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News networks turn Clinton email story into Comey criticism by stunning ratio, study finds

FBI Director James B. Comey testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Since Friday's bombshell revelation that the FBI has effectively reopened its investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, America's three broadcast news networks have taken a decidedly different approach to what otherwise seems to be a major blow to the Democratic nominee's presidential campaign just days before the election.

Instead of focusing on Clinton's decision to use a private email server in the first place, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted more time to airing negative coverage of Comey. The conservative Media Research Center found that, beginning with the three networks' evening newscasts on Friday and ending with the three networks' morning shows on Monday, reporters, analysts and partisan commentators took positions critical of Comey at least 88 times, while criticizing Clinton just 31 times.

As the nonprofit watchdog noted, that's a ratio of nearly 3-to-1.

Specifically, the network morning shows, NBC's "Today," "CBS This Morning" and ABC's "Good Morning America" spent two hours, 19 minutes and 49 seconds covering Comey's handling of the email investigation. The analysis did not include how much air time was devoted to covering the Clinton email story.

The Obama-appointed FBI director in July famously declared that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a case against Clinton, given the evidence his agency had obtained at the time.

However, on Friday, with just 11 days until America elects its next commander in chief, Comey sent a letter to congressional leaders saying FBI agents had uncovered new, potentially pertinent information while investigating sexting allegations against top Clinton aide Huma Abedin's estranged husband, disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner.

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