Tags: Donald Trump | Joe Biden | Trump Impeachment | mrc study

MRC Study: Trump Impeachment Coverage 'More Hostile Than Normal'

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(Carolyn Kaster/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 12 November 2019 01:31 PM

Reports of President Donald Trump on the three evening broadcast news programs since the announcement of the House impeachment inquiry in September have been "even more hostile than normal" and "boosting" 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden, the Media Research Center said Tuesday.

"House Democrats' drive for impeachment is more likely aimed at creating a deluge of negative daily headlines hoping to cripple Trump going into next year's election," MRC said in its report.

"If that is indeed Democrats' goal, then the three broadcast networks are doing everything they can to help achieve this partisan objective."

MRC based its analysis on monitoring the evening broadcasts of ABC, CBS and NBC and beginning when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment investigation on Sept. 24, ending on Nov. 5.

The center said it counted "all explicitly evaluative statements about the president or his administration from either reporters, anchors or non-partisan sources such as experts or voters.

"Evaluations from partisan sources, as well as neutral statements, were not included," MRC said.

Overall, the center tallied 684 evaluative comments included the broadcasts, with 96% of the being negative, compared with only 4% being positive.

In addition, the network reports have been "all about impeachment," MRC said, crowding out "nearly all other news about the administration."

During the period, the center found that the network newscasts "churned out 398 minutes of coverage to the Ukraine scandal, or more than three-fifths of all administration news during this period," which totaled 645 minutes.

That was only slightly lower than the 438 minutes the newscasts spent during "the most hyper-intensive six weeks of the Russia 'collusion' scandal."

That began when President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey May 9, 2017, and ending that June 20.

The period also included Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel, on May 17, and Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8.

MRC's research also found that network impeachment news coverage was:

  • Heavily based on "secret leaks from anonymous sources." Out of 172 news reports, 59% relied on unnamed sources about the impeachment probe, slightly higher than a late-October check of coverage, which found 57% of the impeachment reports used secret sources.
  • Overwhelmingly negative on the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — though coverage of the U.S. mission to kill him was "mostly positive" — and "witheringly negative coverage" of Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.

Baghdadi's death received only 45 minutes on the news programs, with the troop withdrawal getting 121 minutes — and 98% of those reports were negative.

"Journalists routinely framed [the withdrawal] as 'abandoning' an ally [the Syrian Kurds] in the fight against ISIS," MRC said.

Further, 67% of the nine evaluative statements about President Trump's role in the Baghdadi raid were negative, focusing on his not briefing congressional leaders and his "belittling description" of Baghdadi's "last moments ['He died like a dog ... . He died like a coward ... .Whimpering, screaming and crying.']"

  • "Stingy" on Trump's economic success. The president's economic record received only 4 minutes, 6 seconds of airtime over the six weeks, less than 1% of all Trump administration news on the networks, which totaled 645 minutes.
  • "Meager" on the 2020 Democratic presidential race. The contest received only 110 minutes on the newscasts versus 312 minutes for the 2016 campaign.

However, 51 minutes of those reports were about former Vice President Biden; his son, Hunter, and Ukraine. That left only 59 minutes for non-impeachment news.

The next most-covered event of the Democratic candidates, the heart attack of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., last month, drew only 16 minutes of airtime.

  • Strongly positive toward Biden. Seventy-one percent of coverage of the former Delaware senator's campaign was positive, MRC reports.

Some journalists argued that "there is no evidence of any wrongdoing" about Ukraine, which ABC News chief White House correspondent Jon Karl reported on Sept. 24.

Other reporters traveled to Ukraine "to make the same point," the center said, noting that CBS News foreign correspondent Roxana Saberi asked a former deputy prosecutor, "Did you ever see any evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden?"

"Never, ever," the former Ukrainian official said.

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Reports of President Donald Trump on the three evening broadcast news programs since the announcement of the House impeachment inquiry in September have been "even more hostile than normal" and "boosting" 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden, . . .
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Tuesday, 12 November 2019 01:31 PM
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