Bias by the Minute

In the past 48 hours, the socialist President of Venezuela has installed a new national assembly in order to bypass his political opposition, and has begun rounding up jailing opposition leaders. In response, the United States has imposed a new round of sanctions against Maduro himself. Yet in all of 2017, NBC's Today has yet to utter a single word about the misery wrought by Venezuela's socialist, and increasingly dictatorial, government.


Venezuela’s president held a sham election on July 30 that created an assembly out of his own supporters, to bypass that country’s elected representatives and rewrite the constitution. But, inexcusably, the broadcast networks seem to be going out of their way to avoid reporting on this glaring example of how socialism inevitably turns out, if it’s allowed to continue unchecked.


During the past six months, the broadcast networks have provided massive coverage of the Trump presidency, but last Wednesday they had almost no time to let viewers know about an actual success of his administration. The President's announcement of a $10 billion investment in a U.S.-based manufacturing plant in Wisconsin drew a scant 40 seconds of news coverage on the CBS Evening News (15 seconds) and NBC Nightly News (25 seconds), while ABC's World News Tonight skipped it entirely.


Venezuela’s oppressive, socialist president hopes to seize even more power, yet the broadcast networks continue to largely ignore his country’s violent descent into dictatorship. With over 100 Venezuelans dead from the rapidly escalating violence between the government and protesters, a special vote will take place on July 30 to give authoritarian president Nicolas Maduro the power to rewrite the Venezuelan Constitution to strip legislative power from the rightfully-elected National Assembly.


As the White House becomes further entrenched in the throes of media claims of Russian collusion, it seemed only natural that the news media would have a fit of spasmodic rage when President Trump had an undisclosed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit of world leaders.


The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) evening news shows have been dominated by Donald J. Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower – a meeting in which apparently no favors, money or meaningful information was exchanged – but those same shows all but ignored Hillary Clinton’s Russia-Uranium scandal back in 2015. At the time, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was considered the favorite to win the Democratic nomination but the networks couldn’t care less. Total amount of Big Three evening news network coverage in over two years? Just 3 minutes and 1 second. 


A Media Research Center study of every broadcast network evening newscast in the five weeks since the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller on May 17 found a whopping 353 minutes of airtime devoted to the Russia probe, or 55 percent of all coverage of the Trump presidency during those weeks. The study also found one-third (34%) of the networks’ Russia coverage was based on anonymous sources, some of which later proved erroneous.


Former FBI Director James Comey has not said a single word in public, but the liberal media have been salivating for days over his upcoming testimony on Thursday. Case in point: from noon on Thursday (June 1) when the date for the testimony was set, until noon today (June 7), CNN has already devoted more than 10 hours of coverage to testimony that has yet to even occur. Their "Comey Countdown” logo first appeared at 3:01 AM on Monday – a full three days before the hearing was slated to start.


At midnight on May 31, President Trump tweeted the enigmatic “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” Despite that fact that everyone, including journalists, make typos, the media pounced. On just the morning news shows of ABC, CBS and NBC, there was a baffling ten minutes of coverage devoted to speculating about what Trump meant by this cryptic word that in context was clearly supposed to mean “coverage.”


CNN claims it’s right down the middle, somewhere between the left-wing MSNBC and the more conservative-friendly Fox News Channel. But an MRC study of an entire day of CNN’s coverage shows the network spent almost all of its time covering the Trump presidency, with a heavily skewed roster of anti-Trump guests and on-air commentators.


The major health insurance provider Aetna announced that it would be pulling out of the last two states where it still participated in Obamacare. Yet, the morning news shows of ABC and NBC completely ignored this important news story, while CBS This Morning gave it a mere 25 seconds.

This continues a longstanding network news tradition of defending the Affordable Care Act and ignoring its failures. 


In the immediate aftermath of the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) didn’t quite know how to spin it. But just 24 hours later, the narrative was clear: President Trump fired Comey because the Russia investigation was closing in on him. During their Wednesday evening broadcasts, the networks spent almost two-thirds of their Comey coverage (62 percent) pushing that theory. The networks ran 40 minutes, 25 seconds of Comey coverage, and of that, they spent 25 minutes, five seconds on the conspiracy theory.