Mar-a-Lago, route, plane, Trump tower

Research/Study Research/Study

As Trump leaves for his arraignment, CNN and MSNBC air near-constant b-roll of his plane and motorcade

  • Cable news networks CNN and MSNBC went all out airing b-roll of former President Donald Trump’s modes of transportation on Monday, as he made his way to New York City for arraignment in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.

    During coverage of Trump’s case between noon and 1:30 p.m. ET, both networks showed a near-constant stream of b-roll images and videos of Trump’s short trip from Mar-a-Lago to the airport — whether it was images of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s motorcade, Trump’s plane, or Trump Tower. In total, during the 90 minutes, MSNBC aired b-roll of Trump’s journey to New York for arraignment for 66 minutes, while CNN aired similar imagery for 48 minutes. 

    Viewers were treated to seemingly endless videos and images of Trump’s motorcade, Trump’s plane sitting on the tarmac, and later, Trump’s plane taking off and disappearing into the sky. 

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 4, 2023, edition of CNN Newsroom

  • The breathless imagery associated with Trump harkens back to his previous campaigns in 2016 and 2020, when networks regularly showed Trump’s empty podiums or rally preparations

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters reviewed raw video in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on CNN and MSNBC on April 3, 2023, between noon and 1:30 p.m. ET, when former President Donald Trump traveled from his Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago to New York City for his arraignment.

    We timed b-roll coverage of his departure, which we defined as instances when any mode of transport that Trump took from Mar-a-Lago to New York City was visible on screen or when camera shots of Mar-a-Lago or Trump Tower were on air.

    We rounded all times to the nearest minute.