- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A new, long-term study by the Media Research Center underscores Donald Trump’s claims that the press is against him.

Analysts for the conservative watchdog evaluated evening news coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC during a 12-week period from July through mid-October to find that 91 percent of the stories about Mr. Trump were negative.

“Even when they were critical of Hillary Clinton — for concealing her pneumonia, for example, or mischaracterizing the FBI investigation of her email server — network reporters always maintained a respectful tone in their coverage,” said Rich Noyes, who led the research. “This was not the case with Trump, who was slammed as embodying ‘the politics of fear,’ or a ‘dangerous’ and ‘vulgar’ ‘misogynistic bully’ who had insulted vast swaths of the American electorate.”

The networks devoted 1,191 minutes to the presidential campaign during the study period, or nearly 29 percent of all news coverage. Mr. Trump was the subject of 785 minutes of the total, Mrs. Clinton 478 minutes. Mr. Noyes summed it up as “12 weeks of Trump-bashing.”

He found that for Mr. Trump, the negative stories centered most heavily on the theme of “sexist rhetoric and mistreatment of women,” followed by questions about the nominee’s tax returns, immigration policy, and his claims the election is “rigged.”

Mrs. Clinton did not escape some scrutiny, however. The broadcasters were most interested in question about her age or health, controversy over her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state and issues with the Clinton Foundation.

“Controversies involving Hillary Clinton received far less attention,” Mr. Noyes noted. “Her ‘basket of deplorables’ comment received just seven minutes of total coverage, while barely two minutes (134 seconds) was spent talking about her handling of the 2012 attack in Benghazi when she was secretary of state.

“Bill Clinton’s crack that Obamacare was a ‘crazy system’ was limited to just 140 seconds of evening news coverage, even though it signaled the kind of intra-party split that would surely have received far more coverage if it had been a Republican vs. a Republican,” the analyst added.

“Just last week, a Quinnipiac poll found that more than half of all voters (55 percent) thought the media’s coverage had been biased against Trump. With coverage like this, the question is, what are the other 45 percent thinking?” Mr. Noyes asked.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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