Dana Milbank Proves Biden Coverage Is As Negative As Trump's

Dana Milbank Proves Biden Coverage Is As Negative As Trump's

See, this story alone proves why you should support our fund drive. Because media bias is such an insidious thing, and it’s sites like ours that keep it front and center.

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who’s really done some great work during the Trump era, wrote a column this weekend that really shouldn’t be controversial — but it is. His fellow journalists are pulling the wagons in a circle and insisting it’s not true.

It isn’t just Politico. My impression of other outlets’ coverage of President Biden had been much the same: unrelentingly negative. Was it my imagination?

No, it wasn’t.

Artificial intelligence can now measure the negativity with precision. At my request, Forge.ai, a data analytics unit of the information company FiscalNote, combed through more than 200,000 articles — tens of millions of words — from 65 news websites (newspapers, network and cable news, political publications, news wires and more) to do a “sentiment analysis” of coverage. Using algorithms that give weight to certain adjectives based on their placement in the story, it rated the coverage Biden received in the first 11 months of 2021 and the coverage President Donald Trump got in the first 11 months of 2020.

The findings, painstakingly assembled by FiscalNote vice president Bill Frischling, confirmed my fear: My colleagues in the media are serving as accessories to the murder of democracy.

Yep. Turns out, Biden’s press coverage for the past four months has been as bad as — and for a time worse than — the coverage Trump received for the same four months of 2020.

Let that sink in. Joe Biden is being treated the same as Trump, whose criminal behavior was a daily occurrence in plain view.

Politico’s coverage of Biden was THREE TIMES AS NEGATIVE as its overall coverage in November, our sentiment analysis found, @RyanLizza

— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) December 5, 2021

Politico’s Ryan Lizza played defense:

I disagree. I think the WP has a lot to be proud of. Its Biden coverage has been stellar and it certainly shouldn’t be accused of being pro-authoritarianism or pro-lies because some robots said it had a more negative tone towards Biden in recent months. https://t.co/XQRCeoHp8q

— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) December 5, 2021

It’s interesting that Germany’s Axel Springer completed its takeover of Politico on Oct. 18, and that’s exactly when Politico took its sharply negative turn against Biden. Maybe this explains the pushback from @RyanLizza

— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) December 5, 2021

Here’s what’s meaningful: This study shows that the media overall over the last four months has been as negative on Biden or more so than it was on Trump in the same period last year when Trump was actively undermining our democracy. Do you dispute this? https://t.co/rTzHoOyxqi

— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) December 5, 2021

Sorry, buddy. Not going to join you in name calling. I think you are a top notch journalist and so are your Playbook colleagues. But your headlines over the past month have been awful. That’s why I quoted them.

— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) December 5, 2021

Biden is attempting to salvage democratic norms. The people opposing him are using fascist tools of deception and voter disenfranchisement. Neutrality in this struggle is not a virtue. https://t.co/EwmkbbxUlX

— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) December 5, 2021

Twitter denizens like Dan Froomkin and Margaret Sullivan sided with Milbank:

The most important part in examining media bias is story selection. What they cover and, more importantly, what they choose to ignore

— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) December 4, 2021

Now, bloggers knew from the very beginning not to trust Politico. (I still remember their sad little booth at a D.C. conference where they were trying to sign people up.) And to this day, I still cringe when I have to cite them for a story.

But as Milbank points out in his piece, none of the major publications get bragging rights when it comes to Biden coverage. So no, you’re not crazy, they really are trying to create false equivalency between Biden and the fascist. And as we know, people care about what the media tells them to care about.

And that’s why Crooks and Liars will always point it out. If we survive.

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