WH: Liberal Media Gave 1 Minute to Tax Reform, 353 Minutes to ‘False Narrative on Russia’

By Annabel Scott and Michael W. Chapman | June 29, 2017 | 5:06 PM EDT

Deputy White House Press Secretary

Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  

(CNSNews.com) – During the White House press briefing on Thursday, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited data from a Media Research Center study showing that the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news shows devoted 55% of their entire coverage, since mid-May, to “pushing a false narrative on Russia.”

During the briefing, several reporters asked Sanders about a tweet by the president, in which he criticized the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, and whether  tweeting took attention away from the president’s legislative agenda.

Sanders said President Trump often tweets on policy issues but the liberal media apparently do not want to discuss those messages, only the more controversial ones about media or personalities.

“I think the president would love us all to focus on the legislative agenda a whole lot more,” she said. “You look at the coverage over the last month of the extended period between May and June, all of the major networks, if you look at their coverage and what they are talking about, they spent one minute in the evening newscast talking about tax reform.

She continued, “Three minutes on infrastructure. Five minutes on the economy and jobs. Seventeen minutes on health care, and 353 minutes attacking the president and pushing a false narrative on Russia.”

Those numbers were gathered by the Media Research Center in a June 27 study entitled TV News Is Obsessed With Trump-Russia Probe, which was published by NewsBusters, a division of the MRC.

“I mean look at that in comparison,” said Sanders.  “If you guys want to talk about legislative agenda and focus on policy and priorities, you guys get to help set that table.”

“Three hundred and fifty-three minutes of attacks against the president and driving a false narrative and one minute on tax reform,” she said.  “That’s over the course of a month. The numbers don’t lie.”

The study examined the evening news casts at ABC, CBS, and NBC from May 17 – when Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed – to June 20.

For all that coverage, the study found “353 minutes of airtime devoted to the Russia probe, or 55 percent of all coverage of the Trump presidency during those weeks.”

“The networks’ relentless coverage of Russia meant little airtime was spent on important policy topics, as the investigation garnered 20 times more attention than the new health care bill, 100 times more attention than the administration’s push to improve the nation’s infrastructure, and a stunning 450 times more coverage than the push for comprehensive tax reform,” MRC Research Director Rich Noyes inhis report.

The networks devoted less than one minute to tax reform over the course of five weeks. The economy and jobs? 5 minutes. New Cuba policy? 5 minutes. Infrastructure spending? 3 minutes.  Climate change got 47 minutes.  But the Russia/Comey investigation was the priority of the networks with 353 minutes in coverage.

“TV’s obsession with the Russia investigation flies in the race of what the public says it actually cares about,” reports Noyes. “According to a Harvard-Harris poll released late last week, ‘a majority of voters believe the Russia investigations are damaging to the country and are eager to see Congress shift its focus to healthcare, terrorism, national security, the economy and jobs.’”

“Given the disconnect, it should be no surprise that half of all voters see the media as biased against Trump,” said Noyes, “compared to only four percent who think the media are pro-Trump, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, with two-thirds of Republican respondents (68%) saying media coverage of the president is ‘poor.”

At the White House, Sanders further remarked, “The media’s focus on priorities–they don’t line up with the rest of America. Right now we’ve got our economies growing, the stock market is up, unemployment is down, jobs are back and ISIS is on the run. America is winning and that’s what we would like to talk about.

“But you guys constantly ignore that narrative.”

Disclosure: The Media Research Center is the parent organization of CNSNews.com.