Big Three Networks Devote a Scant 36 Seconds to Obama's 'Lazy' Gaffe

According to Politico, Barack Obama's "lazy" gaffe is "catching fire," but you wouldn't know that if you got your news from the major networks. The President's remark, made at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Hawaii on November 12, that "We've been a little bit lazy" in attracting "new business into America" received a grand total of just 36 seconds on the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) morning and evening news shows. In contrast, Herman Cain's long pause -- when answering a question about Libya on November 15 -- generated 11 segments on the Big Three networks in just two days. This, of course, was on top of the Big Three's frenzy over women accusing Cain of sexual harassment.

The tiny bit of coverage of Obama's "lazy" remark came during Kelly O'Donnell's report on Monday's Today show. O'Donnell initially played a soundbite of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticizing the President and then offered the official Obama campaign response.

The following excerpt from O'Donnell's November 14 Today show report represents the sum total of coverage of Obama's "lazy" gaffe on all the Big Three networks:

KELLY O'DONNELL: Campaigning in South Carolina, Mitt Romney stayed focused on President Obama.

MITT ROMNEY: I don't think that President Obama understands America. Now, say that because this week, or was it last week, that he said that Americans are lazy. I don't think that describes America.

O'DONNELL: Now, the President had used the word "lazy" when he was talking to CEOs, saying that the U.S. should have done more to attract business here. Now other Republicans have jumped on that "lazy" word too. But the President's re-election campaign only responded to Romney saying that when he was CEO he was more concerned about out-sourcing than helping the middle class. Ann?

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.