If Captain Obvious were a political commentator, he would make the following statement: “The establishment news media is unfairly biased against President Donald Trump.” For conservatives, this is nothing new. Those on the right have long and loudly complained about the establishment media bias against Republicans while the major news outlets have continued to claim that they are fair in their reporting.
And now it seems Captain Obvious has some research to back up what anyone with common sense already knows. Surprisingly this information was printed in – of all places — The Washington Post. They actually reported that Media Tenor, an independent media research firm, revealed major news outlets had shown apparent bias in their reporting on the Trump administration. Shocking, I know.
In their study, the company analyzed three hundred seventy news stories on President Trump. These reports appeared on “NBC Nightly News, “CBS Evening News,” and Fox News “Special Report.” The study took place from January 20th and February 17th.
Media Tenor’s analysis found that 3% of the news reports on the Trump administration which were broadcast on NBC and CBS were positive. 43% were negative while 54% were considered neutral. Fox News’ “Special Report” was less negative. 25% of reports were negative while 12% were positive. The remaining 43% of stories were neutral.
Media Tenor’s report acknowledges that the news media is supposed to be a “monitor of government.” The function of the press is to report accurately on the actions of the government. However, they note that the negative news coverage of President Trump was abnormal:
Of course, the news media’s role as a monitor of government usually leads to at least some negative news. But the negative coverage of Trump seems unusual. Our previous research in “The Global President” found that President Barack Obama received much less negative coverage than Trump has received at the start of their respective presidencies.
Former President Barack Obama received far less negative coverage by the press. Media Tenor attempted to identify reasons for the disproportionately negative coverage of the Trump administration:
One reason may be Trump’s own attitude toward the media. Trump has disparaged the media as “the opposition party” and an “enemy of the American people,” with the exception of outlets like Breitbart and Fox News. This puts journalists in a difficult position. If they challenge Trump at every turn, they may appear to be the opposition he claims they are. But if they conduct business as usual, this could simply let Trump be Trump at their expense.
It is easy to state that President Trump’s attacks on the media are the reason for the unfair coverage. But it must be noted; President Trump did not start this fight. The establishment media did.
The members of the Fourth Estate regularly demonstrate bias against Republican presidents and politicians. This is the reason Brent Bozell started the Media Research Center. His watchdog organization is dedicated to exposing leftist bias in the news. On their website, they state:
MRC’s sole mission is to expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left: the national news media. This makes the MRC’s work unique within the conservative movement.
The reality is that President Trump’s attacks on the media were the result of the nature of their coverage of his campaign and presidency. In the past, Republicans have taken the unfair criticism without responding.
Of course, there have been rare exceptions. During the 2012 primaries, Newt Gingrich consistently took the media to task for their biased reporting. Gingrich was on to something. Americans were growing weary of the establishment media fawning adoration of former President Barack Obama and their egregious criticisms of Republicans.
Instead of ignoring the attacks, President Trump has chosen to hit back. His willingness to call out on biased reporting is perhaps one of the traits conservatives like most about the president.
The solution to the problem is simple: the establishment media needs to cover the White House in a more balanced manner. Instead of using their platform to influence our thinking, they need to give us the facts. If the media is not willing to cover the administration without bias, they will continue to descend into irrelevancy.
And that is precisely what’s happening. The American people are starting to see through the media’s reporting. According to The Hill:
A majority of Americans believe news organizations are too critical of President Trump, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday.
Fifty-one percent of Americans said the media is too critical of Trump, while 41 percent think news organizations have been fair and objective.
The establishment media’s approach to covering the Trump administration is not hurting President Trump as much as it is damaging themselves. Americans want fair and accurate reporting. If the old-guard media wants to be taken seriously, they must start reporting, and stop propagandizing.
Don’t hold your breath.