The Media Research Center analyzed every episode of “NBC Nightly News,” ABC’s “World News Tonight” and CBS’ “Evening News” from July 29 through October 20 and looked at how Trump and Biden were covered.
“It’s obvious that the networks are pouring their energy into confronting and criticizing the President, not equally covering both campaigns,” MRC research director Rich Noyes wrote.
The study found that Trump received 839 minutes of coverage with a whopping 92.4 percent of them being negative, while only 269 total minutes of airtime were devoted to Biden and only 34 percent were considered negative.
“If Trump’s coverage seems nightmarishly negative, Biden’s media profile might be a dream-come-true for a presidential nominee, especially one favored in the polls. Out of 91 evaluative comments, Biden benefited from 60 positive statements, vs. only 31 that were negative, adding up to a sunny 66 percent positive good press score,” Noyes wrote.
Going back further, the MRC found that from Inauguration Day in 2017 through October 20, 2020, the same three newscasts have been negative when referring to Trump 90.5 percent of the time.
“While the topics have shifted from the Russia-collusion investigation to Ukraine and impeachment to this year’s coronavirus pandemic, the networks’ hostility has been incredibly consistent,” Noyes wrote.
The MRC also examined how Trump and then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton were treated over the same time period in 2016.
“Trump has been bludgeoned with 32 percent more negative comments …while Biden has enjoyed 65 percent fewer negative comments than Hillary Clinton faced in 2016,” Noyes wrote. “Trump’s coverage during these same weeks in 2016 was 91 percent negative, compared to 92 percent this year, while Biden’s overall press score was substantially more positive than Clinton’s.”
Evaluations from partisan sources and neutral statements were not included in the totals, according to Noyes.
“Four years ago, the Big Three broadcast evening newscasts tried to destroy Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign with historically negative press coverage. This year, those newscasts are doubling down, with coverage that is even more hostile to the Republican,” he wrote.