- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 15, 2019

It has become a cultural norm as President Trump approaches two years in office: Broadcast news coverage remains 90 percent negative, according to a massive study released Tuesday.

“At the midpoint of Donald Trump’s first term, the establishment media’s obvious hostility shows no signs of relenting, but polls show this negative coverage has had no discernible impact on the public’s attitudes toward the President,” wrote Rich Noyes, senior editor of Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.

Indeed, opinion poll numbers suggest that despite the negative press, Mr. Trump’s poll numbers are creeping upwards.

“The media elite have clearly waded into the political fray to wage war against this President. But have they accomplished anything beyond cementing their reputation as political partisans, not objective journalists?” he asked.

Beginning Jan. 20, 2017, Mr. Noyes and his team analyzed “every moment of coverage” about Mr. Trump which aired on ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts — an audience of some 23 million nightly viewers.

“The tone of coverage remains incessantly hostile: 90 percent negative, vs. just 10 percent positive (excluding neutral statements), matching the historically bad press we documented in 2017. Yet despite the media’s obvious disapproval, public opinion of the President actually improved slightly during 2018, from an average 40 percent approval on January 1 to 42.7 percent approval on December 31, according to RealClearPolitics,” Mr. Noyes wrote.

Yet the president remains the most popular topic of all.

“As it was last year, the Trump presidency was the biggest story of 2018, accounting for almost 87 hours of coverage, or 28 percent of all evening news airtime. But that’s down from 99 hours of coverage in 2017, perhaps a sign the networks are wearying of treating every Trump tweet as deserving of crisis-level coverage,” Mr. Noyes said.

“For the second year in a row, the Russia investigation was the single most-covered topic amid the networks’ Trump coverage, garnering 858 minutes of airtime. Since January 20, 2017, the Russia probe has received 2,092 minutes of coverage on just the three evening newscasts,” he noted.

A Newsbusters.org study of broadcast coverage centered on Mr. Trump’s first year in office, and released a year ago, also found the programming to be 90 percent negative.

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

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