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Lis Power

Author ››› Lis Power
  • During Kavanaugh debate, conservatives outnumber progressives on the Sunday shows

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    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Conservative guests outnumbered progressive guests on four of the five major Sunday political news shows since the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh began. On the September 9 and 16 Sunday shows, 46.5 percent of guests leaned conservative while just 31.5 percent of guests leaned liberal. Additionally, 22 percent were neutral.

    Out of the 73 guests who appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation, Fox’s Fox News Sunday, NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s State of the Union, and ABC’s This Week, 34 guests were either Republicans or leaned conservative. Only 23 guests were Democrats or liberal-leaning, and 16 guests were ideologically neutral.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Of the guests who discussed Kavanaugh, 13 leaned conservative while nine leaned liberal.

    On four of the five shows -- This Week, Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday, and Meet the Press -- conservative guests outnumbered progressive guests. CNN’s State of the Union featured an equal number of right- and left-leaning guests. Fox News Sunday had the clearest partisan bias; eight guests leaned conservative while only three guests leaned liberal.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Panels on most shows tended to tilt conservative as well. Panels on both episodes of Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday tilted conservative. On Face the Nation, one panel tilted liberal while the other panel was neutral. Panels on This Week and State of the Union were all neutral.

    Sunday shows have a long history of tilting conservative -- a trend Media Matters has also highlighted in previous studies.

    Steve Morris and Tyler Monroe contributed to this piece.

  • White House chaos is overshadowing broadcast news coverage of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings

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    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    The Senate is currently in the middle of weeklong hearings to vet President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s appointment could redefine the court for decades to come, but coverage of his hearings on the CBS, NBC, and ABC morning and evening news programs has been drowned out by Bob Woodward’s book Fear: Trump in the White House and an anonymous opinion piece in The New York Times by a “senior official in the Trump administration.” Both portray an administration in utter chaos, which isn’t exactly breaking news.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Since the first day of hearings ended, broadcast evening and morning news shows have spent over twice the amount of time on the White House’s chaos as on Kavanaugh. Since Tuesday night, broadcast news shows have discussed Kavanaugh for just under 42 minutes while they have discussed Woodward’s book and the Times op-ed for one hour and 35 minutes.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    On Tuesday, Republicans pushed forward with hearings for Kavanaugh despite objections from Democrats over thousands of his documents that were not released or made available to the public. Tuesday was also the day that excerpts from Woodward’s book Fear were released. As The Washington Post put it in a headline, “Woodward’s new book reveals a ‘nervous breakdown’ of Trump’s presidency.” Wednesday, Kavanaugh again faced questioning on Capitol Hill, with the hearings lasting well into the evening. Wednesday afternoon, The New York Times published an anonymous opinion piece by a “senior official in the Trump administration.” Titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” it said some in the administration “have vowed to thwart parts of [Trump’s] agenda.”

    While Woodward’s book and the op-ed are certainly newsworthy to an extent, the overarching point of these pieces -- Trump is out of control -- was already widely accepted. In fact, many responded to the news by noting that it really wasn’t anything new and that they weren’t surprised.

    Problematic and lacking coverage of Kavanaugh has been an ongoing issue; it’s past time to start paying attention.

  • Omarosa's coverage by cable news drowned out other stories

    Cable news spent 34 hours covering the former White House aide over a 7-day period

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    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    For a week now, Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former reality show star turned White House staffer turned ex-White House staffer, has been one of the main stories on cable news. Over a seven-day period, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News spent a combined 34 hours and 28 minutes covering Manigault Newman and news generated by her. And while some of the allegations she has put forth are certainly newsworthy, the extent to which the obsessive Manigault Newman coverage drowned out major stories of national interest is staggering.

    Coverage of Manigault Newman started to kick into high gear last week when it was reported that she might have tapes from her time in President Donald Trump’s White House. What started as a slow trickle of coverage on Thursday by both CNN and MSNBC turned into a monsoon of coverage by all three cable networks as Manigault Newman began sitting down for interviews to promote her new book and made public some tapes to back up allegations made in her book. During the same time period, stories of arguably more importance received significantly less coverage.

