STUDY: Huge Disparity In Cable News Coverage Of This Week’s Trump, Clinton Speeches

MSNBC And Fox Covered Trump’s Anti-Clinton Tirade Three Times Longer Than Both Clinton Speeches Combined, CNN Twice As Long

A review of coverage of major speeches this week by presumptive presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump finds that CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all devoted at least twice as much coverage directly before and after the speeches to commenting on Trump’s speech than they did Clinton’s two speeches combined.

Media Matters counted how much time the three networks spent discussing the speeches before and after they aired. Comparing how much attention the networks give to the speeches is a way of determining the relative importance they are assigned. In their coverage of this week’s speeches, the networks have treated Trump speaking as a major event worthy of substantial coverage both before and after he begins speaking. They did not afford the same status to Clinton.

On June 21, Clinton delivered a speech criticizing Trump’s economic record, which all three cable networks carried in full. CNN provided roughly nine minutes of coverage leading up to the speech and less than five minutes after, for a total of about 14 minutes of continuous coverage leading into and following the speech. MSNBC and Fox both turned to the speech from coverage of other topics, and they dedicated less than five minutes to post-speech analysis before again turning to different topics.

Clinton delivered a speech the following day billed as a “case for ‘progressive’ economic reforms,” which again was covered in full by all three networks. Again, the networks provided little coverage leading up to and following the speech. CNN’s continuous coverage of the speech lasted just over seven minutes, totaling more than 21 minutes of additional coverage for both speeches; MSNBC’s coverage lasted approximately 11 minutes, totalling nearly 16 minutes of coverage for both speeches; and Fox’s coverage lasted just over three and a half minutes for a total of nearly eight minutes of coverage for the two speeches.

The three cable networks devoted more than twice as much consecutive coverage before and after Trump’s speech on June 22, which was billed as an attack on Clinton, as they did the two Clinton speeches combined. CNN had the most continuous pre- and post-speech coverage, with nearly 44 minutes of commentary. This was more than twice as long as their coverage of both of Clinton’s speeches, and included nearly 25 minutes of discussion leading up to Trump’s speech, much of it over live shots of Trump’s empty podium.

MSNBC devoted nearly 38 minutes to covering Trump’s speech, more than three times more coverage than both Clinton speeches received. Fox dedicated over 26 minutes to Trump’s speech, which was three times longer than their coverage of Clinton’s two speeches. Both provided roughly eight minutes of coverage leading into the speech, again frequently showing footage of the empty podium.

To their credit, both MSNBC and CNN devoted some of their post-speech coverage to fact-checking Trump’s numerous false claims.