Shocker: ABC, NBC, and CBS Pretty Much Buried First Day Of Menendez Corruption Trial

Posted: Sep 09, 2017 5:45 PM

A Democratic Senator is on trial for corruption. The composition of the U.S. Senate could be altered by its outcome. Will Senate Democrats push for his resignation if he’s convicted? How will this impact tax reform, infrastructure, hurricane relief packages, and immigration? Well, we don’t know because the big three—ABC, NBC, and CBS—decided not to devote much coverage on it, effectively burying it. Newsbusters, an arm of the Media Research Center that tracks liberal media bias, said that a whopping 22 seconds were devoted to the story on CBS This Morning on Wednesday, the day the trial started. ABC’s Good Morning America decided to give the new season of Dancing with the Stars 22 minutes and 39 seconds of coverage:

While ABC and NBC on Wednesday continued their silence on the bribery trial of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, CBS This Morning allowed a scant 22 seconds. This was the first time all year CBS even mentioned the scandal swirling around the New Jersey politician. ABC and NBC haven’t touched the trial…

This Morning co-host Gayle King briefly explained, “The New Jersey Democrat is accused of doing political favors for a Florida eye doctor in exchange for campaign donations and very lavish gifts. Both Menendez and the doctor denied the allegations and both have pleaded not guilty.”


Over on NBC’s Today, the four-hour-long program devoted 4 minutes and 18 seconds to “fall fashion bargains.” But nothing to Menendez. CBS This Morning deserves credit for touching the story at all, but not too much. It was only 22 seconds. As a comparison, the show allowed 5 minutes and 5 seconds on the Broadway play Hamilton.

In 2014, when the Bridgegate allegations exploded around another New Jersey politician, Republican Christie, the three networks devoted 88 minutes in less than 48 hours.

As for the big three on the first day of this trial, their evening coverage goes as follows, courtesy of the Washington Free Beacon [emphasis mine]:

"CBS Evening News" led off with a story about Hurricane Irma, followed by:

-Houston's recovery from Hurricane Harvey

-Trump's $1 million donation for Harvey relief

-The latest on Trump's cancellation of the DACA program

-Trump's deal with Democrats on raising the debt ceiling

-Violence in Chicago

-Hillary Clinton's upcoming memoir on her election loss

-Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett's claim of police misconduct in Las Vegas

-Safety ratings for pickup trucks

-Wildfires in the western United States


"NBC Nightly News" also began with Irma, followed by:

-FEMA's financial struggles to keep up with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

-Republicans blindsided by Trump's deal with Democrats

-Western wildfires

-Michael Bennett

-A shoplifter in Texas escaping handcuffs and stealing a police car

-The latest on the U.S. Open

-A young boy who got a police escort to school after his father, a cop, died

-A woman making her wedding registry about donations to others

"ABC World News Tonight" began with Irma, followed by:

-Trump's deal with Democrats

-The latest on DACA

-The Texas shoplifter's escape

-Michael Bennett

-Facebook revealing $100,000 in political ads bought by fake accounts based in Russia during the election

-A safety recall on dressers

-Jo Dee Messina revealing her cancer diagnosis

-A plane flying by Hurricane Irma

To its credit, cable news networks, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, have covered the trial, though their audience is dwarfed by that of the big three, who reach 24 million Americans nightly. But hey, a Democrat is in trouble so; it’s not really newsworthy, right? So far, Menendez, like Clinton, has been viewed as kryptonite for his fellow Democrats, who have either refused to comment, ignore questions for comment, or admitted they haven't followed the trial closely. Menendez is facing various charges of bribery and corruption, accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from a friend, Dr. Salomon Melgen, in exchange for being able to use the senator's office for his benefit. If Menendez was Republican, this would be all over the news media. Yeah, looking at you, NBC News.  

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