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Study confirms media coverage of Trump is 'more hostile than normal' and ignores good economic news

Meanwhile, Biden's Ukraine dealings had 71% positive coverage

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Your suspicions of media bias are likely correct.

A new study by the Media Research Center confirms that broadcast news coverage of President Trump has been "more hostile than normal" since the Democrats' impeachment inquiry began, while nearly ignoring favorable economic news, and dedicating positive coverage to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son's dealings with Ukraine.

The researchers at MRC studied all media coverage of the president on the networks' evening newscasts, including NBC's "Nightly News," ABC's "World News Tonight," and CBS' "Evening News" and found that the overwhelming majority of it has been negative since the inquiry began on September 24.

In a memo summarizing the findings, MRC editor Rich Noyes wrote that "out of 684 evaluative comments included in these broadcasts, a whopping 96 percent have been negative, vs. a meager four percent that have been positive." Meanwhile, Noyes added that despite strong economic news in recent weeks, "the President's handling of the economy was given a stingy 4 minutes, 6 seconds of airtime during these six weeks, or less than one percent of all Trump administration news"

Networks relying on anonymous sources

To determine the partiality of news coverage, the MRC analysts compiled all explicitly evaluative statements about the president or the administration from reporters, anchors and third parties. They did not include valuations from partisan sources or neutral statements.

MRC found that from September 24 to November 5, the networks dedicated 398 minutes of coverage to the Ukraine scandal, or more than three-fifths of the 645 minutes of news about during administration during the period. However, the analysts also concluded that 59 percent of the networks' impeachment coverage has relied on anonymous sources.

"Out of 172 news reports, a large majority (59%) relied on unnamed sources for their facts about the impeachment probe," said Noyes, adding it "is slightly higher than when we first checked in late October, when 57 percent of impeachment stories used anonymous sources." He said the networks use of leaks and anonymous sources is likely due to the fact that the early impeachment inquiry developments happened behind closed doors.

Coverage of ISIS raid was negative, too

Although the networks' coverage of the U.S. mission against al-Baghdadi was mostly positive, MRC notes that most of the coverage surrounding Trump's role in the raid was negative. "Out of nine evaluative statements about the President himself, two-thirds (67%) were negative," said Noyes.

MRC's analysts found that, when it came to Trump, the networks focused on the president's refusal to brief congressional leaders and his characterization of the ISIS terrorist's last moments. A notable example cited by Noyes is NBC's Courtney Kube speculation during the October 27 broadcast of Nightly News that Trump's "bellicose language about the manner in which [al-Baghdadi] died could actually inspire some ISIS fighters to retaliate."

Boosting Biden?

Noyes found that the media's heavy focus on the congressional impeachment inquiry could be cutting in favor of the lackluster 2020 Democratic field. "To determine the partiality of news coverage, the MRC analysts compiled all explicitly evaluative statements about the president or the administration from reporters, anchors and third parties. They did not include valuations from partisan sources or neutral statements."

When it came his Ukraine dealings, MRC reported that former Biden has actually received the best press of his campaign, with 71 percent of the coverage being positive.

One last thing…
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