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Donald Trump is right! Coverage of his administration is much more negative than other presidents.

Why do you think that is?

President Donald Trump holds out his hands as he departs the White House for Bedminster, New Jersey for a weekend trip. Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

When Donald Trump isn’t talking to the media, he loves to complain about the media. So he may very well love this media story about the media: A new study finds that news stories about the Trump administration have been much more negative than those about earlier presidents.

Pew Research Center studied the first 60 days of Trump’s presidency and found that 62 percent of mainstream (more on that later) coverage of the administration reached “negative assessments.”

That compares with 20 percent negative coverage during Barack Obama’s first two months, and 28 percent during Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s first two months.

Here’s a handy chart, easily turned into an angry tweet:

And here’s the exact same data in a bar graph, for people who don’t like pie graphs that much. Like Recode editor in chief Dan Frommer:

Things to think about:

  • Pew isn’t surveying all media here — It is surveying some media that existed at the beginning of the Clinton Administration and that are still around today. Its pool includes the New York Times, the Washington Post and Newsweek, as well as the broadcast TV networks’ nightly newscasts.
  • Pew says the news outlets it did sample for this comparison are more negative than the broader sample it has used for other studies it has conducted about Trump and the news media in 2017. That latter group reflects the way media has changed since 1992 (!) and includes cable news outlets, radio broadcasts and big online publications. That also means it includes more ideological outlets like HuffPost, Breitbart, MSNBC and the Independent Review Journal.
  • Worth repeating: Note that Trump’s numbers are much more negative than his two Democratic predecessors and the last Republican president.

Code Media is coming to Huntington Beach, CA, Feb. 12-13.

If you make media, monetize it or get it in front of people, you’ll want to be there.

If you are Trump, or one of the people Trump retweets, you are still likely to look at this chart as proof that the odds are stacked against you. This is why you need Twitter! (And Fox News! And Breitbart! And the IJR! And Drudge!)

On the other hand, it is very reasonable to argue that the reason coverage of Trump has been negative is because Trump’s behavior has been negative. I’m not going to spend time making that argument here, but it’s the argument I believe.

Here’s one version of that argument, delivered by CNN this summer:

And here’s another, shorter version of that argument, once again in handy chart form, once again from Pew: A comparison of the way Americans viewed new presidents in their early days in office. Again, note that Trump fares much worse than all presidents, Democrat and Republican, going back to 1981:

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