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Gosar tweet reveals a double standard in cable news’ coverage of extremism and civility

In 2019, cable news devoted more attention to a Democratic congresswoman cursing than it's now giving to a Republican congressman tweeting an anime video of killing a colleague

  • On Sunday night, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted out a video in which an anime version of Gosar kills Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). As their colleague Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) noted, “In any workplace in America, if a coworker made an anime video killing another coworker, that person would be fired.”

    Yet Gosar’s tweet has been ignored by his Republican colleagues and received scant attention on cable news. In the day and a half since he sent it, CNN has covered the Republican’s actions for 15 minutes in 6 segments, MSNBC has covered it for 21 minutes in 3 segments, and Fox News hasn’t even mentioned it. 

    The coverage of Gosar’s tweet in cable news once again reveals a double standard in how the outlets treat issues of extremism and “civility” between the two parties. In 2019, the day after Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) cursed at a private event, cable news devoted over two and a half hours to discussing the topic. 

    At the time, Media Matters noted that cable news coverage of then-Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) embrace of white supremacy received significantly less coverage. We see the same here with Tlaib and Gosar. 

  • Tlaib King cable news
  • The day after Tlaib cursed, CNN, feeding off manufactured outrage from Republicans, devoted over an hour of coverage to the story. That’s more than three times the coverage the network has given to Gosar’s tweet. Similarly, MSNBC’s 38 minutes of coverage of Tlaib outpaces the network’s 21 minutes of coverage of Gosar. 

    And while Fox News hasn’t found Gosar’s video about killing Ocasio-Cortez newsworthy, over the same period the network has spent nearly 30 minutes discussing a tweet from Ocasio-Cortez about the word “woke.” 

  • Fox News @ Night / AOC
  • Methodology

  • Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC for any of the terms “Gosar,” “Ocasio-Cortez,” “AOC,” “Biden,” or “Lycos” within close proximity of any of the terms “Attack on Titan,” “anime,” “cartoon,” “video,” “Twitter,” “tweet,” “attack,” “sword,” “murder,” or “woke” or any variation of either of the terms “kill” or “violent” from November 7 through 12 p.m. November 9, 2021.

    We timed all segments when either Gosar’s anime tweet or AOC’s “woke” tweet was the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of either tweet. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed either tweet with one another. We did not include passing mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker mentioned either tweet without another speaker engaging with the comment, or teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promoted a segment about either tweet scheduled to air later in the broadcast. We rounded all times to the nearest minute.