lincoln W. Sorensen
5 years ago
Reply to  TomHawk

Tom, you are 100% correct. Further, the progressives with the media will not stop with the propaganda. Many conservatives did not, as usual, vote last November. ALL CONSERVATIVES must vote in ALL FUTURE elections to prevent America from becoming another failed socialist wasteland. Obama was groomed for 3 decades and tutored by Valerie Jarrett and she is now living in his house. They are financed by Soros and the progressives will never quit with the slander and smears in an effort to regain power. All Conservatives MUST VOTE in all future elections.

5 years ago
Reply to  TomHawk

I’m sorry TomHawk, as one who watches all the Sunday shows, Every Sunday, only Chris Wallace is balanced, unbiased and fair. Fox is our only ally in delivering unbiased news. Obviously you do not watch him enough to even make an educated response.

5 years ago
Reply to  Wayne

And in my opinion Wayne, Chris Wallace spins left, but he has developed a cleaver method in presenting himself as unbiased to the unknowing viewer. As a starter … Remember during the debate, he presented the “trick” question, not to Ms. Clinton, only to Mr. Trump and I’m sure you can figure the reason for that display of bias. So here are additional Wallace gimmicks to watch for. 1) Unless guests appear concurrently, the liberal guest will always appear last. This allows time for liberal rebuttal preparation. 2) Wallace does not like to interview Democrats when the Party is having problems. Democrat interviews, targeted at explaining Democrat problems, are few and far between. Example, compare 2012 to 2016 elections. For months after Nov. 2012, over and over, Republican guests were asked by CW … How is your Party going to win back the Hispanic vote, or the single-woman’s vote? Answers were varied. But now, how many Democrats have been questioned, by CW in this manner since 11/8/2016? Answer. None. 3) CW also provides excellent demonstrations in the art of “interruption, topic change, and talk-over” whenever any Republican interviewee, or panel member, is about to make a point. In addition, there are examples of playing “loose” with facts by CW’s panel members, especially Juan Williams, whom I rate as FNC’s most inaccurate talking head, but I’m running out of ink and I think you get my point. We also prefer FNC for news whenever we watch TV News (will not watch or believe network news), but although FNC is the best for now they appear to be slipping in the direction of the other cable outlets. Good talking to you Wayne.

5 years ago

Remember when those mean Republicans ” shut down the government” and forced Obama to bar WWII Veterans from the D.C. WWII monument? And families were barred from National parks? Fast forward to yesterday on local Atlanta 5:00 news: “President Trump has less than 10 days to get legislation through Congress to avoid a government shutdown.” The term liberal media is an oxymoron.

5 years ago

Given the fact that the media is overwhelmingly populated by Progressives, this is of course what is to be expected from them. All that has changed in the last two decades is the media has cared less and less each passing year about pretending to be “unbiased”. Now the media feels perfectly free to be openly hostile towards anyone NOT in favor of the socialist agenda. So by default, the media hates ALL Republicans and every policy they are for. It would be like having all the news shows hosted by the likes of Pelosi, Schumer, Warren, Sanders, etc and most of the print media setup the same way. Everything listed in the article above would be reported in the same negative manner.

5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

They’ve got good spin – “Progressives” support the exploitation of [illegal] immigrants who are paid sub-standard wages. Sounds “regressive” to me. Planned Parenthood should be called Anti-parenthood; that’s what abortion is. Socialists should be called “dreamers”, or better yet – “unrealists”.
Why can Conservatives and Republicans get good spin. They should be called “Realists”, “Workhorses”, “Defenders of the Constitution”. Terms like “progressives’ and “socialists” should always be referred to within quotes.

5 years ago

What honeymoon? … As I stated to a fellow senior who was watching CNN news I said to him … President Trump traveled to Italy to meet with the Pope. They were sitting lakeside when a gust of wind came up and blew the Pope’s hat about 30 feet into the water. President Trump jumped up and ran on top of the water and picked up the Pope’s hat and proceeded to run back on top of the water and returned the hat to the Pope. CNN then proceeded to report in bold headlines … Trump can’t swim!!! … and guess what? … He didn’t get it! … But then again, not surprising!

Thomas H
5 years ago
Reply to  Rik

The “unbiased” media purposefully held off giving Trump the 270 electoral votes – couldn’t have him winning while most people were still awake!

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