Broadcasters Air 150 Times More Negative News on Trump Than Biden: Study

August 18, 2020 Updated: August 18, 2020

Evening news has aired a plethora of negative stories against President Donald Trump while virtually ignoring presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, a study found.

NewsBusters, a project of watchdog Media Research Center, analyzed ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts from June 1 through July 31. Analysts found that the shows spent 512 minutes of airtime on Trump, nine times more than the 58 minutes they allotted to Biden.

But that extra airtime was almost entirely negative toward Trump.

Analysts at the center found 634 of 668 evaluative statements about the president were negative, compared to 4 of 12 for Biden.

“It shows a news media that is tired of being an umpire, they want to be a player,” Rich Noyes, research director at the center, told The Epoch Times.

“They’d rather be the opposition to Donald Trump than let Joe Biden do the job.”

ABC News, NBC News, and CBS News didn’t respond to requests for comment on the study.

Courtney Parella, deputy national press secretary for the Trump campaign, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement: “We didn’t need a study to prove what we already know. The mainstream media is openly biased against President Trump, and they are fooling themselves if they think the American people can’t see through it.”

In a typical campaign season, broadcasts would devote time to both candidates. The uneven treatment stems in part from Biden not holding campaign events for months during the COVID-19 pandemic, Noyes said, but the former vice president is still speaking on a daily basis, has plans out for what he would implement if elected, and faces scandals including a sexual assault allegation.

Forty percent, or 23.5 minutes, of the Biden-focused coverage aired Biden’s criticisms of Trump, while just 0.25 percent, or 88 seconds, of Trump-focused coverage consisted of relaying Trump’s criticisms of the presumptive nominee.

“It’s as if they’re not trusting the public to make up their minds properly if they were given both sides,” Noyes said. “They’re squandering any credibility they might have as journalists and showing that they’re partisan actors.”

The study included explicitly evaluative statements about Trump or Biden from reporters, anchors, or nonpartisan sources such as experts or voters. It didn’t include evaluations or comments from partisan sources, or neutral statements.

Trump has regularly described many reporters as biased against him.

“My biggest opponent isn’t Biden, it’s not the Democrats, it’s the corrupt media. We have a corrupt media in this country the likes of which nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump said in a phone interview with “Fox & Friends” on Aug. 17.

Asked why he was campaigning during the Democratic National Convention, Trump said he has “no choice” because of the media.

“And we have a guy that doesn’t come out of his basement, and the media covers him,” he said, adding later, “They’re asking me questions, and I see the fire is burning in their eyes and I’m looking at some of them—I said, boy, how could you have so much hatred?”

Biden has only given a handful of press briefings since isolating at his home in March, an isolation he ended over the summer. The former vice president and his newly announced running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have only taken two questions in events since he named her as his vice presidential candidate on Aug. 11.

Biden’s campaign hasn’t responded to inquiries, including queries on when the pair will hold a legitimate press conference.

The presumptive Democratic ticket plans to do a sitdown interview, which will air in portions on Aug. 21 and in full on Aug. 23.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber