- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

It would be hard for biased, negative news coverage of President Trump to get any worse.

“As President Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office, he has received by far the most hostile press treatment of any incoming American president, with the broadcast networks punishing him with coverage that has been 89 percent negative,” wrote Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella, both analysts for Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.

In a new study, the pair pored over evening news coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC from Jan. 20 through April 9 — over 1,000 stories focused on Mr. Trump and his new administration. That amounted to 1,900 minutes of total airtime. Only 186 minutes were positive in content or tone.

“The networks largely ignored important national priorities such as jobs and the fight against ISIS, in favor of a news agenda that has been dominated by anti-Trump controversies and which closely matches what would be expected from an opposition party,” the researchers said.

Positive developments had no charm for the broadcasters. The study found that Mr. Trump’s push to invigorate the economy and bring back American jobs received a mere 18 minutes of coverage, and his efforts to facilitate international trade deals resulted in less than 10 minutes of airtime.

“Eight years ago, in contrast, the broadcast networks rewarded new President Barack Obama with mainly positive spin, and spent hundreds of stories discussing the economic agenda of the incoming liberal administration,” the analysts said.

During Mr. Obama’s first 100 days in office, coverage ranged from 58 percent to 82 percent positive, according to a study made by the group at the time.

For their Trump coverage, the “Big Three” broadcasters were obsessed with five topics. They fixated on Mr. Trump’s temporary travel ban on travelers from certain Muslim nations, possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, the effort to replace Obamacare, active immigration enforcement, and the president’s claim of wiretapping in Trump Tower.

“When the President shares the media’s liberal mindset, journalists are willing to be seen as cheerleaders, shaking their pom-poms on behalf of the White House,” the study noted. “But when voters select a President who challenges the liberal establishment, those cheerleaders morph into unleashed pitbulls, ferociously attacking both the President and his agenda.”

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

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