Media Bias on Steroids Since Trump Election

19300156_sCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

A new study has revealed an unprecedented level of bias in mainstream media coverage of the Trump administration with 88 percent of its reporting being hostile in tone and negative in content while providing little or no air time to supporters of the new administration.

Newsbusters is reporting on the study conducted by the Media Research Center which found that in the first 30 days of the new administration, President Trump and his team were the subject of 16 hours of coverage on just the “Big Three” evening newscasts – ABC, NBC, CBS – which equates to more than half (54%) of all news coverage during that period.

The study found that the tone of Trump’s coverage was almost as hostile (88%) as it was during the presidential campaign (91%).

“Our measure of media tone excludes soundbites from identified partisans, focusing instead on tallying the evaluative statements made by reporters and the non-partisan talking heads (experts and average citizens) included in their stories,” Newsbusters reports. “In their coverage of Trump’s first month, the networks crowded their stories with quotes from citizens angry about many of his policies, while providing relatively little airtime to Trump supporters.”

Network anchors were also guilty of flagrant journalistic violations such as injecting their own opinions into the coverage.

For example, on February 6, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley began his broadcast with “It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality.” Pelley would have better served his audience by simply reporting the facts of the day and allowing the public to form their own opinions about whether or not the president’s comments made sense.

By far, the biggest controversy during the president’s first month in office involved the temporary ban on immigration from seven countries with known links to Islamic terrorism (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). The three evening newscasts spent 188 minutes on this topic alone while almost completely ignoring other initiatives undertaken by the new administration during the same time.

For example, an executive order was issued that established task forces to fight drug cartels, reduce violent crime and attacks against police. Another order instructed agencies that whenever they introduced regulation, two others must be abolished in order to relieve the heavy regulatory burden that has been stifling the economy for the last eight years. The Mexico City Policy was brought back, thus saving taxpayers millions of dollars spent on support for the international abortion industry in spite of the fact that the vast majority of Americans – even those claiming to be “pro-choice” – are against funding abortion.

Instead, the “Big Three” focused almost entirely on the immigration issue and in a clearly divisive way that included plenty of coverage sympathetic to those newly at risk for deportation and striking fear into the hearts of the 11 million undocumented illegals living in America.

For example, ABC’s Jim Avila, on February 11 broadcast interpreted the order as being a “stern warning” to the undocumented living in the U.S. “most of them law-abiding and paying taxes and working, that they are no longer safe to stay here.”

This is in spite of the fact that the executive order made no such threats.

They devoted 48 minutes of coverage to the scandal surrounding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and 44 minutes (so far) to investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russia.

“Further highlighting the hostile tone of these newscasts, 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.”

And most of this coverage was positive, whereas similar protests by tea party enthusiasts in 2009 were dubbed “racist” and “hateful.”

“A new American president is always a big story, but TV news is obsessed with the Trump administration — and not in a good way,” the report observed.

Even though it will take time for all of us to adjust to the election of a non-politician to the Oval Office, and the unconventional way that the president can operate at times, the American public expects to be provided with facts – not opinion – on the nightly news.

How will this constant drum-beat of negativity affect the people’s voting habits? The results of the 2016 election already answered that question.

Apparently, the media has yet to learn that in spite of their efforts to shape public opinion, Americans really do know how to think for themselves.

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