A new study released by Pew Research Center showed that nearly three-fourths of all stories on President Donald Trump during his first 100 days in office focused on his character and leadership skills instead of policy issues.
“Coverage was much more likely to be framed around Trump and the administration’s leadership and character than around policy,” Pew wrote.
Compared to past presidencies, policy-centered news accounted for 31 percent of all stories regarding Trump, with higher numbers during the starts of prior administrations Obama (50 percent), George W. Bush (65 percent) and Clinton (58 percent). Stories were deemed “positive” if it had at least twice as many positive as negative statements, with the reverse true for negative stories.
“[T]he evaluations of Trump were far more negative and less positive than those of his predecessors,” the study notes.
The study pointed out five topics dominating coverage of the administration. These topics ranged from the president’s political skills (17 percent of stories) to immigration (14 percent), presidential nominations and appointments (13 percent), Russia (13 percent) and health care (9 percent).
Articles and stories from right-leaning news outlets tended to be more sympathetic to the President, while left-leaning platforms leaned more negatively in their reporting perspective. Left-leaning or neutral outlets also were more likely than right-leaning to “fact-check” or refute the President and administration, adding to their negative ratings in the study.
“Stories with a greater mix of voices were more likely to have an overall negative sense of the president’s actions or statements,” concluded Pew’s director of journalism research Amy Mitchell.
Additionally, Pew found that right-leaning news outlets “cite fewer source types – including fewer experts, issue groups and the administration.” These news organizations “were roughly one-fourth as likely as outlets with a left-leaning audience to cite at least one outside expert in their stories (5% compared with 22%) and about one-third as likely to do so as outlets with a more mixed audience (16%). Right-leaning media outlets also were half as likely as left-leaning or neutral groups to cite both Democratic and Republican politicians in the same story (7% versus 14%).
While some may read this study as evidence of media bias against the Trump administration, Mitchell warns against drawing any conclusion of the type from the study. “It is speaking about, from the public’s perspective, what is the overall evaluation of the particular event that is being discussed in this news story related to Trump and the administration,” she said.
You may review the study by Pew Research Center by clicking here.