NBC Devotes Nearly Four Minutes to Dress Debate, Seconds to Clinton Corruption

On Friday, NBC finally noticed the corruption scandal swirling around Hillary Clinton. However, the coverage on the Today show was relegated to a 49-second mention within a story slamming Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. By contrast, the morning show devoted 3 minutes 56 seconds to a social media debate about the color of a dress.

Downplaying the Clinton controversy as something ginned up by partisan critics, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Conservatives seized on The Washington Post report that seven foreign governments donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, violating an ethics agreement made with the Obama administration."

O'Donnell noted jabs at Clinton during the Conservative Political Action Conference: "With all the fire of a Texas barbecue...Ted Cruz turned up the heat on Hillary Clinton." A soundbite played from Cruz: "Hillary Clinton embodies the corruption of Washington." O'Donnell added: "Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina called out Clinton several times." A clip played of Fiorina blasting the former secretary of state: "She tweets about women's rights in this country and takes money from governments that deny women the most basic human rights."

On Thursday, none of the network evening newscasts covered the scandal, and only CBS This Morning mentioned the front-page Post story in a 32-second news brief.

On Friday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer wrapped up the long dress debate segment by acknowledging what a waste of time it was: "You know, now I look, you know what I see? That we have dedicated three minutes of air time to this dress. Enough." Fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie joked: "I see the fall of civilization as we know it."

If this is how the media handles a presidential contender having major conflicts of interest with foreign governments, Guthrie may not be far off.

At least Today covered the questionable Clinton fundraising on Friday, ABC continued to ignore it on Good Morning America and CBS This Morning had already moved on from the story.

Here is a transcript of O'Donnell's brief February 27 coverage of the scandal:

7:08 AM ET

(...)

O'DONNELL: With all the fire of a Texas barbecue...

SEN. TED CRUZ [R-TX]: We could have had Hillary here, but we couldn't find a foreign nation to foot the bill.

O'DONNELL: ...Ted Cruz turned up the heat on Hillary Clinton.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Conservatives vs. Clinton; GOP Hopefuls Attack Hillary at Conference]

CRUZ: Hillary Clinton embodies the corruption of Washington.

O'DONNELL: Conservatives seized on The Washington Post report that seven foreign governments donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, violating an ethics agreement made with the Obama administration. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina called out Clinton several times.

CARLY FIORINA: She tweets about women's rights in this country and takes money from governments that deny women the most basic human rights.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC