Liberal columnist claims Biden gets worse press coverage than Trump, media needs to do 'soul-searching'

Media top headlines December 6

In media news today, a women’s group says ‘good riddance’ to Chris Cuomo after CNN firing, Brooke Baldwin calls on the liberal network to replace Cuomo with a woman, and an MSNBC anchor appears to downplay Bob Dole’s accomplishments because of his support for Trump.

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank doubled down Monday on his recent op-ed that claimed “sentiment analysis” data proved the media is tougher on President Biden than they were on former President Trump.

Milbank’s piece, titled, “The media treats Biden as badly as – or worse than – Trump. Here’s proof,” cited research from Forge.ai, a data analytics unit of the information company FiscalNote. The study used algorithms focused on adjectives and their placement in articles – more than 200,000 of them – to rate the coverage Biden received in the first 11 months of 2021 and the coverage Trump got in the first 11 months of 2020. Biden was often on the worse end of the stick when it came press coverage in the past four months, the findings purported to find. 

“My colleagues in the media are serving as accessories to the murder of democracy,” Milbank said.

Conservatives scoffed at the report as laughable, considering how the media flattered Biden in the early stages of his presidency, some even dedicating on-air segments to his favorite ice cream flavors, mothballing fact-checking databases they used on his predecessor Donald Trump, and praising him at press conferences.

The editorial boards of nearly every newspaper in the country endorsed Hillary Clinton and Biden over Trump in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Liberal media members have been furious over the "Let’s Go Brandon" chant.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Milbank defended his write-up in an interview with CNN’s “New Day” Monday. He argued that while Trump enjoyed flattering coverage from conservative media, Biden has not received the same treatment from liberal outlets.

“What’s actually interesting is you would think there’d be a corresponding effect, the left-wing media would be more favorable to Biden. But it doesn’t actually happen,” Milbank said. “The left-wing media is tough on him. He’s too progressive. He’s not progressive enough.”

U.S President Joe Biden hosts the Kennedy Center Honorees Reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S, December 5, 2021. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno 
(REUTERS/Ken Cedeno)

Milbank noted the press started to turn on Biden following the botched U.S. withdrawal of Afghanistan, but as things have started getting “better,” he argued, the coverage has largely remained negative, particularly when it comes to Biden’s multi-trillion dollar Build Back Better plan.

Milbank suggested the solution to the supposedly skewed coverage is for the media to start doing some “soul-searching” and “think about what it is we’re delivering to people.” He suggested it was wrong for the press to be just as hard on the current president for “failing to pass a bill” as they were on Trump, who Milbank said was “trying to overthrow democracy.” 

“I think the coverage should be very much lopsided the other way. Here is somebody who is trying to restore the organs of democracy,” he said. “And he’s getting as beaten up as the guy who was tearing it up.” 

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave from the steps of Air Force One.
(AP)

Several liberal pundits have cited the op-ed on air or on social media and encouraged viewers to read it. White House chief of staff Ronald Klain also gave Milbank’s op-ed a boost with a weekend retweet over the weekend with the caption, “For your consideration.”

Fox News contributor Joe Concha, meanwhile, gave Milbank’s piece the prize for “one of the most laughable columns of the year.”

Milbank himself admitted Sunday that he was only “somewhat” confident in the artificial intelligence on which he based his column. Yet, he parroted how it was the first study of its kind to provide such statistics on media coverage.

“It’s better than having no numbers at all,” he said.

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