Russian television networks have reduced their coverage of U.S. President Donald Trump by four times in the past two weeks, according to a new study by the RBC news agency. As The Moscow Times has noted in recent reports, the Russian media has noticeably abandoned its previous enthusiasm for the Trump administration, as it has become apparent that many Obama-era tensions between Moscow and Washington will continue.
This new study represents the first quantitative measure of the change in coverage on Russian TV.
RBC analyzed data collected by the monitoring companies Medialogiya and Telemarker, comparing the number of times Trump was mentioned on nine major television networks: Pervyi Kanal, Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24, TV Tsentr, Pyatyi Kanal, NTV, RBC TV, Life, and Zvezda. Reporters looked a numbers from three Sundays, on Feb. 5, 12, and 19, counting all mentions of Trump, including the evening programs hosted by Russian television’s leading pundits.
On Feb. 5, Russian TV mentioned Trump 141-153 times. The next Sunday, this dropped to 86-116 mentions. Last Sunday, on Feb. 19, Trump’s name came up just 35-38 times.
According to RBC, not only has President Trump come up less on Russian television, but the reports where he is featured are increasingly unflattering. Pundits are now comparing his administration’s statements to the rhetoric of the Obama White House, and there is even growing skepticism about Trump’s commitment to cooperate with Moscow in efforts to fight international terrorism.
In an op-ed published in Deutsche Welle last week, Russian journalist Konstantin Eggert claimed that one of Russia’s largest state-owned media holding companies received new orders on Feb. 15, allegedly drafted by the government, to halt all favorable coverage of Donald Trump. This was just a day after the White House’s official spokesman, Sean Spicer, told journalists that President Trump expects the Kremlin to return Crimea to Ukraine, shocking many in Moscow.