On Friday morning’s Varney & Co program on Fox Business, host Stuart Varney passed along the Rich Noyes study numbers that the network evening news shows blamed the Republicans or conservatives in 41 news stories, but blamed Obama and the Democrats in zero stories. (There were 17 stories that blamed both sides.)
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared to describe how the MRC study exposed how the networks obsessed on blame, and ignored the actual budget and deficit numbers in favor of sob stories about the ruined Christmases of bureaucrats (Video and transcript below. MP3 audio here.):
TIM GRAHAM: This is what is wrong with news coverage – is they were obsessed with blaming people. They weren’t – Do you know what they don't use when they do the stories? They don't use words like “trillion.” They don't use words like “deficit.” So you have no actual budgetary context for what these people are talking about.
So basically what you had was, yes, Republicans are shutting down the government, and then what you had was lots of sob stories about how bureaucrats were not going to be able to have a Christmas. Like Day Three! You know, we have snowstorms in Washington that shut down people for a week, and people don't say “I wonder how we will feed our family.”
STUART VARNEY: So they didn’t focus on the financial aspect of this, how much money the president wants borrow and spend. That wasn't part of it at all. It was just “You shut the government down, you rotten Republicans. You did it and you are just terrible.” I mean, I don't watch ‘em, can’t watch ‘em. But that was the attitude?
GRAHAM: The attitude is yes, that everything proceeds nicely under Obama. And, you know, even in the midst of this complete mess at healthcare.Gov network reporters would actually let the president say in a press conference that raising the debt ceiling doesn't raise the debt; and they’re still calling Obamacare -- this is the lingo they use – “the president's signature achievement.” You know, it’s either too premature for that or it is a laugh line, but they use it with other seriousness.
Dylan Stableford at Yahoo News also reported on the MRC study numbers, then attempted to suggest they only mirror reality: "But those numbers mirror polls conducted before and during the shutdown, which found most Americans blamed the GOP for the shutdown. In one, 62 percent of respondents blamed Republicans for the shutdown, while less than half blamed Obama or the Democrats in Congress."