Liberals are beginning to swagger around like the 2020 election is already over. Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post exclaimed the Trump re-election campaign is “beginning to look like the Titanic.” Joe Biden should be preparing his inauguration remarks.
One reason for this arrogance is the absolutely punishing media coverage of Trump. The coronavirus pandemic did what some might think was impossible – make Trump coverage even more negative. Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center found from March 4 (when Joe Biden basically wrapped up the Democratic nomination) through May 31, Trump’s coverage on the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS and NBC was 94 percent negative. In May, it was 99.5 percent negative, an all-time low.
There were 474 evaluative comments about President Trump during this period , and 445 were negative. By contrast, there were only 85 evaluations of Biden in the same time frame, and 51 were negative (61 percent). They were nine times more negative on Trump, just by the numbers.
This sounds a lot like the warp and woof of the 2016 campaign coverage, where Trump drew the lion’s share of media attention, and it was overwhelmingly negative, while Hillary Clinton seemed like an afterthought. Even in the last three months of the campaign, Trump was evaluated four times as much as Hillary.
The Democrats thought that made her a shoo-in. It didn’t turn out that way.
Here’s the problem for them. Anyone who’s spent time with these networks knows they have an uncontrollable urge to destroy Trump politically. They can’t possibly be considered “referees” of our campaigns. One reason they’ve been so angry about the fate of “democracy” is they can’t stand it when voters ignore their incessant advice.
Jonah Goldberg recently wrote a column arguing Trump must think his voters are idiots to proclaim he was running against the media, instead of against Biden. Obviously, the media aren’t on the ballot. But Biden’s attacks on the president cannot possibly match the media in their 24/7 aggression and firepower. They are not some irrelevant bystander, especially when Biden is campaigning from a cold computer screen.
Their protective coverage of Lovable Grandpa Joe is just as transparent. ABC, CBS, and NBC could barely muster a minute each for Biden telling black voters that if they couldn’t decide to vote for him, “then you ain’t black.” NBC gave it a few seconds. ABC and CBS both rushed to “balance” the story with negative news for Trump. CBS showed its own poll that Biden was leading among black voters, 90 percent to three.
When it broke that Biden, in his last days as vice president, joined a list of other Obama officials requesting the “unmasking” of incoming Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn -- leading to a smear on this general as some sort of Russian pawn -- it drew a mere 62 seconds of coverage: 55 seconds on ABC, seven seconds on CBS, and nothing on NBC. Voters who rely on these cynics for “news” wouldn’t even understand the Big Picture: that Team Obama improperly spied on the Trump campaign and then were still trying to ruin Trump’s presidency during the transition.
Biden’s TV interviews are littered with please-trash-Trump questions, like this beaut from Brian Williams: “What is President Trump’s level of culpability, what’s his level of responsibility, say, toward the illness and fatalities we’re witnessing every few minutes these days?”
That sums up the tone of the latest evening news: How many Americans has Trump killed? They hope their nightly onslaughts demoralize Trump voters and energize Biden backers. But to many Americans, this is not journalism. It’s badly disguised campaign advertising.