Media Reality Check
Occasional compilations and studies, from the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division, documenting distorted coverage and/or media omissions. Archive on MRC.org has the full text posts of Media Reality Checks from 2015 and earlier.
Today marks the official release of fired FBI director James Comey’s new book A Higher Loyalty and the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks already have done their part to boost its sales, packing a total of two hours, 24 minutes in five days of coverage on their evening and morning news programs.
As James Comey’s book exploded onto the scene, CNN pumped the breaks on its “Facts First” campaign to revisit perhaps the most salacious claim contained in the Steele dossier. Specifically, the dossier alleged that Donald Trump had paid ladies of the night to micturate upon one another in Moscow, and that the Russian government had taped the horrific escapade. To date, no aspect of these allegations has been substantiated in any capacity.
The hype for James Comey’s book tour (set to launch on ABC Sunday evening an hour-long George Stephanopoulos special) began last November 2 when CBS’s Gayle King teased it during an interview with the former FBI director. And while liberal journalists are clearly hoping for Comey to dish dirt on President Trump, there was a time when they hammered him as a partisan hack whose investigation into then-candidate Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal was sneaky sabotage of an all-but-certain Democratic victory in 2016.
Traditionally, the news media have demonstrated great interest in movies with social or political themes, but so far Chappaquiddick has been completely ignored by CBS This Morning, while NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America have each featured only a single segment about the film.
Since Sunday night, the liberal media have been haranguing network affiliate owner Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) for a new “must-run” promo that warned against “biased and false news.” The two have slammed it as Trump-backed “state-run TV” on par with the former Soviet outlet Pravda that's “chilling,” frightening” and “a really embarrassing moment for journalism.” A NewsBusters study examined the two cable networks on April 2 found that CNN spent 76 minutes and 42 seconds while MSNBC hyperventilated for nearly twice as long at 134 minutes and 42 seconds.
The news media’s obviously insatiable appetite for scandal news surrounding Republican President Donald Trump is sharply at odds with their aversion to covering such stories about Democratic President Bill Clinton two decades ago. From March 7 through March 25, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts aired 23 reports about various allegations involving President Trump, totaling 40 minutes of airtime. None of Clinton's accusers ever had that kind of media attention lavished on their claims.
Saturday’s “March for Our Lives” represents the culmination of more than a month of the liberal media’s seemingly endless parade of soundbites and interviews featuring the strident and, at times, vicious anti-gun statements from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, teachers, parents and their allies in the Democratic Party. Looking just at the airtime of soundbites in these stories and interview segments, gun rights opponents received 71.5 minutes, roughly eleven times more coverage than pro-gun rights voices (6.5 minutes).
It’s been nine days since Hillary Clinton, on a visit to India, disparaged the voters who elected Donald Trump as President in 2016. This weekend, some Democrats openly broke with Clinton over the comments, while the ex-candidate herself felt the need to engage in a bit of backpedaling in a Facebook message posted Saturday afternoon. Given the blowback, you’d imagine that the broadcast networks would have found at least a few moments for this controversy. You’d be wrong.
NewsBusters analyzed MSNBC’s coverage of the first eight hours that followed after both the Flynn and McCabe stories broke. Within these designated periods, the network spent a total of 379 minutes (78.9 percent of the full eight hours) discussing Flynn’s alleged transgression, but only 21 minutes (4.4 percent) on McCabe’s, amounting to roughly 18 times more coverage of Flynn.
Put simply, CNN has a porn problem. For the so-called “Facts First” network, the President’s alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels has become their new missing Malaysian plane with exhaustive coverage and speculation. CNN took it to another level on Saturday, devoting roughly 41 minutes to her Friday performance at a Florida strip club.
At the Jeffrey Zucker-led CNN, they can be trusted to go all-out whenever they find a news story that they deem worth obsessing over. Whether it was the missing Malaysian plane or Sam Nunberg, CNN has proven itself incapable of covering more than one topic at a time. On Wednesday, CNN’s primetime programming showed that with over 149 minutes pushing the Trump scandal involving porn star Stormy Daniels and another 86 minutes on other Trump-related scandals.