Trump criticism is disproportionate



Opinion columnist Colin Horning discusses what he believes is disproportionately negative media coverage of President Trump.

COLIN HORNING, Opinion Columnist

It’s no secret that President Donald Trump has received a lot of criticism during his time in the Oval Office.

He and his fellow Republicans have had their fair share of occurrences that deservingly garner criticism from the national press, which is a freedom that not many other countries are lucky enough to have. After all, the First Amendment and the ability to criticize those in power without fear of drastic repercussion is one of the cornerstones of American society and an important reason why America is the greatest nation in modern history. But from what I’ve seen, there has been simply too much of a focus on the negatives of his presidency in the media, as well as a tendency to blame him for occurrences that are simply not the fault of the President. Take Hurricane Florence, the storm that hit along the Atlantic coast in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia last September.

Back on Sept. 11 of this year, the Washington Post ran an op-ed written by cartoonist Tom Toles with the title “Yes, You can Blame President Trump for Hurricane Florence.” The absurdity of such an article title is something one might find on a clickbait website or from a tabloid, not a respected newspaper like the Washington Post. But it’s not just one miscellaneous opinion article from a few months ago that demonstrates the media’s tendency to use President Trump as a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong.

Back on Sept. 12, 2017, the Media Rating Council (MRC) and their subsidiary website NewsBusters published a study detailing the positive and negative coverage of the major network and cable news channels with regards to President Trump’s first 100 days in office. The study analyzed “clear positive or negative tones from experts presented as non-partisan, voters, or opinionated statements from the networks’ own reporters.” They found that roughly 91 percent of network newscast coverage of the president (from CBS, NBC and ABC News) was, in fact, negative towards the president and only nine percent positive. CNN came in with 93 percent negative and seven percent positive, and BBC totaled at 74 percent negative and 26 percent positive. Even Fox News, which is typically viewed as a more pro-Trump, conservative channel, came in with more negative coverage of the president, with a near fifty-fifty split of 52 percent negative and 48 percent positive.

But, it’s not just the major TV networks who have shown skewed coverage of the current presidency. Three of the most popular and well-respected newspapers in America, (the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal) have also been far more negative towards President Trump. According to the MRC study, the Times came in with an 87 percent negative, 13 percent positive split, the Post had 83 percent negative, 17 positive split and the WSJ was 70 percent negative and 30 percent positive towards President Trump.

The coverage slant towards the current president was already pretty obvious, but this study just goes to confirm how disproportionately the mainstream media in America covers President Trump. I am by no means saying that Trump’s days in office have been perfect; far from it. But his administration has accomplished a lot that the newspapers and network channels tend to overlook or downplay. During the Trump presidency, the stock market has reached all-time highs, unemployment for Blacks, Latinos/Latinas, women and for the overall country has seen record lows, American GDP has hit 4.2 percent and is on track for the three percent annual growth the president campaigned on and the Islamic State (ISIS) has lost nearly 96 percent of its territory in the Middle East since Trump was inaugurated in January of 2017.

All of these accomplishments are rarely talked about, except for more pro-Trump outlets such as Fox News, Breitbart, etc. Media companies are free to cover the president how they please; however, their obvious bias has led to a mostly negative portrayal of President Trump when he in fact deserves more credit for his accomplishments as president.