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Hours after a Washington Post columnist appeared on CNN to complain that the media allegedly treat President Joe Biden more unfairly than they treated former President Donald Trump, CNN confirmed that the Biden administration has been meeting with top media execs to discuss how “to reshape coverage in its favor.”
“The White House, not happy with the news media’s coverage of the supply chain and economy, has been working behind the scenes trying to reshape coverage in its favor,” CNN’s Oliver Darcy confirmed in a CNN newsletter published late Monday.
“Senior White House and admin officials — including NEC Deputy Directors David Kamin and Bharat Ramamurti, along with Ports Envoy John Porcari — have been briefing major newsrooms over the past week, a source tells me.”
According to Darcy, the two parties have specifically been discussing “trends pertaining to job creation, economic growth, supply chains, and more.”
“The basic argument that has been made: That the country’s economy is in much better shape than it was last year. I’m told the conversations have been productive, with anchors and reporters and producers getting to talk with the officials,” he wrote.
There appears to be no record of newsroom execs ever once meeting with the Trump administration to discuss how “to reshape coverage.”
Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was instrumental in exposing the federal government’s illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens, responded to Darcy’s reporting by noting how “media corporations” are now essentially behaving like “state TV.” He wasn’t alone in his criticism.
Media corporations meeting in secret with WH officials to discuss how to present a more optimistic view of Biden’s economic policies seems to me to be a bit like . . . . . . state TV.
But I’m glad (and unsurprised) to hear from CNN that the “conversations have been productive.” https://t.co/l9fsiV4ph6
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 7, 2021
If Trump officials tried to hold briefings with liberal networks and anchors to “reshape economic coverage,” would Oliver Darcy lose his mind?
Would the liberal networks actually take that meeting? Because usually they skipped reporting economic good news under Trump. https://t.co/E7bcFThd1z
— NewsBusters (@newsbusters) December 7, 2021
Wow. And they’re proud of this? Taking directives from the WH on how to spin stories is something to be proud of @oliverdarcy ? https://t.co/m0bsNmTH7T
— Kristi Leigh (@KristiLeighTV) December 7, 2021
Isn’t this concerning? As a correspondent, I always hated it when a political called me and lobbied me. Give me the facts and I report the facts, shaping coverage with the news division is pushing propaganda. “Conversations have been productive”?? Wow..and to admit it. https://t.co/Lc6XjGOaFX
— Adam Housley (@adamhousley) December 7, 2021
Some critics also took aim at Darcy, noting his lack of outrage. During the Trump presidency, he and fellow network contributor Brian Stelter frequently accused Fox News of being “state TV” for being the only network to cover the then-president fairly.
A 2017 study by Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy found that whereas the then-president received 80 percent negative coverage on average from the entire establishment press during his first 100 days in office, he received 52 percent negative, 48 percent positive coverage from Fox News.
“Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days set a new standard for negativity. 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,” university professor Thomas E. Patterson noted in the report..
Of all the media outlets whose content was examined, CNN fared the worst, with 93 percent of its coverage being unnaturally negative. The Post didn’t fare much better, with 83 percent of its allegedly “non-biased” coverage being negative.
Darcy’s report was published only hours after the Post columnist Dana Milbank appeared on CNN to speak about a column he’d penned days earlier titled, “The media treats Biden as badly as — or worse than — Trump. Here’s proof.”
But instead of containing proof, the piece appears to contain nothing but far-left rhetoric and talking points, some of them outright lies.
“I suspect my peers across the media have fallen victim to our asymmetric politics. Biden governs under traditional norms, while Republicans run a shocking campaign to delegitimize him with one fabricated charge after another. This week, Republicans threatened a government shutdown to block Biden’s vaccine mandates, after a year of efforts to discourage vaccination,” one section of the piece reads.
Republicans have not discouraged vaccination, their criticisms of the current president haven’t been “fabricated” and Biden’s vaccine mandates have been halted by a large number of courts due to their unconstitutionality:
Biden’s five mandates:
OSHA – stayed nationally
CMS – enjoined nationally
Contractor – enjoined nationally
Federal employee – punted to next year
Military – still moving forward, unvaxed “flagged,” blocked from promotion/reenlistment
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) December 7, 2021
Speaking on CNN, Milbank started by admitting that coverage of the current president had been completely positive up til August.
“August was the turning point. Biden’s coverage was more favorable than Trump’s before then. There was that honeymoon,” he said.
August was the month that the president’s stunningly botched withdrawal of U.S. was completed. In fairness to the establishment press, this error was so grievous that even they briefly directed negative coverage at him.
“Even as things have generally improved since then, the coverage has not improved. It’s not bias. It’s the actual words we’re using. So we are as negative as a collective media on Joe Biden, if not more so than we were to Donald Trump at a time when he was trying to overthrow democracy. That is a tremendous indictment of the whole industry,” Milbank added.
It’s not clear how Trump “was trying to overthrow democracy.” If that was a reference to the Jan. 6th riot, note that this unfortunate incident occurred at the tail end of his presidency, after four long years of negative reporting from the press.
WaPo columnist goes high tech to convince you the media is tougher on Biden than Trump https://t.co/vSjcAWVsTv
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 5, 2021
In his column, Milbank added Biden deserves glowing credit (if not worship) because “the economy is rebounding impressively, he has signed major legislation, and he has restored some measure of decency, calm and respect for democratic institutions.”
The economy is not rebounding impressively, though he’s not alone in claiming otherwise. Contributors at outlets such as The Columbus Dispatch, Wired magazine, MSNBC, CNBC and of course CNN have all tried to argue similarly.
“Finally some relief: Gasoline and natural gas prices are falling,” a CNN headline published Tuesday reads.
According to the actual data, gas prices have fallen by an average of 2 percent …
Democrats vs. Reality:
…just my 2 cents. pic.twitter.com/qvBFS9neNa
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) December 2, 2021
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