ABC Amy Dorris

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TV news ignored new report of sexual assault by Trump

Only MSNBC and ABC mentioned the latest report of Trump sexual assault, for a total of just four mentions

  • Major American television broadcast and cable news shows have so far overwhelmingly failed to cover the latest report of sexual assault against President Donald Trump. 

    In an interview with The Guardian, former model Amy Dorris said the now-president “shoved his tongue down my throat” and forcibly groped her at the 1997 U.S. Open tennis tournament. Dorris shared her ticket to the tournament and six photographs of her with Trump with the newspaper, and her account was corroborated by a friend and family member she spoke to about the incident at the time as well as other friends and her therapist, whom she informed in years since. Legal adviser to the Trump campaign Jenna Ellis told ABC News the accusation is “totally false” and “another pathetic attempt to attack President Trump right before the election.”

    The Guardian published its interview with Dorris on September 17, yet in the 10 days since, American television news has largely failed to mention the revelation. Among broadcast and cable stations (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, CBS, ABC, and NBC), only MSNBC and ABC mentioned the accusation -- MSNBC three times and ABC just once. 

    On the day The Guardian published the interview, MSNBC host Ari Melber reported the accusation, while network hosts Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow on their respective programs briefly mentioned the timing of the revelation amid the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

    The following morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, chief national affairs correspondent Tom Llamas detailed Dorris’ report, included the denial from Ellis, and discussed the many other reports of sexual misconduct by Trump. 

    As reports of sexual misconduct by the president have grown, the news media seem increasingly uninterested. Such was the case with advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who came forward in June of 2019 to say that Trump raped her in the mid-1990s. Meet The Press host Chuck Todd lamented the sparse coverage she received despite failing to cover her story himself. Coverage of her defamation lawsuit against Trump was similarly sparse. The book All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator by Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy, which was described as including “43 new” reports of sexual assault or misconduct committed by Trump, went on sale October 22, 2019, and was virtually ignored by American news outlets.

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on cable networks CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC; ABC's Good Morning America and World News Tonight; CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News; and NBC's Today and Nightly News for the term “Dorris” (including misspellings) or the term “Trump” within close proximity of either “sexual” or “assault” from 4 a.m. EDT September 17 through September 27, 2020.