According to a new survey of Trump’s liberal coverage on the evening news, the president’s enemies in the mainstream media are still every bit as bloodthirsty as they were the day he announced his candidacy. The Media Research Center found that between January 1 and April 30, a full 90% of “evaluative comments” about the president were negative, which is in line with the coverage from last year. In other words, nothing has changed: ABC, NBC, and CBS still think it’s their job to rip this administration to shreds on their nightly telecasts.
Ah, but as NewsBusters points out, one thing has changed: President Trump’s approval numbers.
“In the face of massive and hostile coverage from ABC, CBS and NBC, Trump’s overall job approval rating actually rose, from 37 percent in mid-December to roughly 43 percent at the end of April,” wrote Rich Noyes. “Unlike last year, when the RealClearPolitics average depicted a slow but steady erosion in the President’s job approval numbers, the public has apparently warmed to Trump in 2018, even as the networks are as frosty as ever.”
The MRC survey dug deeper into the evening news broadcasts to find that Trump coverage accounted for approximately 1/3 of all airtime for the first four months of the year. Of this time, 39% was used to focus on scandals and controversies, 45% was spent on policy issues, and the remaining time was devoted to stories surrounding other Trump administration officials like Scott Pruitt and Mike Pompeo.
To make sure their tabulations were fair and accurate, MRC looked only at specific opinions offered by journalists/anchors working for the networks and not at pundits or politicians who appeared on the shows to offer their opinions. They then tallied these remarks as either negative or positive, putting aside any comments that were neutral.
They found that the networks spent most of their Trump time talking about the Russia investigation – this accounted for almost one-fifth of all Trump coverage. On this topic and other personal Trump controversies (Stormy Daniels), MRC found that the networks were almost entirely negative. “Network coverage of those topics, plus a host of other smaller controversies involving the President, was almost entirely negative: of the 598 statements we tallied about Trump’s personal controversies or scandals, virtually all of them (579, or 97%) were negative.”
In fact, the only time the coverage ever gets out of the deeply negative trench is when the networks turn to Trump’s handling of the economy (if you take out his efforts on trade). MRC found that coverage of Trump’s economic agenda, including job growth, deregulation, and infrastructure was 73% positive.
Unfortunately, that only made up 51 minutes of combined airtime.