Trump has a point with media criticism
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Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpWait until working-class voters realize they've been betrayed by Trump budget White House, ethics office feud escalates Poll: More people view NATO favorably MORE has gone thermonuclear on the media in a way we've never seen from any political figure — or any public figure — before.
 
From a Trump rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday:  
"It's one of the great political phenomenons. The most powerful weapon deployed by the Clintons is the corporate media, the press. Let's be clear on one thing: The corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism. They are political special interest no different than any lobbyist or other financial entity with a total political agenda — and the agenda is not for you, it's for themselves. Their agenda is to elect crooked Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump, Clinton campaign aides launch their own bids Hannity: I won't discuss Seth Rich story for now "out of respect for the family" Clinton slams Trump's budget: 'An unimaginable level of cruelty' MORE at any cost, at any price, no matter how many lives they destroy. For them, it's a war, and for them, nothing at all is out of bounds. This is a struggle for the survival of our nation. Believe me."
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Reaction to Trump's critique of the media by many left-leaning media members and advocates was about what one would expect, referring to it as dangerous and dark and totalitarian and conspiratorial and just about every other word from the 2016 Hyperbole Style Guide. Those conclusions, of course, are just air without any real foundation in terms of numbers or data to support it. 

Speaking of data, try this on for size: 

In viewing recordings by The Hill of each major network's evening newscasts, which are watched by an average total of 22 million to 24 million people nightly, the newest batch of WikiLeaks revelations was covered for a combined 57 seconds out of 66 minutes of total air time on ABC, NBC and CBS.
 
Those leaked emails include derogatory comments about Catholics by senior Clinton campaign officials and more disturbing examples of collusion between the media and her campaign It's newsworthy stuff) — 

On the other hand, allegations from four women of unwanted sexual advances by Trump were covered a combined 23 minutes. 

Add it all up, and one presidential candidate's negative news of the day was somehow covered more than 23 times more than another candidate's negative news of the day. 

It's understood what has always sold in this business: sizzle always trumps steak, sex always triumphs over substance. If you told me the coverage was 2-1 or even a 3-1 ratio of Trump to Clinton, you wouldn't be reading this column right now. 
 
But a story winning the lead over another is one thing. Devouring it to the point of almost total omission via a more than 23:1 ratio is quite another: 

"NBC Nightly News" with Lester Holt devoted zero seconds to the Democrat and Wikileaks on Thursday night. 

"ABC World News Tonight" with David Muir gave it the same time as a shot clock in college basketball: 30 seconds. 

"CBS Evening News" with Scott Pelley when 27 seconds with the story. 

To put the importance of evening news editorial into context, the size of the its collective audience each night trounces the highest-rated program on CNN. In Wednesday night's case, that was "Anderson Cooper 360," with 1.925 million viewers. On MSNBC, it was "All in with Chris Hayes," with 1.926 million. On Fox News, it was "The O'Reilly Factor," with 3.728 million. 

Add all of those up, and it's just shy of 7.6 million, or about one-third the number of people watching ABC, NBC and CBS, the networks presenting — in theory, anyway — straight news stories without the opinion and conjecture that dominates cable news. 

And that's why it matters to pay attention to this kind of stuff when listening to Trump charge the media with bias. 

It's one thing to lazily dismiss it as Trump simply blaming the messenger for a campaign heading in mostly the wrong direction in the polls partially due to self-inflicted wounds. 

It's another to actually take the time to dive into the numbers to see if there's some beef here or just empty calories. 

From the looks of the coverage, we're looking at the kind of burger once advertised on "The Simpsons": 18 ounces of sizzling ground beef, soaked in rich, creamery butter, and topped off with bacon, ham, and a fried egg. 

Somewhere around 23 million people absorbed Trump getting pulverized for 23 minutes across the Big Three broadcast network evening newscasts. 

Less than a minute combined was devoted to damaging documents pertaining to Clinton. 

When looking at the numbers, Trump may actually have a point.
 
Concha is a media reporter for The Hill
The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill