The real test for fair and balanced coverage isn’t the amount of airtime, but the spin reporters employ in reaction to the speeches and events at each convention. Using media coverage of last week’s Republican convention as a template, here are five ways the media can prove they’re not biased by treating the Democrats in a similar fashion.
Rich Noyes is currently Research Director at the Media Research Center where he is co-editor of Notable Quotables, MRC’s bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, and the Media Reality Check, a regular analysis of how major news stories are distorted or ignored.
Noyes has authored or co-authored many of MRC’s authoritative Special Reports, including: The Censorship Election: How the Broadcast Networks Buried the Bad News That Threatened Barack Obama’s Quest for a Second Term; TV’s Tea Party Travesty: How ABC, CBS and NBC Have Dismissed and Disparaged the Tea Party Movement; Cheerleaders for the Revolution: Network Coverage of Barack Obama’s First 100 Days; Better Off Red? Twenty Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Recalling the Liberal Media’s Blindness to the Evils of Communism; and Megaphone for a Dictator: CNN’s Coverage of Fidel Castro's Cuba, 1997-2002.
An expert with nearly 30 years of experience studying the news media’s impact on U.S. politics, Noyes has discussed the issue of liberal bias on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and dozens of radio talk shows, and has authored articles which have appeared in the Journal of Political Science, New York Post, Investor’s Business Daily, Roll Call and Human Events.
Even before Indiana Governor Mike Pence was selected as the GOP vice presidential candidate, all three broadcast networks instructed viewers that he was a "staunch conservative" and "social conservative" who was "popular with the Tea Party." But those same networks are now advertising Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's choice to be the Democrats' vice presidential candidate, as a "centrist" and "moderate," even though Kaine is as far to the left as Pence is to the right.
It’s been a day and a half since the establishment liberal media sank their jaws into the Melania Trump “plagiarism” story, and they are showing few signs of letting go, with heavy coverage on the broadcast networks’ Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning news shows. Eight years ago, however, when a similar flap threatened then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the broadcast networks generated much less coverage — just 14 minutes of airtime, or barely one-fourth what they’ve churned out this week.
The morning after the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention, all six broadcast and cable network morning news shows pounced on the fact that Melania Trump's much-touted speech shared similar phrasing with Michelle Obama's 2008 speech to that year's Democratic convention. The flap over Mrs. Trump's speech swamped all other convention topics, especially on cable.
Here's a safe prediction about this week's Republican National Convention: TV reporters will paint the GOP as too conservative, hostile to women, anathema to blacks, and an all-around turn-off to voters. And that's not just because the ever-controversial Donald Trump is set to be nominated as the party's presidential candidate. Going back to the 1988 convention, the MRC has documented how reporters act like Democratic surrogates, lecturing Republican officials and delegates about how they are too far to the right and intolerant.
Today, the eighth and final installment of NewsBusters’ special report, “Hillary Clinton’s Media Fan Club,” documenting how the media have helped fuel Clinton’s political campaign by showering her with fawning news coverage, even as they discredit her critics. Today, we document how the entertainment media is also firmly on Hillary’s side, and have also championed her presidential aspirations for years.
All three broadcasts evening newscasts on Thursday previewed Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. While all three networks employed religious and/or ideological tags to describe Pence, there were no references to the liberalism of potential Democratic VP candidates like Virginia's Tim Kaine — only how he’s “fluent” in Spanish and how Hillary Clinton “loved it.”
Today, the seventh (and next-to-last) installment of NewsBusters’ special report, “Hillary Clinton’s Media Fan Club,” documenting how the media have helped fuel Clinton’s political campaign by showering her with fawning news coverage, from NBC’s Willie Geist touting, “Can you think of a more qualified human being,” to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews thrilled by the idea of Hillary becoming “a truly great President,” and ex-ABC News anchor Carole Simpson baffled by the non-believers: “I don’t know why women don’t think Hillary Clinton ought to be the first female President.”
Today, Part Six of the eight-part NewsBusters’ special report, “Hillary Clinton’s Media Fan Club,” documenting how the media have helped fuel Clinton’s political campaign by showering her with fawning news coverage, even as they discredit her critics. This installment provides examples of journalists trying to wave away her many scandals — from Whitewater in the 1990s to current Benghazi and the e-mail scandals — by casting her as a victim, or suggesting she’s too valuable to hold accountable, or that the scandals are simply the fevered exaggeration of her partisan opponents.
