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Week one of cable news impeachment coverage, by the numbers

  • The Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began on January 21, and cable news has mostly broadcast the proceedings live in their entirety -- with the notable exception of Fox News’ evening shows, which didn’t carry large portions of the House impeachment manager’s opening arguments.

    Using C-SPAN video as a baseline for the total time of the Senate impeachment trial, Media Matters calculated what portions of the week one proceedings each network has televised live, starting on January 21 and ending on January 25.

  • Cable news impeachment coverage - percent
  • Overall, Fox News broadcast less than two-thirds of the live proceedings of the Democratic House’s arguments on the first day and less than half of the proceedings on the subsequent three days. The fifth day marked the beginning of oral arguments from Trump’s defense team, and Fox News covered the trial live essentially in its entirety that day.

    Since January 21, CNN and MSNBC have aired more than 90% of the trial live, with a total of 32 hours and 59 minutes and 32 hours and 39 minutes, respectively. By contrast, Fox News has broadcast only 18 hours and 29 minutes live, just 54%.

  • Week one - Cable news impeachment coverage
  • Methodology

  • Media Matters reviewed raw video from the Snapstream video service of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial on January 21 through January 25, 2020. We reviewed video from the moment the trial was scheduled to go into session until it was adjourned by Chief Justice John Roberts. We counted coverage as “live coverage” if the network aired audio and video of the trial without commentators speaking over it.

    We used the C-SPAN website to find unedited video of the Senate trial in its entirety.

    The January 21 session adjourned the following morning at approximately 1:50 a.m. We included the additional hours in our evening analysis. The January 22 session adjourned at approximately 9:43 p.m. that evening. The January 23 session adjourned at approximately 10:32 p.m. The January 24 session adjourned at approximately 8:54 p.m. The January 25 session adjourned at approximately 12:02 p.m.