Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented how the Media Research Center's potrayal of news coverage of President Trump as relentlessly negative is utterly bogus because it is so narrowly defined -- a specific set of statements on 3 news shows, as opposed to an analysis of all coverage on all news shows and channels -- that its only purpose is to provide Trump and Republicans a meaningless talking point.
The MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro inadvertently demonstrates just how meaningless that talking point is when he uses an Aug. 7 post to lash out at CNN anchor Don Lemon for purporttely misrepresenting it:
Speaking of being unable to say anything nice about someone; at the top of his show following the handoff, Lemon attacked a Media Research Center study that found 90 percent of broadcast network evening coverage of the President was negative.
“It always gets me when people say, ‘There's 90 percent. This study shows that 90 percent of the reports about this president are negative,’” he opined in a mocking voice. “But they don't talk about the things that come out of his mouth and the policies he proposes. And what he does and says to people.”
Lemon emphatically argued that reporting negatively was really the only way the media could cover the President. “How are we as media to report positively on something that’s negative,” he shouted. “If that is indeed true, then you need to counterbalance that and weight it against what comes out of this President's mouth and what he's doing.” Clearly, Lemon didn’t do his homework or else he would know exactly how we conduct our studies.
As MRC Research Director Rich Noyes explained in the study, “our analysis of ‘spin’ tracks only explicitly positive and negative statements from reporters and non-partisan sources; it excludes neutral statements as well as statements from partisans such as Trump praising himself or Democrats criticizing him.” It’s the evaluative statements from what’s supposed to be a neutral press that’s counted.
But "a narrow tracking of 'explicitly positive and negative statements' on just three TV shows that deliberately excludes the vast amount of neutral coverage" isn't how Fondacaro first described the study; he said it "found 90 percent of broadcast network evening coverage of the President was negative." It's only when a non-conservative pushes back against that bogus, overbroad talking point -- which, again, was crafted to be spread in the way Fondacaro first described it -- is he forced to concede how narrowly drawn it actually is.
And, as far as we know, nobody at the MRC has ever lectured Trump or any conservative for misleadingly extrapolating that talking point the way Fondacaro lectured Lemon. After all, Brent Bozell and Co. want that misrepresentation coming out of the mouths of conservatives -- but they don't want anyone to read the fine print.