The Media’s Summertime pummeling of President Trump

By Dave Andrusko

Before we examine an excellent Newsbusters’ analysis of the media bludgeoning of President Trump, led by the Washington Post, I’d like to offer the following preface as an exercise in compare and contrast.

At the end of the Obama Presidency, a pack of Obama’s most fervent admirers at the Post put together an e-book titled “Obama’s Legacy,” which the Post periodically reminds its readers it can access on Kindle. Here’s the description:

In this timely retrospective, leading voices from The Washington Post come together to discuss Barack Obama’s historic presidency.

When President Obama was elected, he was a figure of hope for many Americans. Throughout his presidency, he has become far more than a symbol of change; he has enacted countless programs and policies that have made an impact on the country. As his term comes to an end, we look back on what has defined Obama as an American leader.

Providing insight into everything from his politics to his family, this collection of articles examines the highlights of the Obama administration. The award-winning journalists at The Washington Post have brought together stories from the last eight years to commemorate the indelible mark our most recent president has made on the United States.

Featuring over a hundred historic photos and articles from eight Pulitzer Prize winners, Obama’s Legacy is the perfect way to close out the first family’s years in the White House.

If the Post were capable of shame and embarrassment, they would hide their faces. But they don’t have time. They are too busy pummeling President Trump, a campaign that began in earnest in May 2016 and has been unrelenting ever since.

As the Washington Examiner wrote at the time

The Washington Post has built a sizable army of reporters to dig into every facet of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s life, urged on by new owner Jeff Bezos to reveal everything about the potential nominees.

Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward revealed Wednesday that the Post has assigned 20 staffers to Trump. In addition the paper plans a book.

So what Newsbusters’ Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella reported yesterday came as no surprise. Here are some highlights/lowlights:

  • “Trump has already received more coverage in his first 224 days in office than Obama received in his final two years as President.”
  • “Analyzing the networks’ spin makes it clear that the goal of all of this heavy coverage is not to promote the President, but to punish him. In June, July and August, broadcast evening news coverage of Trump was 91 percent negative — worse than the astounding 89 percent negative spin we calculated during the first three months of the administration, usually a traditional honeymoon period for new presidents.”
  • The “best” coverage (so to speak) was in April. “Yet network coverage that month was still skewed against Trump by a greater than four-to-one ratio (82% negative, vs. 18% positive).”
  • “The networks’ aggression in covering Trump contrasts with their docile, often adoring coverage of President Obama. Both Presidents are, of course, highly controversial — the key difference is that Obama’s policies matched the liberal media’s preferences, while Trump’s agenda clearly clashes with the establishment media’s world view.”

Here’s the conclusion which is hard to argue with:

  • “All Presidents deserve critical news coverage from time to time, but the relentlessly hostile coverage Trump has seen thus far is as much a reflection of the media’s ideological bias as anything else.”