NewsBusters is continuing to document the news media’s role in enabling Hillary Clinton’s political career, showing how reporters showered were with positive news coverage while they savaged her opponents. Today, ten examples representing the softball treatment Hillary has received in TV interviews over the years.
NewsBusters is continuing to document the news media’s role in enabling Hillary Clinton’s political career, showing how reporters showered were with positive news coverage while they savaged her opponents. Today, a collection of quotes showing reporters in awe over Hillary’s “dazzling” political mastery.”
Over the next two weeks, NewsBusters will be documenting the media’s role in fueling Hillary Clinton’s political career by showering her with adoring press coverage while smearing her critics as sinister and sexist. Today, examples of reporters cheerfully echoing Hillary’s attempt to blame all of her and her husband’s scandals on a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” as opposed to the Clintons’ own impoverished ethics.
Part Two of NewsBusters' Special Report: Hillary Clinton's Media Fan Club. When Hillary faced tough questions or scrutiny over her scandals, members of her media fan club cast her critics as motivated by sexism and antagonism to her feminist achievements.
The liberal media establishment has spent the past 25 years celebrating Clinton as an “icon of American woman-hood,” while fiercely attacking those who would challenge her ethics. Far from impeding Hillary Clinton’s career with hostile coverage, the establishment media have enabled her political rise with what amounts to a 25-year-long infomercial on her behalf: admiring testimonials about her greatness, and nasty slams against her critics.
The June 27 edition of Notable Quotables: ABC showcases a pro-amnesty protest slogan (“Don't Deport My Mom”) to frame their coverage of the Supreme Court's blocking of Obama's executive orders, while reporters exploit the ISIS massacre in Orlando to demand more federal gun control. “What will it take to move the needle when it comes to gun control?” CBS's Gayle King pleaded.
Plus: The New York Times blames hateful GOP rhetoric, not radical Islamic ideology, for the Orlando attack; a columnist says Trump's temporary ban on Muslims is akin to how Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin “killed millions of his own citizens,” and ex-CNN star Larry King says he’s “very independent,” but his voting record doesn't seem to support it.
The point of a publicity stunt is to reap publicity, of course, and the daylong gimmick of House Democrats seizing the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for a sit-in was generously rewarded with hours of free airtime on CNN and MSNBC — but much less on the Fox News Channel. Looking at cable news coverage from noon to midnight on Wednesday, MSNBC was by far the most excited by the Democratic protest, giving it a total of 4 hours, 27 minutes of airtime. CNN followed with 2 hours, 32 minutes of coverage, while Fox News provided a grand total of 14 minutes of coverage through midnight.
Voters who have relied on the network evening newscasts for information about the 2016 presidential candidates saw four times more airtime devoted to controversies involving presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump than to the scandals surrounding his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. During the recently concluded primary season (January 1 to June 7), the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts conveyed 432 minutes of coverage of Trump's controversies, vs. 105 minutes of airtime for Clinton's scandals.
The June 13 issue of Notable Quotables: journalists erupt with glee after Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to clinch the Democratic nomination, as one New York Times reporter tells Bernie Sanders that it's "sexist" for him to "get in the way of what could be the first female president." Meanwhile, some journalists blame Trump for violent riots that erupted in California, while lefty writers actually recommend violence as a way to thwart Trump.
A Media Research Center analysis of all 950 ABC, CBS and NBC weekday and weekend evening news stories about the 2016 presidential campaign from January 1 to June 7 finds the broadcast networks organized their coverage to ensure that Clinton’s historic candidacy was almost entirely reported by women correspondents, while the GOP race was largely reported by male correspondents.
This issue: Journalists laugh about the supposed death of the Republican Party, now that Donald Trump will be the presidential nominee, while the New York Times wishes Jon Stewart were still on TV to bash the GOP during this year's campaign. Plus, the media insist Hillary Clinton is honest, and her scandals are nothing more than “garbage” and “crud,” while Newsweek tweets: “Has there been any President cooler than Obama?”