The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks, CNN and MSNBC joined Twitter and Facebook in suppressing a bombshell New York Post story posted on morning of October 14, alleging new evidence of Hunter Biden’s corrupt business dealing with Ukraine and Joe Biden’s potential knowledge of it.
For Wednesday, October 14 and Thursday, October 15 MRC analysts looked at the ABC, CBS, NBC evening and morning shows, plus ABC’s and NBC’s townhall events with Joe Biden and President Trump, as well as CNN and MSNBC’s coverage (6am through midnight ET). Out of a total of 92 hours of news programming, there was less than 10 minutes (9 minutes, 47 seconds) spent on the latest scandal involving Joe Biden’s son, or less than 0.2% of the available airtime.
ABC and CNN spent ZERO seconds on Hunter Biden.
NBC spent just 45 seconds on Hunter’s emails. CBS led the broadcast networks with still a meager four minutes, 28 seconds.
MSNBC spent the most amount of time on the latest Biden family scandal coming in with a still insignificant four minutes, 34 seconds of coverage during a 36-hour period.
Even when journalists mentioned the story, they devoted much of their time to knocking it down.
NewsBusters’s Kyle Drennen reported on network skepticism:
On Thursday, CBS This Morning finally noticed story, but only to dismiss the report. “Plus, how the President is trying to revive an old attack line, using the Vice President’s son,” co-host and Democratic Party donor Gayle King announced at the top of the show. Moments later, her fellow co-host Anthony Mason repeated the claim of it being old news: “Yesterday, the President held a rally in Iowa, where he tried to revive an old line of attack against Joe Biden based on suspicious new claims linked to Rudy Giuliani.”
She then touted: “The Biden campaign said the allegations were false and noted that an investigation by Senate Republicans had cleared the former Vice President of any wrongdoing in Ukraine.” The headline on screen blared: “Trump Seizes on Hunter Biden Claims; Biden Campaign Says Allegations Reported in NY Post Are False.”
In addition, Reid warned viewers: “The story’s sourcing has also raised questions about its authenticity, as the files were given to the Post through an attorney for the President’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and allegedly obtained from a repair shop owner who said the device was allegedly left and never picked up.”
Reid uncritically related the outrageous attempts by social media companies to censor the story:
“Twitter and Facebook have limited the distribution of that Hunter Biden story and last night Twitter appeared to suspend the Twitter account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany when she tried to share that story. Now Twitter clarified they have taken that action because the article contained images of personal information like private e-mail addresses and what Twitter classified as hacked material. Sharing hacked and private information violates Twitter’s rules.”
On the October 15 NBC’s Today show, White House correspondent Hallie Jackson largely avoided any of the unflattering details for the Bidens as she downplayed the news: “...this is a questionably-sourced story, to say the least, it appeared in a tabloid, that President Trump and allies are really trying to seize on here, alleging that Joe Biden may have had a meeting that was set up with somebody that Hunter Biden worked with on this Ukrainian company.”
She actually cited the Biden campaign as a way of fact-checking the story:
“Now, the story is so dubious – and we should note, by the way, that the Biden campaign says that meeting was never on Biden’s official schedule. But Facebook and Twitter made moves to try to limit the spread of this story. And the Washington Post is reporting that some intelligence experts think this has the hallmark of like a disinformation campaign meant to interfere with the election.”
Co-host Savannah Guthrie very quickly and blandly acknowledged controversy surrounding the social media bans: “And extraordinary because Twitter’s CEO also said Twitter should have communicated better about why it was taking down the content.”
Joe Scarborough scoffed about the Hunter Biden report over on the October 15 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
“And by the way, Mika, when there is a New York Post article that is false, it’s much better for Twitter to let people read the New York Post article and sit there and laugh at the hokie story of a computer repairman looking at a computer going ‘This sure does look suspicious to me. I’m gonna call Rudy Giuliani.’ Like let that out. Okay? Because people read this story, and then they’ll go -- this is really one of the stupidest October surprises I’ve ever seen before. What did he have, x-ray vision?...‘This don’t look right. Wonder if America’s Mayor could take a look at it?’ Who thought of that? Who even thought to make that story up? It is hilarious! Oh my God!”
MSNBC host Joy Reid invited The Bulwark’s editor Charlie Sykes to bash the President on the October 14 edition of MSNBC’s The Reid Report: “When he’s [Donald Trump] also then relying on Russian disinformation laundered through the New York Post, you get a sense of somebody who has just….who’s lost his instinct, who’s lost the narrative.”
(For this study analysts looked at CNN and MSNBC’s broadcast days starting at 6am through 12 midnight ET on October 14 and October 15. Analysts also viewed ABC’s World News Tonight, Good Morning America and their 2-hour townhall event with Joe Biden; CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning; NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today show and the Today show Third Hour and their 1-hour townhall event with Donald Trump).