Mike Cohen Pardon

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters


We ran the numbers: There are 62 news articles covering this topic. 58% (36) are left leaning, 10% (6) center, 13% (8) right leaning, and 19% (12) articles were from sources not analyzed by Nobias.

The most recent White House legal controversy centers around whether Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former attorney, asked the President for a pardon. Last week, Cohen testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on a number of topics concerning his time employed by Trump. Last Friday, Trump tweeted that Cohen had asked him for a pardon. Half an hour later, Cohen replied on Twitter, denying the accusation.

Almost all news coverage of this story focused on the he-said-he-said aspect of the story, emphasizing the believability of different sources. Articles we identified as center often focused on the larger implications of Cohen’s testimony and what topics remain unaddressed, with headlines such as “The Big Unanswered Questions After Michael Cohen's Capitol Hill Marathon” (NPR).

Articles identified by us as left-leaning were more likely to focus readers’ attention on the various different rhetorical disagreements or Cohen’s specific accusations or on past statements of Trump’s that had misleading or factually incorrect content. Some such articles featured headlines like: ““The Trump team’s double standard on lying” (Washington Post),” “Trump and Cohen Bicker Over Who Obstructed Justice or Perjured First” (The Daily Beast),  and “Michael Cohen Slams Trump’s Women’s Day Tweet By Bringing Up Stormy Daniels” (HuffPost).

Right-leaning articles, on the other hand, were more likely to analyze the contradictions within Michael Cohen’s testimony. Some of these articles also covered the insider politics within the Democratic Party, drawing attention to potential ulterior motives behind media coverage — e.g.  “Jordan blasts Michael Cohen over pardon revelations, urges Dem chairman to back DOJ review of testimony” (Fox News) and “Lanny Davis says Michael Cohen had previous lawyer pursue Trump pardon, contradicting testimony” (Washington Times).