MRC president Brent Bozell appeared near the top of “The Kelly File” on Fox News Channel Monday night to discuss the liberal media’s sudden ardor for Dawn Zimmer, the Democratic mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, who claimed Gov. Christie was handing out federal superstorm-Sandy subsidies in a corrupt and politicized way. Kelly noted she would not answer questions from Fox News.
Kelly pointed out the MRC “has been doing the TV analysis,” and the picture is not pretty: 30 minutes of Big 3 network coverage over the weekend. The discussion began this way (video, transcript below):
KELLY: Brent Bozell is founder and president of the Media Research Center. His group has been doing the TV analysis. Brent, good to see you. That's the question. Mayor Zimmer is, she's gone on MSNBC, she's gone on CNN, she has not gone on Fox. We have asked her repeatedly, and it's tough to think, okay, she's got no ax to grind. If she won't come on all three of the major cable networks, why wouldn't she come on and answer fair questions here?
BOZELL: Because you know what's going to happen to her when she does. She went to MSNBC with this story because she concluded, correctly so, that MSNBC would give her nonstop coverage. The coverage has been not to be believed. Just this segment of it. Not the bridge story, just this segment alone in the last two days, 30 minutes time, 30 minutes on the national networks on the news, which is beyond overwhelming. Because she knew she would get that. The thing that they didn't do, Megyn, was to vet this woman, to ask some clear questions.
Brent did single out NBC’s Michael Isikoff, for at least paying attention to shifting statements from Mayor Zimmer. Kelly also played a clip of former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw saying the American people wonder about the intensity of this story: “I do think that across the country, however, when they're looking at long-term unemployment and they're looking at the uncertainty of the Obamacare, they're saying, ‘Got to move on, guys. I do wonder if this had happened in Nevada whether it would have gotten much attention.”
When Kelly asked for his thoughts, Bozell replied: “I think we’re losing our mind. Tom Brokaw is chastising MSNBC while Dan Rather is defending Fox. I love this. The fact that Tom Brokaw would come forward and say what he said shows how out of control it is.”
The charges from Mayor Zimmer began on MSNBC’s “Up With Steve Kornacki,” and he spent all four hours of his weekend airtime obsessing about Bridgegate. The new allegations were featured on NBC Nightly News and Today from Saturday night to Monday morning -- ten segments in all (including news briefs), totaling more than 20 minutes of airtime.
ABC's Good Morning America ran full stories on Sunday and Monday, plus coverage on Sunday's World News (4 segments, totaling more than 6½ minutes). CBS, whose weekend newscasts were pre-empted by sports, did not pick up the story until Monday's CBS This Morning, which added nearly 3 minutes to the network totals. Overall, coverage on the Big Three morning and evening newscasts since Saturday evening: 30 minutes, 6 seconds.
ABC 4 segments 6 minutes, 49 seconds
CBS 2 segments 2 minutes, 57 seconds
NBC 10 segments 20 minutes, 20 seconds
TOTAL 16 segments 30 minutes, 6 seconds
In contrast, those same newscasts have devoted less than half of that airtime to coverage of last week's Senate report on Benghazi (just 14 minutes, 49 seconds). Since July 1, ABC, CBS and NBC have given just two minutes, 23 seconds to the IRS scandal.
The networks' pattern with Democratic scandals going back to the Clinton years is to minimize the coverage and look for ways to attack the character of those making charges. So with Obama scandals like Fast & Furious, Benghazi and the IRS, the networks have let those stories drop for long periods of time, and mocked those who were pursuing them as partisan.
The Christie case shows the media still know how to investigate a story, when they choose to. The bias is in the raw enthusiasm they have for going after what is essentially a statewide story, while they seem utterly uninterested in the national scandals coming out of Washington.