Scandal coverage is the most obvious subject to demonstrate a pro-Democrat bias, and live coverage of scandal hearings is even more obvious.
When the Pelosi-Picked Panel on Jan. 6 held hearings, they were broadcast live on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News (unless they were in prime time, then Fox Business). All these channels devoted more than 20 hours of airtime to a panel that was unanimously anti-Trump. The witnesses were unanimously negative on what Trump did. The hearings were so scripted that there was no moment where anyone said a thing that an average Republican would say in the Grand Old Party’s defense.
None of these networks feel the need to replicate this level of Pelosi pandering now that Republicans hold the House. None of these networks would replicate that pattern of omnipresence for Senate hearings where Republicans might “own the libs” in the Biden administration from the minority.
We can imagine that the media elite would defend itself because Jan. 6 was epic, maybe worse than Sept. 11, or that kind of nonsense. It’s more honest to imagine that the liberal networks loved these hearings because they were unanimous and carefully scripted with neatly edited videos. You can despise what happened on Jan. 6 and still be upset with the double standard.
On July 19, the House Oversight Committee — with both parties represented — held a hearing with two IRS whistleblowers who alleged that the Biden Justice Department interfered dramatically with the Hunter Biden investigation. Not only did no network outside C-SPAN cover this afternoon hearing live for hours on end, but some networks didn’t even report that the hearing happened.
ABC identified itself as a Mickey Mouse news outfit by airing nothing on “World News Tonight” or “Good Morning America.” National Public Radio made a mockery of its evening news title “All Things Considered,” and also skipped it on “Morning Edition.”
Even some national newspapers let democracy die in darkness. Yes, that means The Washington Post didn’t have a story in its July 20 newspaper. USA Today didn’t either, but that’s because they close down their reporting for the next day’s paper in mid-afternoon. Both these papers had front-page Trump-scandal stories on July 20.
Alex Christy of the Media Research Center found that during the six-hour hearing from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. EST, CNN and MSNBC combined 25 minutes of coverage of the IRS whistleblower testimony. In the same frame, the two networks covered Trump scandals for three hours and 48 minutes — a more than 9-to-1 discrepancy.
It’s a little misleading to combine this duo, since MSNBC did 35 times as much anti-Trump coverage, and CNN’s ratio was “only” 3.7-to-1.
Even networks that covered the hearing betrayed a slant. Both Jake Tapper’s CNN show and the “PBS NewsHour” showed competing sound bites of a whistleblower (“Bidens behaved badly”) and Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin (“You’ve got nothing on the Bidens”). The House Republicans are in the majority, but the Democrat news outlets don’t feel like they deserve a sound bite.
Hearings like these are an opportunity for journalists to demonstrate whether they are dedicated to covering congressional hearings organized by both political parties, or whether hearings are only “newsworthy” when the Democrats run them. It’s disappointing that Democrat-run hearings are considered far more newsworthy. It’s shameless when “news” outlets try to pretend hearings never existed. It feels like the pre-election suppression of the Hunter Biden scandals is permanent.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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