In four weeks, Americans go to the polls for the midterm elections that the news media are casting as a referendum on the Trump presidency. Over the summer, the broadcast networks have continued to pound Donald Trump and his team with the most hostile coverage of a President in TV news history — 92 percent negative, vs. just eight percent positive.
For this report, MRC analysts reviewed all 1,007 evening news stories (1,960 minutes of airtime) about the Trump administration on ABC, CBS and NBC from June 1 to September 30, tallying the coverage of each topic and all evaluative comments made by anchors, reporters and non-partisan sources (such as voters or experts).
The results show that, over the past four months, nearly two-thirds of evening news coverage of the Trump presidency has been focused on just five main topics: the Russia investigation; immigration policy; the Kavanaugh nomination; North Korea diplomacy; and U.S. relations with Russia. The networks’ coverage of all of these topics has been highly negative, while bright spots for the administration such as the booming economy received extremely little coverage (less than one percent of the four-month total). …
Once again, the ongoing Russia investigation received more evening news coverage (342 minutes) than any other individual topic. … Since the beginning of the Trump administration, the three networks have spent 1,975 minutes — nearly 33 hours — on the Russia investigation, or nearly 18 percent of all of their coverage of the Trump presidency. As we have previously reported, virtually all of that coverage has been negative, while almost none of it has focused on any of the controversies involving Mueller or his investigative team.