    Media Matters tracked the amount of time devoted to coverage of Manigault Newman between August 9 through August 15. Additionally, we tracked the coverage of four other stories throughout that time period: reporting that three of President Donald Trump’s "Mar-a-Lago buddies are secretly running the V.A.”; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s attempt to roll back an Obama-era rule aimed at curbing housing segregation; any reporting about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation hearings have been scheduled even though many of his records are still not public; and the ongoing family separation crisis in which the most recent numbers show that over 500 immigrant children are still separated from their families.

    From August 9 through August 15, Manigault Newman received over 34 hours of coverage on the three cable news networks combined. MSNBC, which got a package deal of interviews with the former White House staffer, had the most coverage, spending nearly 16 hours discussing or interviewing her. CNN was next, with 13 hours of coverage, and Fox News devoted just over five and a half hours of programming to discussing Manigault Newman.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    While the three cable networks covered Manigault Newman for over 34 hours in total, the four other stories combined received just three hours of coverage.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Discussions about Kavanaugh, the nominee for the Supreme Court, amassed under two hours of coverage across the cable networks between August 9 through August 15. Fox News had the most coverage, with nearly an hour devoted to Kavanaugh. MSNBC spent nearly 40 minutes on Kavanaugh while CNN covered Kavanaugh for just over 10 minutes. This Supreme Court vacancy will have dramatic and lasting impacts on America, but it was barely able to break through the coverage of Manigault Newman.

    The ongoing family separation crisis received just over one hour of coverage in the same time period. MSNBC devoted 45 minutes of coverage to the crisis, CNN spent 18 minutes discussing the separated children, and Fox News gave just five minutes to family separation.

    New reports that were just coming out about the goings-on of the Trump administration and cronyism were almost completely lost in the Manigault Newman news. The story about three of Trump’s buddies from Mar-a-Lago (Bruce Moskowitz, a doctor; Ike Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment; and Marc Sherman, an attorney) essentially dictating policy for the Department of Veterans Affairs received just seven minutes of coverage between CNN and MSNBC combined. Fox News didn’t even mention it. Even worse, the story about HUD trying to roll back policy that aims to prevent housing segregation received only 23 seconds of coverage across the three cable networks.

    Here’s how the coverage of the stories broke down on each network:

    Tyler Monroe, Sanam Malik, Grace Bennett, Gabby Miller, Shelby Jamerson, and Zach Pleat contributed to this research.


    Media Matters searched the Snapstream video database from August 9, 2018, to August 15, 2018, looking at  the three major cable news networks -- CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC -- for five competitive stories that broke or had significant updates at the beginning of the period studied:

    1. Omarosa Manigault Newman’s new book and secret-tape revelations about President Donald Trump
    2. Announcement of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings
    3. The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy of separating parents and children at the southern border
    4. The Trump administration’s intent to change the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule that fights segregation in housing
    5. The revelations that three Mar-a-Lago club members are effectively directing policy at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the first story, Media Matters searched for mentions of “Omarosa,” including misspellings. For the second story, we searched for “Kavanaugh” (including misspellings) or “Supreme Court” within close proximity to “nominate,” “nominated,” “nominee,” or “justice.” For the third story, we searched for variations of “immigration,” “immigrant,” “children,” “family,” “parents,” “kids,” or “border” within proximity to variations of “reunited,” “reunify,” and “separate.” For the fourth story, we searched for “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” “Fair Housing Act,” “Housing and Urban Development,” “HUD,” “Carson,” or “housing” within close proximity to “segregation.” For the final story, we searched for “Moskowitz” within close proximity to “Bruce” or “doctor,” “Perlmutter” within close proximity to “Ike” or “Marvel,” “Sherman” within close proximity to “Marc” or “lawyer,” “President” within close proximity to “club,” “Veteran’s Affairs,” or  variations of “V.A.”

    For each transcript found, we timed only the relevant speech for each story. We included all mentions, teases, segments, panels, and interviews that fully or partially touched on any of these five stories, including during shows that were being reaired.

  • In the past few months, Fox News has aired live over 11 hours of Trump rallies

    That’s 83 times more coverage than CNN and MSNBC combined

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In the past week alone, President Donald Trump has held three “Make America Great Again” rallies. During the rallies, Trump disparaged the media as “fake news,” attacked his political opponents, and told demonstrable falsehoods. Fox News aired it all, carrying each rally live for its entirety.

