Networks Blame Trump for Rally Violence, Ignore Protesters

By a 46-3 margin.

No surprise here: Newbusters reports that all three broadcast networks have made the violence surrounding Donald Trump’s rallies the near-exclusive focus of their campaign coverage. Equally unsurprising: an analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC news coverage found that their reporters placed 94% of the blame on Trump and his campaign, while virtually ignoring the leftist protesters such as those who forced the cancelation of Trump's event in Chicago.

MRC analysts examined network morning and evening show coverage from Saturday morning through Monday morning — 45 segments totaling nearly 85 minutes of airtime. They found that reporters specifically criticized the Trump campaign for its handling of the issue 46 times as opposed to blaming the protesters just three times. Newsbusters broke it down:

On Monday’s Today show, for example, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell compared Trump to a 1960s segregationist: “Trump’s rhetoric now being compared to George Wallace, who split from the Democratic Party in 1968.”

[...] ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Saturday morning's GMA said he thought it was fed by Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric: “This is absolutely astounding but I have to say it’s also not entirely surprising....Often you feel like there is incitement that is coming from the candidate himself.”


On Saturday’s Today show, NBC News campaign reporter Ali Vitali acknowledged that the goal was not to protest Trump, but to silence him: “In the arena last night, across the ground floor, there were multiple sections that were just filled with protesters ready to disrupt and with the goal of disrupting and even cancelling this rally, getting Trump to say that he won’t be here in downtown Chicago.”

That night on ABC’s World News Tonight, correspondent David Wright similarly explained how “Trump haters infiltrated the arena, bent on disruption.” He then played a soundbite from a demonstrator: “Donald Trump is not welcome in Chicago, and we’re going to make that clear today.”

On CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday, longtime media critic Steven Brill commented on the media's double standard:

“I want to say this very narrowly, because this does not excuse Mr. Trump from inciting violence, it does not excuse everything else he’s doing in his campaign. I do think that if Trump supporters, by the dozens or hundreds, planted themselves at a Hillary Clinton rally or a Bernie Sanders rally and stood up and disrupted it, and that was their intent, that the press would cover that differently. So in that sense, I think Trump has a point.”

Media bias? What media bias?