Two mainstream media outlets — CNN and MSNBC — have largely ignored a major revelation made public by the inspector general's bombshell report last week. The report revealed numerous FBI agents were in regular contact with reporters, and even received various perks because of those relationships.
What did the report find?
According to DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz, "a large number" of FBI agents were in contact with members of the media, despite having zero authorization to maintain press relationships.
"Although FBI policy strictly limits the employees who are authorized to speak to the media, we found that this policy appeared to be widely ignored during the period we reviewed. We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters," the report stated.
Many of those same FBI agents received unauthorized handouts and perks from media members, the report added, which "were, at a minimum, inconsistent with FBI policy and Department ethics rules."
"For example, we identified instances where FBI employees received tickets to sporting events from journalists, went on golfing outings with media representatives, were treated to drinks and meals after work by reporters, and were the guests of journalists at nonpublic social events," the report said.
How did CNN and MSNBC cover the story?
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that CNN only mentioned the story on-air twice, while MSNBC covered the story just once. The outlet reported:
It was only ever mentioned on CNN twice — once by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and once by former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara.
MSNBC anchors were similarly mum about the story with the exception of Ari Melber, host of “The Beat.” Melber dedicated at least two minutes Thursday to the FBI’s obsession with its image in the media and a little under a minute to the specific findings on improper contacts with the media.
Melber also showed several charts from the IG report that showed the extent of some reporters’ contacts with members of the FBI.
However, as the Daily Caller News Foundation noted, CNN and MSNBC were quick to report on other aspects of the IG report, such as Horowitz's conclusion that the Hillary Clinton email investigation was not politically biased.