Fox News Spent 4 Hours Covering IRS Hearing, 14 Minutes On Military Sexual Assault Hearing

Fox News spent nearly four hours on June 4 covering that day's House committee hearing on the IRS' inappropriate focus on conservative groups, largely ignoring the simultaneous Senate committee hearing into the epidemic of sexual assaults in the military.

Congress Holds June 4 Hearings On Sexual Assaults In The Military And IRS Targeting

Senate Armed Services Committee Held June 4 Hearing On Sexual Assault Crisis In Military. In an effort to curb the epidemic of sexual assaults committed in the military, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing featuring testimony from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and top officers from each military branch:

Determined to stop sexual assault in the military, Congress is spelling out for the services how far lawmakers are willing to go in changing the decades-old military justice system.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and officers heading each branch of the military were to testify Tuesday on Capitol Hill, but it will be members of the Senate who will provide clues as to whether Congress embraces a far-reaching approach to limit the authority that commanders have to discipline the forces they lead.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is a proponent of ambitious legislation that would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial. That judgment would rest with seasoned trial counsels who have prosecutorial experience and hold the rank of colonel or above.

The military has serious reservations about Gillibrand's plan, concerned that stripping commanders of some authority would make it difficult for them to maintain good order and discipline. Not so, say some lawmakers, who argue that the military's piecemeal approach clearly hasn't been the answer. [The Associated Press, 6/4/13]

Alleged Victims Of IRS Targeting Interviewed Before The House Ways And Means Committee. During the second hearing of at least three this week, leaders of conservative groups allegedly targeted by the IRS testified before the House Ways and Means Committee:

Conservative groups who say they were wrongly targeted by the IRS got an opportunity to share their stories on Capitol Hill.

Speaking for the first time before a congressional committee on Tuesday, representatives of six conservative organizations described a delayed process for winning IRS approval for a tax exemption and spoke of “intrusive” questions from the agency focused on political beliefs. [Politico6/4/13]

Fox Devoted Nearly Four Hours To IRS Hearing And Less Than 14 Minutes To Military Sexual Assault Hearing

Fox Promised Constant Coverage Of IRS Hearing While Neglecting Military Sexual Assault Hearing. Fox's America's Newsroom aired live footage of the House's IRS hearing before it began, then stayed live for witness testimony and congressional questioning. When cutting live coverage for commercial breaks, co-host Bill Hemmer assured viewers, “We have to take a commercial, we got to pay some bills here, but we will not leave this hearing.” By contrast, Fox only went live to the sexual assault hearing before it started, explaining to viewers, “You can watch that hearing on our website at Click on the link on the homepage. We've got dueling hearings going on this morning.” [Fox News, 6/4/13, via Media Matters]

Analysis: Fox Spent Nearly Four Hours Covering IRS Hearing, Less Than Fourteen Minutes Covering Hearing On Sexual Assault In Military. According to a Media Matters analysis, Fox News devoted 3 hours, 57 minutes to covering the IRS hearing, but spent only 13 minutes, 55 seconds on the military sexual assault hearing. Both MSNBC and CNN were more even-handed in their coverage.

For a breakdown of how cable news has covered the military sexual assault crisis, click here:


Media Matters searched internal TV archives and closed captioning for the terms “sexual assault,” “military,” “IRS,” and “hearing” between 5 am and 11 pm on June 4 on all Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC shows.

Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded.