Fox News barely covers whistleblower complaint about Trump’s reported promise to a foreign leader

Fox News chyron: Trump calls whistleblower story "fake news"

Fox News has barely covered a whistleblower complaint about a promise President Donald Trump reportedly made to an unknown foreign leader. Since a Washington Post article revealed new details last night, Fox News has spent just 11 minutes discussing the whistleblower complaint, while CNN and MSNBC have each devoted over two hours of coverage to the story. 

On September 18, The Washington Post reported new details of a whistleblower complaint regarding a “promise” Trump allegedly made in a phone call with an unspecified foreign leader. The complaint had been the subject of much speculation as acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to inform Congress of its contents. Today, lawmakers pressed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, for more information in a closed-door session with the House Intelligence Committee. 

When the news broke on Wednesday around 9 p.m., CNN and MSNBC both immediately turned their focus to the story, discussing it consistently throughout the rest of the night. In comparison, Fox News mentioned the new reporting only once last night, for just over 20 seconds during Shannon Bream’s show at 11 p.m. As of noon today, CNN had devoted 2 hours and 35 minutes to the story; MSNBC had covered it for 2 hours and 15 minutes; and Fox all but ignored the report, providing less than 11 minutes of coverage. 

Coverage of whistleblower complaint on cable news since Wash. Post's report

The whistleblower complaint was the leading story on CNN and MSNBC all morning on September 19, but Fox has continued to downplay the story. It was discussed during just one segment on Fox & Friends, the network’s flagship three-hour morning show. During a discussion on America’s Newsroom, a Fox contributor’s immediate response to the story was, “I think from my standpoint, I would just caution viewers not to draw any conclusions.” He later added, “The concern for me is that it might be used for partisan fodder and run through the political meat grinder.” The chyron for this segment on the Fox “news”-side program read: “Trump calls whistleblower story ‘fake news.’”

Fox’s lack of coverage isn’t surprising -- the network has a history of under-reporting or outright ignoring stories that reflect poorly on Trump and his administration.