The Pew Center conducted content analysis of the first days of President Donald Trump’s tenure, and found that the president was correct about negative coverage by the media. The study found that 62 percent of the coverage was negative for Trump, while only 5 percent was positive. However, coverage of Barack Obama's in early 2009 was 42 percent positive and 20 percent negative.
During their presidencies, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had higher negative than positive coverage early in their administrations, but not nearly to the extent evident during the Trump administration. Clinton registered 28 percent negative coverage and 27 percent positive in 1993, while Bush ‘43 had 28 percent negative and 22 percent positive in 2001.
According to the Pew organization, media coverage of Trump was focused on his “character and leadership” as opposed to his policies. The Washington DC-based organization showed that only 2 percent of stories from media outlets with a right-leaning audience refuted statements made by Trump or his administration, while 15 percent of stories carried by left-leaning outlets questioned the administration. Pew’s director of journalism research opined that the study shows that which media consumers turn to have implications for what they learn about Trump.
The Pew study examined online general news sites with at least 20 million average unique monthly visitors, in addition to cable networks CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, as well as evening news from the broadcast networks and PBS. Top talk radio shows and National Public Radio were included.
It was conducted from Jan. 21 to April 30 and examined 3,000 news stories across 24 media outlets. The study that measured how positively the media covered Trump was conducted over the first 60 days of the administration, comparing a smaller sub-set of outlets to make sure it was comparable with the Clinton era.