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During the September 29th, 2020 Presidential debate held in Cleveland, OH, Donald Trump said to Joe Biden:
“They give you good press, they give me bad press because that’s the way it is, unfortunately” — Donald Trump
Until now, this assertion by Trump has been hard-to-impossible to prove or disprove. But a new media study released by Import.io has shown that the POTUS is correct in this assertion — to a degree.
The study by Import.io analyzed 49,682 news stories from the web sites of 1,571 U.S.-based, English-language news organizations. This huge data set represents coverage through September 1st through October 7th that mentions Trump, Biden, or Trump and Biden. The data was measured in terms of both volume and tone.
Here’s what they found:
Trump & Biden Coverage — Not Overwhelmingly Positive
Neither candidate has predominately positive coverage, but Trump’s is certainly more negative in tone.
The timeline shows Biden in Blue and Trump in Red. Certain events like Trump praising SCOTUS Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Trump’s own diagnosis with COVID-19 did create a temporary lift in sentiment toward Trump — but it was short-lived.
Media sentiment timeline — Trump vs. Biden
TL;DR analysis — Neither candidate has greatly positive coverage but Trump’s coverage is more negative and swings more wildly around key events.
Trump gets far more coverage…
Since September, there have been 5x the number of stories about only Trump vs. stories about only Biden. If you factor in stories that mentioned both candidates, Trump still gets x2 the amount of coverage.
Volume of coverage — Trump vs. Biden
TL;DR analysis — Trump may not evince great sentiment from media, but he is great at being talked about.
More facts to consider:
The media sentiment towards both candidates took a negative turn immediately following the first Presidential debate.When Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Oct. 2, it was the biggest day in terms of media coverage of the 2020 US Presidential election, followed by September 30th, the day after the first Presidential debate.After the announcement that Trump contracted COVID-19, coverage spiked for Trump (but not for Trump/Biden or Biden alone) and Trump’s sentiment score reached an all-time high.The elevated media sentiment score for Trump continued in the days during his hospitalization but then dropped again upon his return to the White House
As pundits on both sides marvel at the mass appeal of this highly polarizing President, these figures beg the question — is it true that all news is good news? It remains to be seen, and the remaining weeks running up to the campaign are likely to be full of surprises.
Import.io extracts and analyzes web data at scale for global companies. To learn more about the methodology of the study, check out the company’s blog entry.
*Article uses original composite image made using campaign web site imagery.
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