Numbers Don’t Lie: Media’s Near Non-Existent Menendez Trial Coverage
Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial is now in its final phases, but much of the mainstream media have yet to cover the story on the air for even a second.
Newsbusters’ Mike Ciandella reported Tuesday that CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC have so far only reported the New Jersey Democrat’s alleged corruption scandal on a minuscule scale. The trial has consisted of 62 days of testimony, closing arguments and, most recently, jury deliberations.
CNN has devoted just 36 minutes to the trial, 14 minutes and 35 seconds of which was done by Jake Tapper between his two shows, “The Lead” and “State of the Union.” Other CNN hosts, including Wolf Blitzer, Kate Bolduan, John King, Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Fareed Zakaria and Brian Stelter have thus far completely ignored Menendez’s corruption charges.
Evening news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC haven’t covered the trial at all. The networks’ morning shows, which only draw about half the number of viewers as their evening news programs, covered the trial for just over a combined two minutes.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” spent 1 minute 48 seconds on the trial while “CBS This Morning” devoted just 22 seconds to the story. NBC’s “Today” has not covered the trial at all.
The Newsbusters study is just the latest example of why most Americans distrust the media.
While CNN and the networks have devoted a considerable amount of air time to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, even before any formal charges were announced, they failed to provide adequate coverage to Menendez, even though the Democrat already faced formal federal charges.
This is not to say that the media should not have focused at all on the Russia investigation. In fact, they were right to keep on the story. However, for a supposedly “nonpartisan” and “unbiased” media to gain and keep the respect and trust of the American people, they must report news — positive and negative — involving both sides of the aisle.
Until that happens, we will continue to see further division and polarization in this country.
In the words of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, “A free country cannot last without a free press; and a free country cannot last, for long, without a fair press.”