The news over the past week has been virtually non-stop coverage of Donald Trump. There is no question that the revelations which first confirmed everything suspected about Donald Trump’s view of women and then led to multiple reports of Trump sexually assaulting women deserves major coverage. However, there have also been revelations from the email leaks about major dishonesty and corruption regarding Hillary Clinton which the media has given a small fraction of the coverage to.
A media reporter for The Hill has demonstrated how one-sided the coverage has been:
In viewing recordings by The Hill of each major network’s evening newscasts, which are watched by an average total of 22 million to 24 million people nightly, the newest batch of WikiLeaks revelations was covered for a combined 57 seconds out of 66 minutes of total air time on ABC, NBC and CBS.
Those leaked emails include derogatory comments about Catholics by senior Clinton campaign officials and more disturbing examples of collusion between the media and her campaign It’s newsworthy stuff) —
On the other hand, allegations from four women of unwanted sexual advances by Trump were covered a combined 23 minutes.
Add it all up, and one presidential candidate’s negative news of the day was somehow covered more than 23 times more than another candidate’s negative news of the day.
It’s understood what has always sold in this business: sizzle always trumps steak, sex always triumphs over substance. If you told me the coverage was 2-1 or even a 3-1 ratio of Trump to Clinton, you wouldn’t be reading this column right now.
But a story winning the lead over another is one thing. Devouring it to the point of almost total omission via a more than 23:1 ratio is quite another:
“NBC Nightly News” with Lester Holt devoted zero seconds to the Democrat and Wikileaks on Thursday night.
“ABC World News Tonight” with David Muir gave it the same time as a shot clock in college basketball: 30 seconds.
“CBS Evening News” with Scott Pelley when 27 seconds with the story.
To put the importance of evening news editorial into context, the size of the its collective audience each night trounces the highest-rated program on CNN. In Wednesday night’s case, that was “Anderson Cooper 360,” with 1.925 million viewers. On MSNBC, it was “All in with Chris Hayes,” with 1.926 million. On Fox News, it was “The O’Reilly Factor,” with 3.728 million.
Add all of those up, and it’s just shy of 7.6 million, or about one-third the number of people watching ABC, NBC and CBS, the networks presenting — in theory, anyway — straight news stories without the opinion and conjecture that dominates cable news…
Somewhere around 23 million people absorbed Trump getting pulverized for 23 minutes across the Big Three broadcast network evening newscasts.
Less than a minute combined was devoted to damaging documents pertaining to Clinton.
There are probably two different reasons for this discrepancy. First, sex sells. This might justify giving top billing, and possibly even more time, to the stories on Trump. It does not justify virtually ignoring the stories pertaining to Clinton. Secondly, the people in the news media generally prefer Clinton over Trump. Regardless of whether this opinion is justified, this is just bad journalism.
There is also an important reason to place Clinton under more scrutiny. Hillary Clinton will most likely be the next president. The chances of Trump winning are now very remote. Clinton’s history of corruption is directly relevant to what we need to be on guard against for the next four years.
The media has also done a great job of digging into Trump’s past. As I noted at the time of the second presidential debate, once Trump claimed that the leaked video which started this was all talk, he opened himself up to being contradicted by any women who would come forward with stories of actually being sexually assaulted by him.
If only the media would do a better job of looking into Clinton’s past. Donald Trump touching women’s bodies without their consent is inexcusable, but so are the bombs dropped on women (along with children, and men) in wars promoted by Hillary Clinton, often under false pretenses, also inexcusable.
Hillary Clinton pushed for the Iraq war based upon false claims of ties between Saddam and al Qaeda after failing to even read the intelligence material made available to members of the Senate–information which led some other Senators to oppose the war. She similarly orchestrated regime change in Libya with the facts contradicting her arguments for war. She pushed for intervention in Syria on rather irrational grounds, and now joins with other neocons in pushing for further aggression against Russia.
Certainly this is also something of significance for the media to explore, even if less titillating than the stories on Donald Trump.