Nets Devote 146 Minutes to Racist NBA Owner, Skimp on Bad News for Obama

April 30th, 2014 12:35 PM

When network journalists decide a story is important, they make sure it dominates the airwaves. Over the course of three and a half days, ABC, CBS and NBC vigorously investigated a racist rant by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, offering 146 minutes and 39 seconds of coverage since Saturday night. CBS devoted the most, a whopping 52 minutes and 13 seconds. 

NBC came in second with 48 minutes and 36 seconds. ABC was a close third with 45 minutes and 40 seconds. In contrast, important stories over the same time period that cast Barack Obama (or Democrats in general) in a bad light were buried by the network evening and morning shows.  For instance, new White House e-mails released on Tuesday show that the administration played a direct role in creating misleading talking points on the Benghazi scandal. Only CBS This Morning covered the story -- and for a mere two minutes and 50 seconds. NBC and ABC skipped it. 

In contrast to the almost 46 minutes of time ABC spent on Sterling, the network allowed a scant 18 seconds on Tuesday to its own poll finding Obama "facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency." 

More bad poll numbers for the President warranted a tiny 46 seconds on Wednesday's Today

CBS on Tuesday morning offered a mere 30 seconds to a controversial comment by Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel would become an "apartheid state" if it did not accept a two state solution with Palestine. 

This pales in comparison to the 52 minutes CBS gave to Sterling and his hateful remarks. Additionally, only CBS covered the Kerry comments at all. NBC and ABC avoided it. 

Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson's smear over the weekend that Clarence Thomas is an "Uncle Tom" and Mitch McConnell is a "racist" went unreported by the networks. 

Obviously, a bigoted rant from an NBA owner is news. Sterling's racism shouldn't be minimized or ignored. But the above examples are important stories impacting American politics and the nation. If only ABC, NBC and CBS were as interested in investigating bad news for Democrats as they are for a basketball owner, the public might be better informed. 

[Thanks to MRC analyst Jeffrey Meyer for his assistance.]