Bias by the Minute

On Tuesday, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York broke the news that the whistleblower that sparked the Trump-Ukraine impeachment push had a “significant tie to one of the Democratic presidential candidates.” Total broadcast news coverage of this stunning revelation: A meager 38 seconds on Wednesday’s edition of NBC’s Today show. 



In just ten days (September 20 through September 30) the broadcast networks overwhelmed their evening and morning shows with more than 7 hours of coverage devoted to a whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the ensuing calls for impeachment. Only 46 minutes of that coverage referenced Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s sweetheart deal with a Ukranian company. 



While the liberal broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC have spent nearly 32 minutes (31 minutes, 47 seconds) hyping the disintegrating bombshell against Justice Brettt Kavanaugh over the past three days, they have withheld from viewers how Christine Blasey Ford friend (and supposed corroborating witness) Leland Keyser now states that she has does not believe Ford’s account.



Since 9:00 am ET Sunday morning, CNN and MSNBC have spent nearly four hours of airtime peddling dubious new charges of misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh that allegedly took place when he was in college. The claims were first published by The New York Times late Saturday night.



The MRC found ABC’s World News Tonight awarded a majority of its news coverage to just one candidate: former Vice President Joe Biden. The ten candidates who will be appearing on tonight’s debate stage — Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Julian Castro and Andrew Yang — collectively received 96 percent of the airtime, while, a majority of the other candidates received less than 60 seconds of airtime on ABC’s evening newscast



From June 1 through August 31, the networks devoted 838 minutes of airtime — nearly 14 hours — to coverage of President Trump personally, and the spin of his coverage during these three months was 90% negative. Meanwhile, the 21 Democratic candidates shared 187 minutes of evening news airtime this summer, less than one-fourth of that of Trump alone, with spin that was friendlier than their coverage of the President.



In the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have exploited those tragedies to advance their anti-gun rights agenda. In just five days (August 4 through August 8) of coverage, the networks filled their morning show programs with statements favoring gun control over gun rights by a ratio of roughly 17 to 1.



In the 31 months since the President took office, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts alone have spent an astounding 2,634 minutes covering the investigations into alleged Russia collusion and obstruction of justice. Yet these newscasts have barely mentioned some of the crucial unresolved questions surrounding the investigation’s bias.



On June 13, 2017, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News spent a combined seven minutes (6 minutes, 59 seconds) playing up and glorifying the ill-fated lawsuit. But on Wednesday, they could barely be bothered to report on the outcome; 40 seconds total, with 18 seconds belonging to ABC and the rest going to NBC (22 seconds).



President Trump made more headlines Wednesday night after he told ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos that he would be fine with taking “oppo research” on his 2020 opponent from foreign countries. This comment drew criticism. But during their almost two hours and 30 minutes of prime time coverage, or hair-on-fire panic, neither CNN nor MSNBC cared to mention that that’s exactly what the Clinton campaign did in 2016 with the now-infamous dossier.



On Wednesday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a new abortion bill that is being called more radical than New York’s law that was passed in January. So far none of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) have reported on the Illinois law that – among other things – does away with that state’s ban on partial birth abortions. 



TV news coverage of President Donald Trump was as hostile (92% negative) in May as it was in the months immediately before Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report in March. And despite the fact that Mueller concluded there was no campaign conspiracy with Russia, TV news delivered three times as many stories talking about "impeachment" as before the report was issued.