If American news consumers believe the media's coverage of politics has taken a sharp turn to the negative, it's not their imagination. Pew Research has provided an extensive overview of the news coverage of the Trump presidency, and it concluded it is the most negative of any president's in the survey's 25-year history.
The firm categorized two dozen news outlets by the political demographic of their audiences. As Pew Research explained:
For this study, researchers categorized 24 news outlets into three groups by the political makeup of their audiences: Outlets whose audience – as measured using Pew Research Center surveys – consists of two-thirds more members who are right of center politically than left, two-thirds who are more left of center than right, and outlets with a more evenly distributed audience base.
The organization surveyed 3,000 news articles from the first 100 days of the Trump presidency and coded them “positive,” “negative,” and “neither.” Here are the striking results:
News stories about the Trump presidency were 5 percent positive for left-leaning audiences, 6 percent positive for mixed audiences, and 31 percent positive for right-leaning audiences.
By comparison, the evaluation of news stories about President Donald Trump's three predecessors shows just how stark the pro-Democratic turn has become in the U.S. media:
It is remarkable the Clinton and Bush presidencies show a relatively comparable balance in terms of positive, negative, and neither coverage. On the other hand, the media gave former President Barack Obama unusually glowing coverage: 42 percent positive reportage to 20 percent negative reportage. President Obama proportionally drew eight times the positive coverage of President Trump and one-third as much negative coverage.
In addition, the news media has shifted largely away from reportage on policy issues and has tended to focus on issues regarding President Trump's character. Half of the news stories about Obama focused on policy issues; this is down from 65 percent under Bush and 58 percent under Clinton. Only 31 percent of news stories about the Trump administration are focused on policy.