If you blinked during ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday, you literally may have missed the morning show’s reporting on the resignation of Minnesota Senator Al Franken. That’s because the coverage of the prominent Democrat stepping down over numerous sexual harassment allegations lasted only two seconds. That’s not exaggeration, a two-second mention of Franken’s name was all the broadcast could manage.
“We’re gonna move on now to the growing crisis over sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill. Overnight, Republican Congressman Trent Franks resigned, the third legislator this week. Right on the heels of Al Franken and John Conyers,” co-host George Stephanopoulos told viewers. Did you catch that? “Right on the heels of Al Franken,” that was what GMA thought was an acceptable amount of coverage for a Senator and prospective Democratic 2020 presidential candidate ending his political career.
Other than a “D” appearing next to Franken’s and Conyers’s names, the word “Democrat” was never uttered.
Instead, Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce focused the entirety of her report on the resignation of “Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, one of the most conservative members of the House,” over his request to female staffers about needing a surrogate to carry his child.
Stephanopoulos had promised that Bruce was “tracking all the fallout on Capitol Hill,” but apparently that only applied to Republican scandals.
Following that segment, reporter Tom Llamas devoted a full report to an interview with one of the sexual harassment accusers of Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. With the discussion that followed, coverage of the Moore scandal received over four minutes of air time, a staggering 120 times more attention than was given to Franken.
In sharp contrast, on Friday, CBS This Morning devoted 1 minute 28 seconds to Franken’s resignation, while NBC’s Today provided the most coverage at 2 minutes 52 seconds.
On Thursday, ABC’s World News Tonight did provide a full report on Franken’s departure, but most of it was spent touting how the liberal lawmaker took a “parting shot” at Republicans.
GMA’s bias by omission on Friday was brought to viewers by Target, Quaker Oats, and Google.
Here is a full transcript of Bruce’s December 8 segment:
7:09 AM ET
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re gonna move on now to the growing crisis over sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill. Overnight, Republican Congressman Trent Franks resigned, the third legislator this week. Right on the heels of Al Franken and John Conyers. Our Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce is tracking all the fallout on Capitol Hill. Good morning, Mary.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Third Lawmaker Resigns Over Misconduct Claims; Franks to Step Down Amid Looming Ethics Probe]
MARY BRUCE: Good morning, George. Three members of Congress have now quit in just three days. The latest to go, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, one of the most conservative members of the House. In a lengthy statement, he admits to discussing surrogacy with two female staffers while he and his wife were trying to have children.
Now, Franks is adamant that he did not have any sexual contact with his staffers, but he does say, “I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others.” Now, the Speaker’s office says Paul Ryan learned last week of, quote, “Credible claims of misconduct” and asked Franks to resign. Franks made that announcement last night, after the Ethics Committee said it planned to investigate. George?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And there are more ethics investigations to come. Mary Bruce, thanks very much.