As a news network, it’s no secret that MSNBC has become almost solely focused on a single beat: the Trump Administration.
Grabien News researched just how singular this focus is and discovered that over the course of six weeks, MSNBC referenced President Trump 31,871 times, averaging 758 Trump references per day, and 31 per hour, or more than one Trump mention every two minutes. And that’s just the average. On February 27th, MSNBC mentioned Trump more than twice as often, totaling 1,703 mentions (and in one show this day, Trump was mentioned an astonishing 210 times).
We thought to investigate the network’s Trump coverage after Media Matters for America released a report detailing Fox News’ coverage of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. MMFA found that FNC’s “obsession” with AOC resulted in 3,181 references of the Democratic Socialist congressman from February 25th to April 7th, a six-week timeframe.
For purposes of comparison, Grabien News used the same timeframe for our own investigation. If FNC’s coverage of AOC is an “obsession,” MSNBC’s Trump coverage is almost exactly 10 times as obsessive.
Of course, Trump is the president of the United States and will inevitably be in the news more than a freshman congressman. But setting aside AOC, MSNBC’s Trump coverage comes at the cost of covering other news of national interest. For example, over this same timeframe MSNBC mentioned “Syria” just 271 times. The crisis in Venezuela, which is much closer to home, only managed 312 mentions (and many of those were simply to mock President Trump for citing Venezuela as an example of socialism pushed to its extreme).
For comparison, CNN mentioned Trump over this same time period about 33 percent less than MSNBC, totaling 22,682 references over this same six-week span. CNN also mentioned the crises in Syria and Venezuela twice as often as MSNBC, clocking in 657 mentions of Syria and 659 mentions of Venezuela.
Fox News — which CNN and MSNBC often derisively mock as “State TV” — should presumably lead the pack with Trump coverage. Instead, the opposite is true. Fox News mentioned Trump about half as often as MSNBC over this same time period, with 18,853 total mentions. On Syria, FNC mentioned the conflict 663 times, roughly on par with CNN and twice as often as MSNBC. FNC mentioned the Venezuela crisis 1,093 times over this span, approximately double CNN’s coverage and triple MSNBC’s coverage.
What this data shows is that whenever media outlets become almost solely focused on a single topic, its consumers are deprived a broader news perspective. MSNBC devoting almost all of its airtime to Trump is perhaps the clearest example possible of this unfortunate reality. While the Trump antagonism might satisfy a short-term craving among viewers, the network’s narrow focus limits its opportunities for original, ground-breaking reporting.
Disclosure: MMFA is a Grabien client and it used Grabien databases for its report.