    On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev brought up the recent trend of news channels (really, just Fox News) airing rallies in their entirety, noting, “Do news channels need to cover a rally live, gavel to gavel, for an hour and a half,” adding, “I think the answer to that is obviously no. The media has never done that for past presidents. And it is the job of reporters to be there to decide what is news and to show that to the public.” Host Brian Stelter added, “The new normal is that CNN and MSNBC don’t carry the rallies live unless there’s big breaking news. But Fox News does carry every rally live in its entirety.”

    Stelter is correct.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Since April 28, Trump has held 10 rallies. Fox News carried every single one of those rallies live for their entire duration, totalling 11 hours and 21 minutes of airtime. During that same time, CNN has not aired a single second of Trump’s rallies live, while MSNBC has aired just over 8 minutes of Trump’s rallies live. CNN occasionally cuts to correspondents during the rallies who report on what’s going on, and hosts on the network often note they’re monitoring the rallies for any news on stories of the day. Fox, on the other hand, makes Trump rallies a central part of its programming for the evening. Before the rally, Fox figures discuss the upcoming rally. During it, they show the rally. Afterward, they discuss the rally.

    Fox's obsession with Trump rallies isn't contained to just Fox News' cable network. Both Fox Business and Fox News' YouTube channel often air the rallies as well. 

    In total, by airing Trump’s rallies unfiltered and uninterrupted, Fox has essentially gifted Trump over $20 million in free advertising value, according to calculations by media monitoring service iQ media. As Trump’s rallies become increasingly about supporting Republican candidates, and himself, Fox is basically giving a big donation to the Republican party.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

  • Fox News barely discussed Trump administration’s failure to meet family reunification deadline

    Fox spent more time covering “FBI lovers” Peter Strzok and Lisa Page

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    Yesterday, the Trump administration missed a court-mandated deadline to reunite migrant children under the age of 5 with their families. Despite the administration’s failure to reunite some of the most vulnerable migrant children, Fox News barely paid attention to the story. Instead, Fox spent significantly more time discussing FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page, who have been subpoenaed to appear before congressional committees this week.  

    According to a court filing early yesterday, the federal government had reunited “only four — out of 102 — migrant children under 5 years old” who were separated from their families due to President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The government said it was in the process of rejoining about half of the children and provided a myriad of reasons the others couldn’t be reunited at this time, including that some of their parents have been deported or already released into the United States.

    On the day of the deadline, Fox News devoted just 14 minutes to discussing the Trump administration’s failure to meet the initial court-mandated deadline. In comparison, the network spent triple that amount of time discussing Strzok and Page, who were asked to testify on Capitol Hill this week. Fox has a history of fixating on the two FBI officials and promoting conspiracy theories involving them. 

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In contrast to Fox’s minimal coverage of the missed family reunification deadline, CNN and MSNBC spent significantly more time on the administration’s failure to reunite the children with their families. CNN devoted over two hours to the topic while MSNBC covered it for around an hour and a half.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Since Trump’s family separation policy is extraordinarily unpopular, it’s no surprise that Fox would devote just scant attention to the administration’s inability to correct this crisis of its own making.   

    Methodology: Media Matters searched media monitoring service SnapStream for the words “deadline,” “family,” “parents,” “kids,” and variations of the words “immigration,” “reunification” and “reunite, as well as “Lisa,” “Page,” “Strzok,” “lover,” and variants of “testify.”

  • Fox News has now given Trump over $15 million in free advertising by airing his rallies

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    On July 5, President Donald Trump went to Montana for another “Make America Great Again Rally.” Fox News not only teased the rally throughout the day, but aired the president's speech -- during which Trump lashed out at critics, took a swipe at the #MeToo movement, and gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a pass -- in its entirety.

