During the January 6 hearings, CNN and MSNBC would condemn Fox News in the harshest and most hyperbolic of ways if it chose to not cover the them live. However, when it came to Wednesday’s House Oversight hearing on two IRS whistleblowers alleging improper interference in the Hunter Biden investigation, the two networks did not cover the hearings live. Worse than that, the networks spent nine times as much coverage on all things related to Donald Trump, including a possible third indictment.
An MRC analysis of CNN and MSNBC found that during the six-hour hearing from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern, the two combined for exactly 25 minutes of coverage, which included reporting, soundbites, and interviews. By contrast, coverage of Trump, including the target letter related to January 6, the arrest of 16 fake electors in Michigan, reports Trump took ancient Israeli artifacts with him to Mar-a-Lago, and other Trump legal drama, clocked in at three hours, 48 minutes, and 23 seconds or 9.1 times more total coverage.
MSNBC was by far the worst offender, giving the IRS whistleblowers only four minutes and 19 seconds, which all came in the 3:00 p.m. Eastern hour on Katy Tur Reports. Trump coverage clocked in at two hours, 32 minutes, and 40 seconds or 35.4 times the amount spent on the hearing. The IRS whistleblowers were not just buried beneath all things Trump. Here are eight additional topics MSNBC spent more time on than the Oversight hearing:
- Live press conference on Carlee Russell: 21 minutes, 36 seconds
- Abortion: 12 minutes, 54 seconds
- Extreme heat: 8 minutes, 34 seconds
- President Biden “trolling” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene by putting her in an ad: 7 minutes, 27 seconds
- Unrelated topics during interview with Big Daddy Kane and Pass the Mic: 4 minutes, 47 seconds
- Accusations against the Texas DPS: 4 minutes, 41 seconds
- Ron DeSantis, the Florida National Guard, and his plan to end wokeness in the military: 4 minutes, 29 seconds
- General 2024 election analysis: 4 minutes, 21 seconds
Meanwhile, CNN spent 20 minutes and 41 seconds on the hearing with coverage in every hour except during the second hour of The Lead with Jake Tapper (which began at 5:00 p.m. Eastern). However, roughly half of that time came during one interview with GOP Rep. Pete Sessions during the 3:00 p.m. Eastern hour of CNN News Central.
CNN’s Trump coverage totaled one hour, 15 minutes, and 43 seconds or 3.7 times the amount spent on the whistleblowers. Unlike MSNBC, the hearing did constitute CNN’s number two story during the length of the study.
When the focus of a congressional hearing is a Republican, the CNN and MSNBC will turn themselves into C-SPAN, but when it’s a Democrat, it is a very different story.