In the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the big three cable TV networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) unleashed a barrage of negative attacks on the president. According to the Media Research Center (MRC), the legacy media networks hammered Trump with 89 percent negative coverage. Yet in the first few months of Joe Biden’s presidency, the coverage flipped.
ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts have showered Biden with 59 percent positive coverage, according to an MRC analysis published Monday. MRC analyzed the legacy networks’ 726 minutes of Biden coverage from January 20 through April 9, a paltry amount of the 1,900 minutes the networks spent slamming Trump and his team during the same time period in 2017.
In 2017, the network newscasts included a massive number of evaluative comments — 1,687, which were 89 percent negative and 11 percent positive — about the Trump administration. This year, the networks only had 264 evaluative statements, out of which 156 (59 percent) offered praise and support for the president.
“These much lower numbers signify a news media that’s not trying to drown out the White House with its own aggressive criticism, as was their standard practice in 2017,” MRC reported.
The network coverage has focused on Biden’s handling of the COVID-19 response, his $1.9 trillion spending bill Democrats rammed through in March, and the crisis at the southern border.
Of the 39 evaluative statements on COVID-19, the networks praised Biden and his team in 31 of them, 79 percent. Out of the 67 evaluative statements on the so-called COVID-19 relief bill, 59 of them (86 percent) proved positive. The networks only spent 29 seconds of airtime mentioning the exploding federal deficit and debt.
Only on the border crisis (and on gun control) did the legacy media networks attack Biden. Out of 56 evaluative statements on the border crisis, only 10 (18 percent) proved positive, with 82 percent of the comments slamming Biden’s lack of performance on the issue. Even so, the big three networks managed to bash Trump in 2017 worse than they based Biden in 2021. A whopping 93 percent of the networks’ coverage on the border in 2017 slammed Trump, even though the border crisis under Biden is far worse.
While the legacy media networks incorporated criticism of Biden into their coverage, that did not present a shift toward balance or a conservative perspective. One out of six criticisms the networks aired about Biden (18 out of 108) involved reporters hitting him from the Left, advocating for more gun control or for student debt forgiveness, among other things.
Tellingly, the legacy media networks focused only 45 percent on policy in 2017, focusing on other issues like the Russia collusion narrative and Trump’s controversial comments. This year, the networks dedicated about 90 percent of Biden administration coverage to policy issues.
ABC, CBS, and NBC spent more than nine minutes discussing the size of Trump’s Inauguration Day crowd, more than 19 minutes on Trump’s claim that Hillary Clinton benefitted from illegal votes in the 2016 election, and 98 minutes of coverage discussing Trump’s claim that Obama officials had wiretapped Trump Tower.
By contrast, the networks essentially ignored President Biden’s controversial statements. The networks devoted a mere 83 seconds to his “Neanderthal thinking” insult against Republicans, 45 seconds to his encouragement of Major League Baseball to economically punish Georgia, and 39 seconds to his absurd claim that Georgia’s new election integrity law was like “Jim Crow.”
Last week, Project Veritas released sting videos in which CNN Technical Director Charlie Chester confessed that CNN “got Trump out.” He said, “I am 100% going to say it, and I 100% believe that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out.” He even confessed that CNN ran at least one story that amounted to “propaganda” in this effort.
Many factors contributed to Biden’s election victory in 2020, perhaps most notably the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which directed cash to deep-blue urban areas, driving up turnout. Yet a Media Research Center survey found that the legacy media’s suppression of eight key news stories — most notably the Hunter Biden laptop documents that implicate Joe Biden in his son’s notorious foreign business deals — may have made the crucial difference.
In a very real sense, Chester may be correct about CNN’s impact on the 2020 election, and that’s terrifying. A judge recently warned that leftist media bias is a threat to democracy. Perhaps he understated his case.
Now that Biden is president, the legacy media seems intent on defending him — or pushing the already radical Biden even further to the Left.