    Fox aired the rally for an hour and 14 minutes, bringing the network’s total airtime given to Trump rallies to 7 hours and 47 minutes since April 28. According to iQ media, a media monitoring service, the advertising value of Trump’s Montana rally was $1,902,542.65. Since April 28, Fox News has gifted Trump $15,174,430.00 in free advertising by airing his rallies.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    CNN and MSNBC didn’t air any of Trump’s rally live. On MSNBC, anchor Ari Melber noted the rally would be happening, stating, “Meanwhile, Trump is doing a midterm campaign rally in Montana tonight, and we'll let you know if any actual news is made there.” Steve Kornacki, who hosted Hardball that night, aired a clip from the rally of Trump teasing his Supreme Court announcement, but didn’t air any of the rally live. After the rally, MSNBC discussed Trump’s “wild rally” with a chyron stating: “Trump goes off the rails at Montana rally”

  • Fox News has gifted Trump over $13 million in free media value by airing his rallies 

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    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Over the past two months, Fox News has aired all six of President Donald Trump’s rallies live and almost entirely uninterrupted, essentially giving the president $13 million worth of free advertising.

    Trump started holding “MAGA” campaign-style rallies after he announced in February that he’s running for re-election in 2020, in addition to attending those in support of other candidates. In the past two months, he’s held rallies in Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, Minnesota, South Carolina, and North Dakota. Trump’s speeches at these events are riddled with lies, name calling, and media bashing.

    Nevertheless, Fox has aired every single rally in its entirety for a total of 6 hours, 33 minutes, and 20 seconds of live coverage. MSNBC aired portions of Trump’s April 28 Michigan rally live for a total of 8 minutes and 13 seconds, but since then, the network has essentially ignored Trump’s rallies. CNN hasn’t aired any live footage of Trump’s rally speeches, but hosts frequently acknowledge the rallies when they are occurring, noting they’re “monitoring” them for news. CNN also frequently sends correspondent Jim Acosta to report live from the rallies. Recently, a Fox News on-screen graphic during a Trump rally called out the network’s cable rivals for not airing the president’s speech.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    By airing Trump’s rallies after he confirmed that he’s running for re-election, Fox News is essentially giving the president free ad time. According to iQ media, the just over six and a half hours of airtime that Fox News gave Trump is worth an estimated $13,271,887.35 in advertising value, while MSNBC’s 8 minutes and 13 seconds of live coverage is worth an estimated $56,736.50.

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

  • Fox & Friends covered Republicans being heckled 4 times more than it covered immigration and family separation today

    Fox cares more about conservatives’ feelings than about children being put in immigration jails

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    It was clear from its Monday edition that Fox & Friends was more than ready to move on from covering family separation at the U.S. southern border and the growing debate over immigration. Fox’s morning show devoted nearly four times as much time to Republicans being heckled and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) encouraging people to confront members of the Trump administration as the program gave to the topics of immigration and family separation.

    This morning, Fox & Friends kicked off with a lengthy segment in which co-host Steve Doocy said, “Let’s talk a little bit about what’s going on in the world of politics, and it looks like the whole world has gone crazy in some respects. There’s all this political intimidation going on. You got Stephen Miller down in Washington, couldn’t eat out, Kirstjen Nielsen couldn’t eat out, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, we’re going to talk about that in a minute.” The program then aired the comments Waters made over the weekend, in which she said, “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

    The Fox show’s first hour also included segments about people who want to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, MS-13 gang members, Hollywood elites attacking Trump, North Korea, and Jimmy Fallon. It wasn’t until the second hour of the show that the hosts even mentioned the debate over immigration and the family separations that are occuring at the border.

    In total, Fox & Friends spent nearly 24 minutes covering the report that Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant, Maxine Waters’ comments, and other instances of Republicans being heckled. Doocy even called Sanders’ expulsion from a Lexington, VA, restaurant “one of our big stories.” Not one of their big stories? The families that have been torn apart at the border. Fox & Friends devoted just over six minutes to immigration and family separation. And most of that coverage focused on tweets from President Donald Trump and attempts by Republicans in Congress to pass immigration legislation rather than on what is being done, if anything, to reunite families that the administration has separated.

    Fox’s focus on presenting Republicans as the victims of so-called liberal intolerance was made exceedingly clear by the network’s decision to actually send a correspondent to the Red Hen restaurant during its next show, America’s Newsroom. In comparison, there wasn’t a single correspondent report from any detention center during Fox & Friends or America’s Newsroom today.

