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Thursday, May 10, 2018
Reminder: MRC's Tally of Trump's 'Negative' Media Coverage Is Bogus
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is at it again, as Rich Noyes writes:

The liberal media’s war against President Trump was as fierce as ever during the first four months of 2018, but the onslaught appears to be for naught: In the face of massive and hostile coverage from ABC, CBS and NBC, Trump’s overall job approval rating actually rose, from 37 percent in mid-December to roughly 43 percent at the end of April.

The Media Research Center studied all broadcast evening news coverage of the President from January 1 through April 30, and found 90 percent of the evaluative comments about Trump were negative — precisely the same hostile tone we documented in 2017.

But unlike last year, when the RealClearPolitics average depicted a slow but steady erosion in the President’s job approval numbers, the public has apparently warmed to Trump in 2018, even as the networks are as frosty as ever.

But as we've pointed out every time the MRC promotes this so-called study, it's utterly bogus and meaningless, and here's why:

  1. It focuses only on a tiny sliver of news -- the evening newscasts on the three networks -- and suggests it's indicative of all media.
  2. It pretends there was never any neutral coverage of Trump. Indeed, the study explicitly rejects neutral coverage -- even though that's arguable the bulk of news coverage -- dishonestly counting "only explicitly evaluative statements."
  3. It fails to take into account the stories themselves and whether negative coverage is deserved or admit that negative coverage is the most accurate way to cover a given story.
  4. It again fails to provide the raw data or the actual statements it evaluated so its work could be evaluated by others. If the MRC's work was genuine and rigorous, wouldn't it be happy to provide the data to back it up?

Noyes even manages to mislead about Trump's poll numbers. As FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver points out, the 43 percent approval that Noyes cites is close to Trump's ceiling; his approval rating has never ventured out of the range of 36 percent to 44 percent -- the narrowest range in the first 500 days of a presidency in the history of modern polling.

But then, providing an accurate record of media coverage of Trump is not the MRC's goal -- promoting a pro-Trump, anti-media agenda is. Which means that MRC chief Brent Bozell couldn't be prouder that Trump referenced his bogus "research" in a tweet.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT

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