President Trump has often railed against the “fake news” media for undermining his administration with unrelenting negative coverage including this morning’s dust-up involving U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
A former Democrat and independent who successfully ran as a first-time candidate for the nation’s highest office as a Republican, Trump upended the establishments of both political parties and confounded the predictions of the poll-driven New York- and Washington-centric media industry in the process.
Incoming presidents usually receive a so-called honeymoon during their first few months in office, but a new study reveals that it’s completely different this time around, as NBC News reported.
“The Pew Research Center, in a content analysis of the early days of the Trump presidency, found that 62 percent of the coverage was negative and only 5 percent was positive. In contrast, President Barack Obama’s coverage in early 2009 was 42 percent positive and 20 percent negative, the study said.”
The findings were derived from sifting through 3,000-plus news stories out of the gate from a total of 24 media outlets that included broadcast and cable networks as well as news websites and print newspapers. The Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center describes itself as a nonpartisan “fact tank.”
According to the Pew study titled “Covering President Trump in a Polarized Media Environment,” the most common media topics covered in order were the president’s political skills (i.e., style over substance), immigration, presidential appointments/nominations, U.S.-Russia relations, and healthcare. As expected, left-leaning outlets were more negative toward the POTUS than their right-leaning counterparts. Most stories from the latter were considered neutral.
“Overall, journalists structured their narratives far more around President Trump’s leadership and character than his policy agenda (74% vs. 26%, respectively). What’s more, only about one-in-ten stories (11%) delivered an overall positive assessment of the administration’s words or actions. Four times as many (44%) offered a negative assessment, while the remaining 45% were neither positive nor negative.”
Reacting to the Pew report, the Washington Times noted that “The wide ranging study affirmed that politics and ideology shape the content and tone of coverage.”
“The results appear to support Trump’s frequent attacks against the media for being biased against him and his administration. The attacks began during his campaign and continued into his presidency,” the Washington Free Beacon added about the Pew Research Center data.
Earlier this year, a report from Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy similarly suggested that media coverage in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency was overwhelmingly negative on all issues based on an evaluation of CBS, CNN, NBC, Fox News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and three European news outlets.
On CBS, CNN, and NBC, 93 percent of the coverage of the Trump administration was negative, the report detailed. The Times and the Post clocked in at 87 percent and 83 percent negative, respectively, with the WSJ publishing 70 percent negative stories. Contrary to popular perceptions, 52 percent of the Fox News coverage was also negative.
Do you think that the coverage of the Trump administration by the news media has been fair and appropriate or has it been disproportionately negative?
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]