The mainstream liberal press may have had a “slobbering love affair” with President Obama (as CBS News veteran Bernard Goldberg once aptly put it). But they’re absolutely obsessed with President Trump. Data compiled by Real Clear Politics shows just how bad this Trump obsession is.
A fascinating article, “Measuring the Media’s Obsession With Trump,” looked at the percentage of airtime the three main cable networks — CNN, MSNBC and Fox News — devoted each day to stories about Trump.
The author, Kalev Leetaru, then compared that to the share devoted to Obama over the past nine years.
Trump Obsession Measured
The findings are striking.
“While Obama typically hovered around 3% to 5% airtime over most of his presidency, Trump’s steady state appears to be around 13-17%,” Leetaru reports. “In total from June 2009 to January 20, 2017, Obama averaged around 4.9% of the combined daily airtime of CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. From June 16, 2015 to present, Trump has averaged 15%, three times as much.”
When broken down by network, CNN’s coverage of Trump was 4.3 times that of Obama; Fox, 3.1 times, and MSNBC 2.4 times. Leetaru’s Trump obsession chart alone is worth the click.
This obsessive behavior isn’t limited to Trump, of course, although it has reached disturbing levels.
The media routinely fixate on conservatives. Not because they agree with them, mind you. But because they hope to destroy them. In Trump’s case, more than 90% of the stories about him are negative.
An analysis of news coverage done back in 2010 found that, for example, Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin got four times the amount of coverage as did Joe Biden during the 2008 campaign.
In 2010, controversial conservative Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell got almost five times as much coverage as Democratic candidate Alvin Greene. Greene was far more newsworthy than O’Donnell, given that he was a total surprise winner of the Democratic primary, had no job, and had been indicted on criminal charges for showing obscene pictures to an 18-year-old college student.
Conservative scandals, no matter how small, get played up in the press. Scandals involving Democrats get comparatively little, if any. The Media Research Center recently compiled a list of several Democratic scandals studiously ignored by the mainstream press. That included Beto O’Rourke’s lying about his DUI arrest, allegations of past spousal abuse by Sen. Claire McCaskill’s husband, Sen. Robert Menendez’s ethics abuses, and Sen. Diane Feinstein’s 20-year employee who was a Chinese spy.
How else do you think Obama has been able to say with a straight face that his was a completely “scandal free” administration”? He knows the media that ignored the IRS scandal, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, its foreign policy fiascos, Obama’s abuses of power, etc., won’t challenge him on that claim. Indeed, when the press did bother to report on Obama scandals, it was usually to debunk them.
Republican gaffes are repeatedly endlessly, Democrats’ ignored. (Think “potatoe” vs. “57 states.”)
Everything Feeds Trump Obsession
Sure, in Trump’s case, he’s more colorful and more unpredictable than Obama. But the press can’t cover any story these days without making it about Trump.
Columbia Journalism Review’s daily newsletter stated: “In Bush’s case, that coverage has been dominated by favorable comparisons to President Trump.”
And as RCP’s Leetaru notes, “from the mail bomber to the Khashoggi slaying to Bush 41’s death, news outlets have organized their stories to emphasize Trump, while often undermining his legitimacy.”
Here’s some unsolicited advice for reporters and editors suffering from Trump Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Seek professional help.