A new Media Research Center survey of a full day of CNN news coverage found that a whopping 92 percent of the air time was dedicated to Trump stories.
MRC analysts reviewed the day’s entirety of the cable network’s programming on Friday, May 12, beginning with the 4 a.m. Early Start and continuing through to the end of the 11 p.m. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, a grand total of 20 hours of air time material.
After excluding commercials, teases and promos, MRC analysts found 13 hours, 27 minutes of actual news coverage, an average of just over 40 minutes per hour. Of that, a whopping 92 percent (12 hours, 19 minutes) was devoted to stories regarding the Trump presidency, with a mere 68 minutes — a little more than three minutes per hour — devoted to all of the other news of the day.
CNN purports itself to cover the news “right down the middle,” positioning its perspective to be somewhere between the Democratic Party mouthpiece of MSNBC and the more right-wing oriented Fox News Channel. However, an MRC study of an entire day of CNN’s coverage shows the network spent nearly all of its time obsessively covering the Trump presidency, with a great majority of that airtime consisting of interviews and panel discussions giving their assessments of Trump.
MRC tallied 123 appearances by guests or panelists over the course of the day, most of them anti-Trump. Many of CNN’s analysts showed up in multiple newscasts, each of which would count as a separate appearance.
As for the angle of coverage, MRC found:
“The vast majority of all of CNN’s guests that day (96, or 78% of the total) were Trump critics, compared to a handful of pro-Trump guests (just seven, or 6% of the total). Another 13 guests were neutral, and seven offered mixed assessments of the administration.”
CNN’s own “journalists” were even worse.
“Looking just at CNN’s own on-air talent, the results were even more tilted, with 69 appearances by anti-Trump analysts, vs. just two for pro-Trump analysts,” MRC wrote.
Harvard released a study the previous week that analyzed The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the main newscasts on CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC during President Trump’s first 100 days. The results: 80 percent was negative, just 20 percent positive.
These results stand in stark contrast from the past, displaying a sharp, noticeable shift in direction. When the White House’s previous occupant, former President Barack Obama, completed his first 100 days, a similar study found that coverage was 59 percent positive, 41 percent negative. The numbers were nearly the opposite for George W. Bush: 57 percent negative, 43 percent positive. For Bill Clinton at the same milestone of his first term in 1993, the coverage was 60 percent negative, 40 percent positive.
Byron York detailed the breakdown of the major television news networks’ coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in the Washington Examiner:
“The Harvard team found that CBS coverage was 91 percent negative and 9 percent positive. New York Times coverage was 87 percent negative and 13 percent positive.
“Washington Post coverage was 83 percent negative and 17 percent positive. Wall Street Journal coverage was 70 percent negative and 30 percent positive. And Fox News coverage also leaned to the negative, but only slightly: 52 percent negative to 48 percent positive.”