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Wednesday, November 3, 2021
The Flip-Flop Continues: MRC Still Touting Low Biden Polls After Trashing Low Trump Polls
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center has abruptly decided to promote and trust polls showing President Biden not doing well in them after years of bashing polls showing Donald Trump not doing well as untrustworthy and even manufactured. The MRC hasn't stopped hypocritically hyping those bad Biden polls, proclaiming they demonstrate the imminent end of the Trump presidency. Nicholas Fondacaro huffed in a Sept. 22 post:

Just eight months into his presidency and American people have already had enough of Joe Biden, according to multiple national and state polls from around the country. The President was underwater practically everywhere but the CBS Evening News was the only broadcast network that found it newsworthy during their Wednesday newscasts as also highlighted how Biden was struggling to pass his expensive legislative agenda.

Instead of talking about Biden’s terrible poll numbers, ABC’s World News Tonighttalked about the weather. Meanwhile, NBC Nightly News talked with Al Gore and gushed about how accurate his climate change movie supposedly was and joked that a local lottery winner wasn’t a member of their studio crew.

Scott Whitlock complained on Sept. 29 that a news report didn't make a poll look sufficiently bad:

The Biden presidency continues to crumble and media outlets are doing their best to hide the collapse. ABC commissioned a poll on the Democrat’s job performance, but only allowed a scant 87 seconds to the terrible results on Wednesday. And while the bad news was plentiful in the survey, Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos and Terry Moran only picked out one part of the woeful results. 

Stephanopoulos brought up Afghanistan and noted that the botched withdrawal has “taken a toll on the President’s numbers.” Moran agreed: “Our most recent ABC News poll shows that 61 percent of the American people disapprove of his handling of Afghanistan, only 38 percent approve. Those numbers are down with Democrats and independents, of course, Republicans as well.”

Kyle Drennen served up a similar tone in a Oct. 7 post:

On Thursday, ABC’s Good Morning America completely censored a new Quinnipiac poll showing President Biden’s approval rating had plummeted to 38%. NBC’s Today show and CBS Mornings did manage to cover the bad news for the Democrat, but only offered seconds of air time each.  

“Democrats hoping to pass the massive spending plan by the end of October, with President Biden in need of a boost now,” correspondent Garrett Haake noted on NBC, before explaining: “A new poll showing his approval rating dropping to 38%, the lowest level of his presidency yet.” Those remarks only came to 12 seconds.


These terrible ratings across the board for Biden should be discussed and analyzed by journalists, along with reporting on the reasons for his surge in unpopularity. Instead, the broadcast networks are barely whispering the news (if mentioning it all), perhaps hoping viewers won’t notice. 

We don't recall anyone at athe MRC saying that Trump's continuously low approval ratings "should be discussed and analyzed by journalists." We believe they were opposed to that very idea.

Fondacaro was back the same day with a similar spin:

On Wednesday, Quinnipiac put out a brand new survey that revealed that President Biden had grown even more unpopular as issues that used to hold him up crumbled beneath his feet. But instead of telling their viewers of Biden’s unpopularity, as they would with former President Trump, the broadcast networks’ largely ignored them. Two of the networks dropped their coverage Thursday evening after mentioning it in passing that morning.

Tim Graham dutifully regurgitated all of this in his Oct. 8 podcast, while Whitlock boosted the narrative anew in an Oct. 20 post:

The Joe Biden presidency is collapsing and the networks don’t want you to know about it. Two just-released polls have found the Democrat at record lows. But between the evening newscasts on Tuesday and the morning shows on Wednesday, offered zero coverage of the very bad news for Biden. 

According to Quinnipiac, the President sits at 40 percent approval. It’s even worse for the Grinnell College poll, showing Biden at just 37 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval. Both are respected polling companies and included in the Real Clear Politics Average of polls. (The new numbers can be found here.) 

Again, you wouldn’t know that if you watched ABC, CBS or NBC.

The MRC didn't think Quinnipiac was a "respected" pollster when it attacked a 2019 poll showing five prospective Democrats ahead of Trump for the 2020 election; Fondacaro whined that it was "about a year and a half away from the 2020 general election and months away from the first Democratic primaries, meaning these polls have little predictive validity.

Whilock then used an Oct. 26 post to serve up a meaningless comparison:

The last three months have been nightmarish for Joe Biden’s presidency. In August, his popularity started to plummet, dropping precipitously so that, by late October, some polls had him dipping into the high 30s as Afghanistan, inflation and an inability to accomplish his domestic agenda have altered a once popular president’s fortunes. But in comparison to Donald Trump, ABC, CBS and NBC had almost double the number of mentions of bad polling for the Republican. 

MRC analysts looked at the morning and evening broadcast news programs from August 1, 2021 to October 25, 2021 for Biden vs. August 1, 2017 to October 25 2017 for Trump. While ABC, CBS and NBC mentioned Donald Trump’s unpopularity 37 times, they only noted the rapidly dropping numbers for Biden 19 times.

This despite the fact that Biden’s fall is, by far, the bigger news story of the two. In January of 2017, Trump started as an unpopular President, averaging around 44 percent, according to Real Clear Politics. His numbers largely stayed that way for four years. In January of 2021, Biden began as a popular President, beginning with a 55 percent popularity rating. By near the end of October, his average fell to just 42 percent.


The Biden presidency is cratering, but network journalists are still in denial, pretending that everything is okay. As the Democrat edges ever closer to constantly being in the 30s, perhaps reality will force ABC, CBS and NBC to stop protecting Biden and start informing the public. 

We don't recall Whitlock or anyone else at the MRC insiting that Trump's consistently low numbers meant that his presidency was "cratering."

Remember: After the 2020 presidential election, Graham ranted that pollsters "are damaging the legitimacy of our democracy, not helping it,' further declaring that election polls were "obviously rigged" and insisting that "It’s hard not to see intentional rigging, not some kind of accidental bias." But the polls suddenly have become accurate now that the show Biden underwater.

The MRC's sudden flip-flop on polls demonstrates who's doing the actual rigging here.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 PM EDT

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