Overruled: CBS, NBC Spend a Combined 30 Seconds on Judge's Criticism of Mueller

May 7th, 2018 9:47 PM

Despite the liberal media’s obsession with Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, the most recent development in the case barely even registered on their radar. When a federal judge rebuked Mueller’s team and called their methods into question, network news gave the story conspicuously little attention. Across all of prime time evening news shows, ABC, CBS, and NBC spent a combined total of just 153 seconds on the judge’s comments.

MRC analysts examined all evening news broadcasts that aired on the three networks between May 4 and May 7 of 2018 for coverage of the hearing. No network made any mention of the story after Friday night, and even then CBS and NBC barely acknowledged it. Their combined coverage amounted to a mere 30 seconds – 16 seconds for CBS and 14 for NBC. ABC actually aired a full segment about the hearing, which amounted to 123 seconds of coverage, but they too dropped the story after Friday.

By comparison, all three networks made ample time to discuss Rudy Giuliani’s recent slew of television appearances. On Friday night, ABC spent twice as much time on Giuliani (266 seconds) as they did on the judge’s remarks. Between the 4th and the 7th, ABC and CBS spent a respective 788 and 405 seconds on the former mayor. NBC managed to avoid discussing Giuliani all weekend (though their Saturday evening news show was bumped for the Kentucky Derby); their Friday and Monday coverage totaled 127 seconds.

This paltry sum of airtime that the judge's comments received is particularly unusual in light of the attention network news have routinely given the Mueller probe. In March, the MRC published a study which found that networks had spent more time on the Russia investigation than on the next two most-covered news stories combined in early 2018.

So why the anomaly?

A possible explanation for the disparate coverage would be the difference in how each story looks for the Trump administration. One constitutes positive press for Trump, the other negative.

It is also worth considering that Giuliani has given additional interviews since Friday, which would make his television apperances a more current story. Although the judge's comments at the Manafort hearing were significant, the story was a once-off occurrence.