TV News Spent 2017 Aiming ‘Incessantly Hostile’ Coverage at Trump, Study Shows

Media Research Center found that airtime from ABC, CBS and NBC was 90 percent negative toward the president in Year One

Media Research Center (MRC) officials found that ABC, CBS and NBC offered President Donald Trump “incessantly hostile” news coverage throughout his first year in office — and only afforded the chief executive positive coverage 10 percent of the time, according to a study released Tuesday.

The three networks’ evening coverage of Trump in 2017 was 90 percent negative — which MRC noted is unusual for a president to receive during his “honeymoon year.” Roughly two-fifths of the coverage focused on the various controversies facing the president, such as the ongoing probe into Russian collusion, instead of the administration’s actual policies.

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“The first year of the Trump administration was as turbulent for the news media as it was for politics, with many journalists dropping any pretense of professionalism to become strident opponents of the president,” MRC noted.

“What seems to be happening is that many in the media, including the broadcast networks, have chosen to morph into anti-Trump activists,” MRC continued. “As a result, they provide massive attention to stories that they think make him look bad, give little airtime to more positive aspects of his administration, and punish him with massively negative spin.”

The networks spent approximately one out of every three minutes discussing the Trump presidency, with 3,430 stories totaling more than 99 hours. Of the 5,443 “evaluative statements” reporters, anchors, or nonpartisan sources uttered to describe the president and his administration, 5,266 were negative while just 617 were positive. MRC said these statistics represented “an unparalleled level of media hostility for a president in his first year in office.”

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Forty-three percent of the ABC, CBS and NBC news coverage of the Trump administration focused on controversies. Coverage of the Russia probe was the most popular controversy aired on the networks, with 1,234 minutes of coverage. Trump’s controversial response to the deadly race-fueled rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was afforded 104 minutes of coverage.

Related: Study Finds 90 Percent of ABC, CBS, NBC Trump Coverage Is Negative

MRC suggested that the media’s high levels of negative Trump coverage helped to polarize an already divided nation even further, with a Gallup poll from September showing that record numbers of Democrats say they have “trust and confidence” in the media. Meanwhile, roughly 76 percent of GOP voters think the media “invent stories about Trump and his administration,” according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll from October.

After Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” reported on MRC’s 2017 study Tuesday, Trump took to Twitter to protest the “contrived” coverage.

“‘90% of Trump 2017 news coverage was negative’ — and much of it [email protected],” the president tweeted.

Trump also tweeted, “Do you notice the Fake News Mainstream Media never likes covering the great and record setting economic news, but rather talks about anything negative or that can be turned into the negative. The Russian Collusion Hoax is dead, except as it pertains to the Dems. Public gets it!”

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Donald Trump Rally [1], [2], CC BY 2.0, by Michael Candelori)

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