February and March – Iranian Media Mentions of 2020 Candidates (Update 1)
April 8, 2020
Post by Rachel Chernaskey
In FIE 2020’s first analysis of Iran’s media mentions at the end of January, we examined the ways in which state-sponsored media outlet PressTV discussed the 2020 candidates. President Donald Trump received the overwhelming majority of negative mentions from PressTV, Former Vice President Joe Biden saw the second-highest percentage of negative mentions and Senator Bernie Sanders saw more positive coverage to negative, but only by a slight margin in mentions (11% to 7%).
Since that first analysis, sentiment regarding the 2020 candidates has shown little change (see Figure 14 below). However, Iranian coverage has grown even more critical toward President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden as the race has narrowed. President Trump continues to be Iran’s least favorite candidate: He received the highest total and percentage of negative mentions, with 56% of his mentions being negative. Former Vice President Biden saw his negative mentions slightly tick upward, and he continues to receive more negative coverage (14%) than positive (5%). Senator Bernie Sanders, though he also received slightly more negative coverage than before, continues to be covered more positively (18%) than negatively (9%).
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders continue to be mentioned almost exclusively in the 2020 election context. For Biden, much of his negative coverage surfaces in the context of:
Parroting Russian talking points, a March 7 PressTV article claims that Biden is part of the “Russiaphobia hysteria that has swept the Democratic party as soon as the Hillary campaign and the DNC looked for a scapegoat for their miserable performance against Trump”
A March 6 article calls Biden a “crook” and asserts he is “in the back pocket of the Israeli lobby”
Questions about the validity of Biden’s late success
An article published on March 6 says Biden’s surge in support on Super Tuesday doesn’t “pass the smell test” and suggests the primary was rigged against Sanders to give Biden a win