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Politics & Policy

Report: Eighty Percent of Media Coverage on Trump is Negative

While speaking at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremony last week, President Donald Trump said, “No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly” by the media.

Surely, Trump’s assertion is questionable. According to a report released last week from Harvard Kennedy School, however, “Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days was negative even by the standards of today’s hyper-critical press.”

Eighty percent of the news coverage in Trump’s first 100 days was negative. “In no week did the coverage drop below 70 percent negative and it reached 90 percent negative at its peak,” wrote Thomas E. Patterson, the author of the report.

Patterson examined news coverage from seven U.S. media outlets: CNN, NBC, CBS, Fox News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He also assessed the tone in which European media outlets covered Trump by including in his research the Financial Times, BBC (Britain’s public-service broadcaster), and ARD (Germany’s public-service broadcaster).

“CNN and NBC’s coverage was the most unrelenting — negative stories about Trump outpaced positive ones by 13-to-1 on the two networks,” Patterson concluded. Fox News was an outlier, as it covered Trump positively 48 percent of the time.

Over in Germany, 98 percent of ARD’s reporting on Trump was negative, as its reporters unmistakably framed the news in a way that made Trump seem unfit for office. While “98 percent of [ARD’s] evaluations of Trump’s fitness for office were negative, only 2 percent were positive,” Patterson said.

Austin Yack — Austin Yack is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute and a University of California, Santa Barbara alumnus.

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