The nation’s five major Sunday news shows have so far failed to cover the defamation lawsuit columnist E. Jean Carroll has brought against President Donald Trump following his denial that he raped her in the 1990s.
On June 21, New York magazine’s The Cut published an excerpt from a book Carroll wrote, in which she described in detail Trump sexually assaulting her over 20 years ago. Trump denied even knowing Carroll -- despite a photograph published by The Cut showing them meeting each other years before the reported incident -- and said she is “totally lying” and “not my type.” Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump on November 4 that said Trump made a “series of false and defamatory statements” when he denied both the assault and knowing her.
Since then, there have been several newsworthy developments in the case that have been covered by newspapers, wire services, and online news sites. On January 3, Trump’s lawyers asked a judge to throw out the lawsuit. The judge on January 9 rejected Trump’s motion to dismiss it. And The Associated Press reported on January 30 that Carroll’s lawyers have now served notice to one of Trump’s attorneys seeking a DNA sample from the president to test whether his DNA is present on the dress she says she wore at the time.
Yet the major Sunday news shows have not reported on any of these developments. Transcript searches revealed that CNN’s State of the Union, Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, and CBS’ Face the Nation haven’t even mentioned Carroll’s name since she filed the lawsuit. Considering Trump will likely have to face Carroll in court, the lawsuit should be covered on the nation’s supposed premier news shows.
This is not the first time the media have failed to cover news related to Carroll’s report that Trump sexually assaulted her. Several major newspapers left the news off of their front pages the day after Carroll’s book excerpt was published, and that weekend, the same five Sunday shows also ignored her story (Meet the Press host Chuck Todd did briefly mention Carroll’s name on June 30 in connection with other stories about reported sexual assaults by Trump). And within the first few days of the excerpt’s publication, Fox News spent just over four minutes discussing it.
Media Matters searched the Nexis transcript database for variations of the name “Carroll,” “defame,” and “defamation” since November 4 for CNN’s State of the Union, Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, and CBS’ Face the Nation. We also searched two transcripts from This Week that were not in Nexis for the same terms on the show’s website.