  • Fox News spent more time on a report about the Clinton email investigation than immigrant children being interned at the border 


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    As outrage continues to grow over the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families, Fox News is more focused on another issue -- the inspector general’s report into how the FBI handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation. While immigration was clearly the main story on CNN and MSNBC throughout the morning and early afternoon today, Fox spent over two and a half hours discussing the inspector general’s report and carrying the second day of congressional hearings live. In comparison, Fox devoted just over an hour and a half to discussing immigration and President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from their families.

    According to a review by Media Matters, MSNBC spent 4 hours and 35 minutes covering immigration and family separation today from 6 a.m. through 1 p.m. while discussing the inspector general report for just over two minutes. CNN spent nearly three hours on immigration and mentioned the inspector general report for just under six minutes. Fox News spent 1 hour and 33 minutes discussing immigration and 2 hours and 37 minutes covering the inspector general’s report and the hearing on Capitol Hill. Fox carried the congressional hearing about the report live for nearly an hour and a half.

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    CNN’s and MSNBC’s dedication to covering family separation can also be seen by the personnel they have dispatched to Texas. MSNBC anchors Stephanie Ruhle, Craig Melvin, Chris Hayes, and Lawrence O’Donnell are all in Texas along with several correspondents. Similarly, CNN has seven crews in the region, according to CNN reporter Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources newsletter. Fox’s coverage, however, has left much to be desired. Fox News hosts have been attempting to put a positive spin on the practice of separating children from their parents, lying about what’s happening, and mocking people who are outraged by a policy that the United Nations human rights office has criticized as an “arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life” and “a serious violation of the rights of the child.”  Another difference in the coverage has been Fox’s decision to not play audio obtained by ProPublica of immigrant children in American detention facilities crying for their parents. CNN and MSNBC have played the audio repeatedly throughout their reporting.

    One thing is clear: While thousands of children are being interned at the U.S. border and separated from their families, Fox News thinks it’s more important to focus on a closed investigation into the Clinton email probe.

  • Trump administration threatens health care for 130 million people with pre-existing conditions; cable news barely noticed

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Last week, in a move that could further gut the Affordable Care Act and threaten the health insurance of 130 million people, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would not defend the provisions of the law that protect consumers with pre-existing conditions. Cable news barely took notice.

    On June 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ would stop defending in court a key provision of Obamacare that protects consumers with pre-existing conditions. This could be a life-or-death decision for such individuals, as it could allow insurers to once again deny them coverage because of their medical condition or history.

    A recent poll found that health care was a top issue for voters, and the pre-existing condition provision is the most popular provision of the law. Despite these facts, as well as the severity of the potential consequences, the unprecedented nature of the DOJ’s decision not to defend a federal law, and the fact that this is a reversal from past Trump statements, cable news spent hardly any time discussing the decision and the implications it could have for nearly 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. From the time of Sessions’ June 7 announcement through June 11, CNN spent just 10 minutes discussing the decision. MSNBC fared slightly better, spending 19 minutes on the decision, and Fox News discussed it the most, devoting 25 minutes to the news that the Department of Justice wouldn’t defend coverage of pre-existing conditions protections. Additionally, not a single Sunday political news show mentioned the DOJ's decision or the consequences that would result from it. 

    The quality of the coverage oftentimes varied. Most often, the coverage failed to offer substance, focusing more on the political ramifications than the effects on vulnerable people. But occasionally segments touched on the consequences this would have on millions of Americans. On MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes panelist Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor, noted, “There are about 130 million people in this country who have pre-existing conditions. And if they don't get insurance through their jobs, and they don't get insurance through Medicare or Medicaid, if the Affordable Care Act goes away, they're going to be out of luck. This is a very high-stakes debate.”

    On MTP Daily, Katy Tur noted that it was off-putting to be discussing something that affects so many people through a political lens: “These are people and it is their lives. And I think it is just so weird, and kind of sad, that we talk about it as, ‘Well, here’s where the politics are, and this is them trying to want to put the stake in Obamacare.’ These are people’s lives!”

    Tur is on point with her dismay over the way health care is discussed in the media, but what’s even sadder is that cable news just doesn’t seem to care enough to cover the issue in depth at all, let alone in a manner that matters.

    Methodology: Media Matters searched CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC on SnapStream for mentions of “Affordable Care Act,” “Obamacare,” “Obama care,” “healthcare,” “health care,” and “pre-existing” from June 7 through June 11 between 4 a.m. and midnight. Reruns were excluded.