As the pandemic grinds on, the Big Three broadcast evening newscasts are among the highest rated programs on television today — and that means millions of viewers are witnessing the most biased presidential campaign coverage in modern media history.
I’ve been studying the news media and elections for more than 35 years. Trust me — there’s never been anything like it.
A new MRC analysis of all evening news coverage of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in June and July found these networks chose to aim most of their attention and nearly all of their negative coverage on Trump, so Biden escaped any scrutiny of his left-wing policy positions, past job performance or character.
From June 1 through July 31, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts focused 512 minutes of airtime on the President, or nine times more than the 58 minutes allotted to Biden. (This excludes coverage of the Trump administration in general when not associated with the President himself.) This is an even wider gap than the spring, when Trump received seven times more coverage than Biden (523 minutes vs. 75 minutes).
The extra airtime devoted to Trump consisted almost entirely of anchors and reporters criticizing the President. During these two months, our analysts documented 668 evaluative statements about the President, 95 percent of which (634) were negative, vs. a mere five percent (34) that were positive. Using the same methodology (fully described at the end of this article), we found very few evaluative statements about Joe Biden — just a dozen, two-thirds of which (67%) were positive.
Do the math, and viewers heard 150 TIMES more negative comments about Trump than Biden. That’s not news reporting — that’s a negative advertising campaign in action.