Are congressmen four times as important as the President? CNN spent over four times more airtime questioning claims made by Rep. Michele Bachmann against President Obama than it did on President Obama's falsehood on the sequester.
Three weeks ago, CNN reporter Dana Bash corrected President Obama's statement that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester. Her report aired four times on CNN that weekend, for a total of three minutes of coverage. In contrast, Bash's confrontation with Bachmann got over four times more coverage this week.
When Bash pursued Bachmann and pressed her over "accusations against the President that were either questionable or untrue," CNN aired the story six times on Wednesday alone, totaling over 14 minutes of coverage.
CNN followed that up on Thursday touting Fox News host Bill O'Reilly criticizing Bachmann. Host Anderson Cooper revisited the Bash-Bachmann confrontation as he fact-checked another Bachmann claim.
While CNN simply fact-checked the President's falsity, anchors added some color to Bash's pursuit of Bachmann. As Don Lemon put it:
"All right, this is really something. You've got to see this. Remember Michele Bachmann? That's her in green right there. Doesn't look happy, does she? Michele Bachmann once led the Republican field in the 2012 race for president, for a short time. But she's back to being a member of Congress. Her area of expertise now, making accusations and making headlines."
Anchor Carol Costello tied Bachmann to the rest of the GOP: "My question this morning, how does making false claims about President Obama impact the Republicans' re-branding efforts?"
On Thursday, CNN anchors revived the story by touting Bill O'Reilly's criticism of Bachmann. Fredricka Whitfield reported, "Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is taking heat for her claims about lavish spending by President Obama....Bachmann's claim drew fire from one of her fellow conservatives, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News."