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TV’s War Against Trump Leaves Little Time for Dems

The Big Three evening newscasts continue to be obsessed with Donald Trump, pounding him incessantly with highly-negative coverage.

From June 1 through August 31, the networks devoted nearly 14 hours (834 minutes) to coverage of President Trump personally, the vast majority of which was negative.

Overall, 21 Democratic candidates (including some who have since departed the race) shared 187 minutes of evening news airtime this summer, less than one-fourth of that of Trump alone. On the GOP side, former Congressman Joe Walsh received a scant 35 seconds of coverage after he announced his candidacy in late August, while the campaign of former Massachusetts Governor William Weld has yet to be acknowledged by any of the three evening newscasts.

Clearly, this heavy coverage is not intended to boost Trump. The networks spent much of their time on alleged scandals and accusations of racism.

TV’s War Against Trump Leaves Little Time for Dems

TV’s War Against Trump Leaves Little Time for Dems

On the Democratic side, only Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg faced any significant coverage of negative controversies.

The media mania over Trump is more intense than that of four summers ago, but the pattern is similar. After Trump joined the race in mid-June 2015, he immediately dominated network news coverage with 232 minutes of airtime, twice that of the leading Democrat, Hillary Clinton, and six times more than his nearest Republican challenger, Jeb Bush.

No other candidate received even one-tenth as much coverage as Trump did that summer. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, who would go on to win 22 state caucuses and primaries in 2016, received just under 13 minutes of evening news coverage in the summer of 2015 — but that’s actually better than the 10 minutes he received this time around.

In retrospect, it seems likely that the networks’ incessant pounding of Trump in 2015 actually aided his candidacy, with the other candidates shoved to the sidelines as journalists jumped into the fray themselves. Since then, Trump has dominated political news like no other figure in the media age.

The question for 2020: Will the anti-Trump media’s attempt to kill his re-election campaign with massive and poisonous press coverage again boomerang?

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TV’s War Against Trump Leaves Little Time for Dems

by Sonia Landry time to read: 1 min