The right-leaning Media Research Center studied the news coverage of Donald Trump Jr.’s emails with Rob Goldstone and subsequent meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and concluded the cable-news network CNN has “an obsession” with the story and ABC, NBC and CBS have spent significantly more time on this topic than on Hillary Clinton’s Russia-uranium scandal in 2015.
Excluding commercials, MRC found CNN’s “New Day” show spent 93 percent of its three-hour program discussing various angles of the Trump Jr. email story on Wednesday, the day after the story broke. Less than 6 percent of airtime covered the Republican Senate leadership’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and about 1.5 percent of time was spent covering baseball.
“No one is arguing that this revelation should not be covered, but when you spend 93 percent of your time talking about it, it shows an obsession, not an objective news judgment,” MRC’s Alex Xenos wrote on Wednesday.
Xenos also reported CNN’s “Newsroom,” which follows “New Day,” spent 100 percent of its time covering the Trump Jr. story prior to covering the confirmation hearing of Christopher Wray, Trump’s appointee to run the FBI.
MRC released another study on Thursday, this time examining network news coverage. It found ABC, CBS and NBC spent 20 times more coverage over a four-day period on the Trump Jr. story than on a story that broke in 2015 revealing that Uranium One, a Canadian uranium company, donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while seeking approval to sell 51.4 percent of the company to Rosatum, Russia's state-owned atomic energy corporation. Uranium One's assets included 20 percent of the United States' uranium capacity. The deal needed to be signed off by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a panel on which Hillary Clinton, as the secretary of state, served. CFIUS did eventually approve the deal, but only after the Clinton Foundation received the substantial donations.
The study found ABC News spent 22 minutes on the Trump Jr. e-mails. CBS News spent 25 minutes on the story. NBC News was found to have spent 14 minutes reporting on the story.
In total, MRC says ABC, CBS and NBC spent more than 62 minutes of evening news airtime over four days this week on the Trump Jr. emails. In 2015, MRC reports the same three networks spent just three minutes covering the Clinton uranium story.
On Friday, another chapter in the Trump Jr. saga unfolded when NBC News released a report alleging a former Soviet counterintelligence officer was also present at Trump Jr.’s meeting with Veselnitskaya. In interviews and statements about the meeting, Trump Jr. had not mentioned the former officer’s participation in the controversial meeting.
Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Trump Jr., said the former Soviet officer is a U.S. citizen and said the officer laughed when asked if he was working for the Russian government, according to a report by NBC News. Futerfas also said Trump Jr. was not aware of the officer’s background prior to the meeting.