Joe Biden Has Received Significantly More Positive Coverage Than Donald Trump, Study Says

Donald Trump and Joe Biden at a debate.
Shutterstock | Stratos Brilakis
US Politics

A new study from MRC News Busters found that President Joe Biden has received significantly more positive news coverage than his predecessor, Donald Trump.

The study found that between January 20 and April 9, 2021, Biden received 59 percent positive news coverage. Conversely, Trump received 89 percent negative news coverage during the same period. The study examined all evening news coverage from ABC, CBC, and NBC.

The study also noted that the positive coverage Biden has received thus far is similar to the press treatment he faced during the presidential primary.

Biden's Coverage Focuses On Three Primary Topics

According to the study, coverage of Biden focuses on three primary topics: his $1.9 trillion spending bill, his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and the influx of migrants at the border.

MRC News Busters noted that 79 percent of the statements on Biden's handling of the pandemic were positive, and 86 percent of remarks on the relief bill were positive. 

Elsewhere, remarks on the Biden administration's performance were not as rosy. Notably, just 18 percent of statements on the migrant crisis were positive.

Most Criticism Of Biden Is From The Far-Left

Joe Biden speaks at an event.
Gettyimages | Chip Somodevilla

The MRC News Busters report found that the majority of criticism leveled at Biden came from the far-left.

"That these networks incorporated criticism of a liberal President into their coverage doesn’t mean they were aiming for ideological balance," the outlet argued.

"In fact, one out of six criticisms that viewers heard about President Biden (18 out of 108) involved reporters actually hitting him from the far-left."

The publication pointed to criticism of Biden for his opposition to forgiving $50,000 of student debt and his slow response to gun violence.

Majority Of Biden Coverage Focuses On Policy Issues 

The study found that the majority of news coverage focused on Biden's administration sticks to policy issues — a break from the pattern during Trump's early months in the White House.

"Roughly 90% of network news coverage of the Biden administration (650 minutes out of 726) was spent on policy issues; that compares to just 45% of Trump administration coverage during those early weeks."

MRC News Busters underlined that Trump's media coverage was significantly focused on the story of alleged Russian collusion — even before Robert Mueller began his special counsel investigation.

Biden's Positive Media Coverage Has Been Spotlighted Before

The mainstream media's favorable approach to Biden was previously spotlighted during the primary. Notably, his opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, received significantly less positive coverage than the former vice president. 

According to In These Times, Sanders received three times as much negative media coverage from CNN after his big primary victory in Nevada as Biden did after his win in South Carolina.

"Given its down-the-middle reputation, CNN can be a useful proxy for broader media coverage," the outlet noted.

The publication contended that the 24-hour window after a primary is a "critical time for setting a public narrative."