President Joe Biden was inaugurated more than four months ago, but it seems some in the mainstream media remain fixated on his predecessor.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, former President Donald Trump’s name showed up in nearly half of all stories about the Biden administration between Inauguration Day and March 21.
Trump continues to dominate coverage
Notably, the phenomenon was slightly more common among left-leaning media outlets than conservative ones, with 5o% of progressive publications including Trump’s name compared to 47% of right-wing sources.
The greatest number of Trump references came during the earliest days of Biden’s term and soon began to taper off. Even as late as the first week in March, however, 1 in 3 stories still contained some mention of the former commander in chief.
Whether Trump was included appears to depend on the topic of the article in question. Although pieces related to the COVID-19 pandemic were less likely to feature him, he showed up in 56% of those dealing with the current president’s “leadership or character.”
Other topics — including Biden’s political skills and immigration-related issues — were even more likely to be reported alongside some mention of Biden’s predecessor.
Ratings fall for cable news networks
One reason for the continued attention afforded to Trump could be evidence that cable news ratings have sharply declined in the months since he left office.
As The Hill reported last month, Nielsen ratings showed just 868,000 viewers tuned in to MSNBC for the week ending April 25 — a far cry from the 1.3 million household viewers who watched the network in the last week of January.
CNN took a similar hit, dropping from 1.2 million viewers to 749,000 over the same period. Its ratings fell again in May by about 100,000, according to Adweek.
Both networks capitalized on opposition to the Trump administration and his absence from the White House might have given them fewer opportunities to stoke viewer interest.
Fox News Channel has also seen a decline in its viewership since Trump left office, though it has been notably less dramatic.
Of course, Trump might be able to provide the media with some relief, as he’s signaled in recent days that he plans to begin holding campaign-style rallies again in the next few months.