Networks Label States’ Voter-Integrity Laws ‘Restrictive’ with 96% Negative Coverage

By Craig Bannister | June 15, 2021 | 9:42am EDT
(Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

Network (ABC, CBS, NBC) news coverage of new state laws designed to weed out illegal voting has been overwhelming negative, characterizing the measures to ensure voter integrity as “restrictive,” a new NewsBusters study reveals.

The analysis of network news coverage from March 1 through June 10 found that 96% of the statements made about the state voter-integrity laws were negative:

On ABC, CBS and NBC, our study found that the coverage was relentlessly — almost unanimously — negative. Taking into account statements from reporters, anchors, and non-aligned sources (such as soundbites from voters and experts), but excluding identified Democrats and Republicans, we found just three positive statements about the Republican-sponsored laws, vs. 75 negative statements.

That translates into a stupendous 96% negative coverage for the GOP-sponsored laws.

Networks framed the states’ efforts to prevent illegal voting as “voter suppression” or Republican efforts to restrict voting rights:

  • CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell falsely talked about “Republican efforts to curtail voting rights.”
  • ABC World News Tonight’s David Muir warned viewers about “Republican-led efforts in state legislatures across the country to pass laws restricting voting.”
  • NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt: “Georgia’s GOP-backed new law restricting voting rights.”
  • CBS’s O’Donnell reported that “the NAACP says it’s suing the state of Florida for its new voting restrictions law signed today.”
  • ABC’s Kenneth Moton labeled a proposed Texas law “one of the most restrictive voting bills in the country.”
  • ABC’s Steve Osunsami: “Black and brown voters are screaming that this [Georgia’s law] is voter suppression.”

Regarding the new Georgia law, NewsBusters has published a brief video debunking false media claims, such as those equating it to “Jim Crow” laws.

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