Media Reality Check

When Congressman Paul Ryan was named Mitt Romney’s running mate, one of the dominant liberal-media spin lines is that his budget proposal would “slash Medicare.” Everyone knows that Medicare spending is never “slashed,” but there are proposals to slow it from its skyrocketing trend line. ABC reporter Martha Raddatz, who will moderate Ryan’s debate with Vice President Biden, used exactly this kind of misleading terminology against President Bush on February 4, 2008: "The President’s budget slashes billions of dollars in the growth of federal health care programs. Medicare and Medicaid would be cut by almost $200 billion." Under fire for... continue reading
Mitt Romney recently told CBS’s Scott Pelley that a leader would “say which of those things that you should take out of the budget that are no longer essential,” and when pressed to be specific, Romney nominated "the subsidy for PBS,” and subsidies for Amtrak, the NEA, and the NEH. This raises one obvious question. In moderating tonight's first general election debate of 2012, can longtime PBS star Jim Lehrer be fair to a candidate who wants to zero out the subsidy for PBS? In his 1992 memoir A Bus of My Own, Lehrer confesses he could sound like a... continue reading
Leading into tomorrow’s presidential debate, journalists are busy setting expectations for the candidates. On Sunday’s Good Morning America , ABC’s George Stephanopoulos argued that Mitt Romney is under “huge, huge” pressure: “He is behind right now. He is behind nationally, he’s behind in all of the battleground states. This is the last big audience that Mitt Romney is going to have with about four and a half weeks left to go.” But more undecided voters will be swayed by the media’s post-debate spin about who won and who lost than by any pre-debate expectations. Reviewing the last several campaigns, MRC... continue reading
“Game changer” -- NBC’s Brian Williams “Seismic” -- ABC’s Diane Sawyer “Shaken up the race.” -- CBS’s Scott Pelley Those were the reactions of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) evening news anchors to the hidden camera tape of Mitt Romney expressing a basic breakdown of voters who weren’t likely to vote for him. What was a simple analysis by Romney of 47 percent of the electorate was turned into a “political earthquake” that threatened to sink the GOP nominee’s chances. Over three full days of coverage, on the Big Three evening and morning shows, liberal anchors and reporters devoted... continue reading
If journalists were interested in fairness, there's nothing more basic than giving a similar amount of airtime to each major party convention. An MRC analysis finds that's exactly what CBS and ABC did, giving virtually identical airtime to the Republican and Democratic conventions on their morning and evening news shows. But NBC skewed in favor of the Democrats, donating 25 percent more coverage to the Democratic National Convention (121 minutes) than they did the previous week's Republican convention (97 minutes). Most of the disparity is accounted for by the Today show, which gave 30 percent more coverage to the Democrats... continue reading
When the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks preview Vice President Joe Biden’s 2012 Democratic National Convention speech, will they fill their programs with a montage of the mental mistakes that have plagued him over the years? If recent coverage is any indication, they will choose to bypass Biden’s bumbling. While the Big Three networks were quick to make fun of GOP vice presidential selections in the past from Dan Quayle to Sarah Palin for their campaign trail stumbles, they’ve either downplayed or completely ignored Biden’s most embarrassing and offensive moments. From insensitively telling a wheelchair-bound state senator to “Stand... continue reading
Bad weather may have forced Vice President Joe Biden to skip his plans to make mischief at this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, but Democrats don’t have to worry: the liberal “news” media have been “counter-programming” GOP conventions for decades. It doesn’t matter whether the nominee is a conservative like Ronald Reagan, or a moderate like John McCain — network reporters always seem to scold the delegates and platform as too conservative, hostile to women, anathema to blacks, and an all-around turn-off to voters. The Obama campaign’s cynical claim of a GOP “war on women” is just the latest... continue reading
Almost as soon as word leaked that Mitt Romney had chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, liberal reporters stepped forward to help define the Wisconsin congressman as too conservative, a heartless budget-slasher who might repel as many votes as he might attract to the GOP ticket. Chris Matthews, for example, on Saturday derided Ryan as someone whose plan “ really screws the people who desperately need Medicare and programs like that.” The script is always a little different, but the trend is always the same. The Media Research Center has monitored campaign coverage for 25 years, including the media’s... continue reading
Mitt Romney's week-long international trip resulted in unrelentingly negative coverage from the big three broadcast networks, a stark change from the glowing press awarded to then-candidate Barack Obama's world tour in 2008. While Obama was treated like a rock star (from the Associated Press: "It's not only Obama's youth, eloquence and energy that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic...."), Romney endured a focus on gaffes and the trivial. MRC analysts examined all 21 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about Romney's trip to London, Israel and Poland between July 25 and July 31. Virtually all of these stories (18,... continue reading
Within hours of the horrible massacre at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater, liberal reporters hijacked the tragedy to advance their anti-gun rights agenda. As they did in the wake of school shootings like Columbine (Back in 2000 the MRC documented , stories advocating gun control outnumbered those in favor of gun rights by a 10 to 1 ratio), the media were quick to heap blame on the NRA and Second Amendment supporters in their quest for more restrictions on guns. On the very day of the Aurora shooting Time’s Michael Grunwald justified the oncoming push for gun control by the... continue reading