As President Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office, he has received by far the most hostile press treatment of any incoming American president, with the broadcast networks punishing him with coverage that has been 89% negative. The networks largely ignored important national priorities such as jobs and the fight against ISIS, in favor of a news agenda that has been dominated by anti-Trump controversies and which closely matches what would be expected from an opposition party.
For example, President Trump’s push to invigorate the economy and bring back American jobs received a mere 18 minutes of coverage (less than one percent of all airtime devoted to the administration), while his moves to renegotiate various international trade deals resulted in less than 10 minutes of TV news airtime.
Eight years ago, in contrast, the broadcast networks rewarded new President Barack Obama with mainly positive spin, and spent hundreds of stories discussing the economic agenda of the incoming liberal administration.
For this study, MRC analysts reviewed all of ABC, CBS and NBC’s evening news coverage of Trump and his new administration from January 20 through April 9, including weekends. Coverage during those first 80 days was intense, as the networks churned out 869 stories about the new administration (737 full reports and 132 brief, anchor-read items), plus an additional 140 full reports focused on other topics but which also discussed the new administration.
Five big topics accounted for roughly two-fifths (43%) of the whopping 1,900 minutes of total network airtime devoted to the Trump administration. But those five topics accounted for a much larger share (63%) of the negative coverage hurled at the administration, as the networks covered each with an overwhelmingly hostile (more than 90% negative) slant.