PEW: Nearly 50% of Mainstream News Stories About Biden Mention Trump


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New data analysis from the Pew Research Center shows that nearly 40 percent of all news stories about Joe Biden mention former President Donald Trump.

The figure remained consistent between outlets with differing political leanings. Publications with “right-leaning audiences” mentioned Trump in 47 percent of stories about Biden. “Mixed audience” publications also came in at 47 percent, while “left-leaning” publications reached 50 percent. Pew Research Center states, “A Trump reference includes all mentions of him, but not of members of his family or general references to his administration.”

The media coverage of President Biden has been analyzed since his administration took over. In the first two days post-inauguration, roughly 72 percent of stories about the new administration mentioned Trump, and that figure moved to 60 percent in the following week.

The fact tank’s report reads, “During weeks three through six (Feb. 1 to 26), Trump references appeared in around half of stories. They then fell to 30% in week seven (March 1 to 5).” During this week, the media reported on new stimulus check limitations, the COVID-19 relief plan, and the ending of mask mandates in Texas and Mississippi. The study ended on March 21, with the final weeks settling around 40 percent. 

Trump was less likely to be mentioned in stories regarding COVID-19, as the Biden administration increase vaccine distribution efforts. Pew Research Center writes, “About six-in-ten stories that mentioned COVID-19 in a minor way (61%) also referenced Trump. The same was true for more than half of stories that did not mention the virus at all (56%). But the percentage falls to 34% among stories that mentioned COVID-19 in a major way.”

References to Trump were more common in Biden stories concerning leadership rather than policy. “More than half (56%) mentioned the former president. In comparison, 44% of stories framed around Biden’s policy agenda acknowledged Trump in some way.” The study’s methodology for the report can be found here.

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