MRC Director of Media Analysis and NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham appeared on the June 10 edition of FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor to document the broadcast networks’ double-standard on congressional sleaze stories. When the story first broke, ABC, CBS and NBC refused to cover the Weiner “sexting” scandal, and their overall weekday evening news coverage had amounted to less than a dozen stories as of last Friday.
But back in 2006, Graham noted, the networks pounced right away on the similarly sleazy actions of a congressional Republican, Mark Foley, which were a focus of five times as many evening news stories (55) in the first 12 days, even though Foley had quit Congress almost immediately.
(Video and a partial transcript below the fold)
Host BILL O’REILLY: Tim, you’ve seen most of these reports. I have it here. ABC World News Tonight ran four Weiner stories in two weeks. CBS ran just two. This is during the week. Two Weiner stories. NBC Nightly News, five Weiner stories....
MRC’s TIM GRAHAM: You know, all of these networks, with this kind of amount of coverage, is really, really dramatically pathetic when you compare it — if you put a Republican in the other side. I mean, we can go back and look at 2006, in the Mark Foley case, Mark Foley, of course, the minute that ABC reported this story of his creepy Internet messages to pages, resigned almost immediately. And there were 55 stories in those first 12 days on the evening newscasts, 55.
O’REILLY: Fifty-five in 12 days? Really?
GRAHAM: So it tells you there’s a real difference in the amount of aggression.
O’REILLY: I’m amazed....Good research, Tim. And I do believe that if it were — if Weiner were a Republican, they would have come after him much harder.