Networks Spend More Time on GOP Staffer Comments Than Gruber Scandal

On Sunday and Monday, the broadcast networks seized on the personal Facebook comments of mid-level congressional staffer Elizabeth Lauten criticizing the Obama daughters – devoting over 14 minutes of national news air time to the controversy in the period of two days. However, it took those same networks several days to even notice the video comments of ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber crediting "the stupidity of the American voter" for passage of the law – providing only 8 minutes of coverage to the much larger scandal.

NBC's Today and Nightly News gave the Lauten story 6 minutes 13 seconds, nearly three times what they gave to the Gruber story (2 minutes 23 seconds). ABC's Good Morning America and World News Tonight offered 2 minutes 37 seconds, double the 1 minute 6 seconds they allocated to the Gruber video.

CBS This Morning and Evening News featured 5 minutes 23 seconds of Lauten coverage. After the Gruber video went viral on November 10, it took CBS four days to get to the story, with a full report on the November 13 This Morning and another full report on Evening News that night, totaling a combined 4 minutes 39 seconds.

NBC didn't notice Gruber's offensive comments until November 17, with a report on Today. NBC Nightly News has yet to mention Jonathan Gruber.

ABC didn't cover Gruber until November 18, with a report on World News Tonight. Good Morning America has ignored the story.

Amazingly, NBC, ABC, and CBS gave Lauten approximately 70% more coverage than Gruber.

When the networks saw the opportunity to attack an unknown Republican staffer for a personal posting on social media they found the air time. In contrast, when a central Obama advisor was caught undermining the President's signature legislation, the same media outlets provided only the bare minimum of coverage and quickly moved on.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC