Our good friends at NewsBusters have performed a comprehensive analysis of the nightly news broadcasts for all the major networks since Trump entered the campaign, and while the results won’t exactly surprise you, they are still pretty disgusting. They show that Trump has gotten over four times as much coverage as the next closest candidate – and that the next closest candidate isn’t even Ted Cruz, who has been pretty clearly in second place for months.
Moreover, the analysis shows that the media specifically fixates on the sorts of controversies that they know good and well will feed Trump’s “the media is unfair” narrative while ignoring stories that might actually hurt him with the Republican electorate, such as the fact that until about 2 years ago, Trump was an open and unabashed liberal.
As of Friday, Trump’s seven-month-old candidacy has been the focus of an incredible 684 minutes of coverage on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, far more than any of his GOP rivals — more than four times as much as the next-most-covered candidate, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (151 minutes), and more than five times as much as Texas Senator Ted Cruz (122 minutes), currently Trump’s leading rival in the polls.
But amid that sea of Trump news, the networks have spent only about nine minutes (1.3% of Trump’s overall coverage) discussing the candidate’s clearly documented past support for liberal policy positions (i.e., pro-abortion, single-payer health care) and his praise of leading Democrats, including Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. MRC’s analysis of network evening news coverage finds Trump’s past liberalism fails to crack the Top 10 in terms of airtime, ranking #11 on the list of most-covered controversies.
Instead, the networks emphasized Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban all Muslim entry to the U.S. (55 minutes), his statement that Mexico is sending “rapists” to the U.S. (42 minutes), and his remark that Vietnam P.O.W. John McCain wasn’t a “real hero” because he “got captured” (29 minutes).
The media knows exactly what they are doing here. Trump is great for ratings and what they want is for Trump to win the Republican nomination so their ratings boost can continue all throughout the year. Trump and his trainwreck of a mouth getting the Republican nomination would probably singlehandedly boost the stock prices of every TV news organization in the country by at least 10% – and I’m wagering that the cable networks’ disparity is even worse than the major networks set forth here.