Not many Americans would accuse our major media outlets (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) of true unbiased reporting of the facts in our nation. But according to a new Media Research Center report, these networks are no longer putting forth the effort to even appear fair and balanced.
Over the two week government shutdown, the Media Research Center observed its reporting by the major news networks. Out of 124 stories about the shutdown, Republicans were blamed 41 times. Compare that to only 17 blames for both parties and ZERO specifically blamed Democrats. Not a one.
“Network reporters and anchors repeatedly instructed their audiences to blame Tea Party extremism for the consequences of the shutdown,” the report said.
Sound bites aired on major networks from those furloughed found a 6 to 1 bias in favor of Democrats to Republicans, although the majority of the negativity was directed towards Washington D.C. in general – and appropriately so. “On October 1, for example, ABC’s World News used a man on the street to spank conservatives: “I think the whole ‘holding the government hostage of ObamaCare’ is just ridiculous.” The next night, the same network featured a woman scolding: “It’s a crime and most of it is the Tea Party.””
Networks cited a clear implication that Republicans were not only responsible for the shutdown itself, but also for the negative consequences resulting from it. “During the first 15 days of October, the network evening newscasts highlighted 127 examples of ways the shutdown was hurting Americans — from closed national parks and furloughed workers, to children denied medical treatment for life-threatening illnesses and the suspension of death benefits for the families of U.S. soldiers and Marines killed in Afghanistan.”
Of course, networks drew a very direct line between the shutdown’s consequences with those whom they believe are responsible. “All kinds of people are getting cheated out of salaries, benefits, medical treatment,” Brian Williams said on an October 8th airing of the Nightly News.
“Virtually absent from the coverage was any questioning of the Obama administration’s tactics in implementing the shutdown. Eight stories talked about the barricading of the open-air World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., a site that is normally accessible 24 hours a day. None of the networks questioned why that particular memorial needed to be barricaded.”
The truth of the matter is both parties are ultimately responsible for not just the government shutdown, but for historically low congressional approval numbers. The only question that remains is whether or not the American people are fed up enough to stop re-electing the same group of unaccountable, reckless politicians into office once again, setting themselves up for another 4 years of near constant disapproval.