Study: Press Coverage During Trump’s First 100 Days Was 80% Negative

Geo Beats - Friday, 19 May 2017
Media reports during President Trump’s first 100 days in office were largely negative, according to new research out of Harvard. Media reports during President Trump’s first 100 days in office were largely negative, according to new research out of Harvard.  In fact, a news release by Professor Thomas E. Patterson on the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy website states that the coverage during this time “set a new standard for negativity.”  According to the release, the research found that “Of news reports with a clear tone, negative reports outpaced positive ones by 80 percent to 20 percent.”  It also says that “Trump’s coverage was unsparing. In no week did the coverage drop below 70 percent negative and it reached 90 percent negative at its peak.” While the lowest periods revolved around his controversial immigration order and Republicans’ struggles to pass an Obamacare overhaul bill, the high point happened when he bombed a Syrian airbase after the regime reportedly launched a chemical attack against its own people.  The release notes that “The research is based on news coverage in the print editions of three U.S. daily papers (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post), the main newscasts of four U.S. television networks (CBS Evening News, CNN’s The Situation Room, Fox’s Special Report, and NBC Nightly News), and three European news outlets…” Despite the report’s findings, a Washington Post column by political reporter Aaron Blake argues that the data by itself could “create a faulty impression that the media is out to get Trump.” In fact, the president has continued to complain about the media coverage, telling the Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday, “Look at the way I've been treated lately. Especially by the media. No politician in history—and I say this with great surety—has been treated worse, or more unfairly.”  Blake points out that neutral reports, which composed about 33 percent of the coverage, were omitted from the analysis and that both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had mostly negative media accounts in their first 100 days too. 

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