Accuracy in Media

An analysis by RealClearPolitics confirms that the media unfairly sought to tie President Trump to the recent mail bomb scare and treated Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with a double-standard when a shooter who admired Sanders tried to murder Rep. Steve Scalise (R.-La.). Trump has rightly argued that the media has unfairly tried to tie him to the mail bomb suspect, and according to an analysis from RealClearPolitics, President Trump is accurate.

RealClearPolitics reports: “On June 14, 2017 Hodgkinson opened fire on a GOP baseball practice, wounding several people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. The identity of the shooter and the fact that he volunteered for Sanders’ presidential campaign was known within hours. Early headlines, including at CNN, clearly pointed out the connection. However, coverage quickly dropped the association with Sanders, with a Politico article three weeks later referring to the shooter merely as ‘James Hodgkinson of Illinois.’ In contrast, one of the most striking elements of coverage of last week’s mail bombing campaign was how blame was almost immediately assigned to Trump.”

The timeline from RCP shows the percentage of online news coverage that mentioned the President and Sanders following the two events.

The contrast is stark:

·       Mentions of Hodkinson’s political support for Sanders peaked the following day after the shooting at just 31% of coverage.

·       Mentions of President Trump along with the mail bombs reached 70% on October 25th, a whole day before the bomber’s identity was even revealed.

·       By Sunday, around 80 percent of the coverage of the mail bombs mentioned the President.

RealClear media fellow Kalev Leetaru concludes that, in our increasingly divided political environment, it would perhaps be productive for members of the media to engage in some self-reflection about their bias.

“Instead of reflexively dismissing any questions about bias, a bit of self-reflection on how the media covers the presidency in our increasingly divided world might be more productive,” Leetaru writes.

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