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Tuesday, February 2, 2016
The MRC's Deliberately Incomplete Trump-Coverage Analysis
Topic: Media Research Center

Rich Noyes trumpets in a Feb. 1 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check":

For months, one of GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s major advantages has been the establishment media’s decision to cover his candidacy to the near-exclusion of his Republican competitors. A new analysis by the Media Research Center finds Trump continued to receive the vast majority of TV news coverage throughout the month of January, leading up to tonight’s crucial Iowa caucuses.

Actually, Noyes' analysis is deliberately incomplete -- and, thus meaningless. His definiton of "TV news" is very tiny -- just "the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts." He has apparently forgotten there are three major and several minor cable news channels that also qualify as "TV news."

Of course, Noyes' job is a lot easier if all he has to do is monitor three half-hour network newscasts instead of the approximately 18 hours of original coverage cable news networks typically generate per day. But there seems to be more than lazineess going on here.

The MRC has long been buddies with Fox News -- Brent Bozell and his minions make regular appearances on it and sister channel Fox Business, almost always in solo interviews, not panels where someone from a different ideological viewpoint might challenge their opinions -- and it regularly plays apologist for acts by Fox News that would receive vicious condemnation were they conducted by a channel with which the MRC is not ideologically aligned.

The MRC's historic exclusion of cable news channels may stem from a simple refusal to hold Fox News to its own standards. And in this particular case, there's a goldmine of evidence to support denouncing Fox News as a promoter of Trump.

As Media Matters points out, Fox News loves Trump -- for instance, he spent a total of 24 hours on Fox from May 2015, whenhe announced his candidacy, thorugh the end of 2015, which added up to about $30 million of free airtime for Trump. Fox is so dependent on Trump, in fact, that when Trump pulled out of last week's Fox-hosted GOP debate, Fox host Bill O'Reilly devoted much of an interview with Trump to begging him to reconsider.

But you won't see the MRC pointing this out, and you won't see Bozell aggressively calling Fox News out for its fealty to Trump -- he wants to keep that weekly "Hannity" segment, after all. The closest he got was an appearance last week on Fox Business, in which Bozell meekly averred that Fox, "with all due respect, is slightly responsible" for the Trump frenzy "because I think it's catered to this man."

Only "slightly responsible"? That's what happens when he refuses to let his employees do actual media research. He knows what side of his media-appearance bread is buttered, after all, and he's not going to jeopardize things by pushing the issue any farther than that.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EST

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