ELECTION INTERFERENCE: Nets Spend Heaping 573 Minutes on Trump-Bragg Trial

Despite the legal justifications viewed as anywhere from flimsy to non-existent, ABC, CBS, and NBC rose to the occasion for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) by spending an interminable 573 minutes on the trial of former President Donald Trump, an un-American leftist charade to influence the 2024 election.

NewsBusters examined every allusion to and mention of the Trump trial on the major broadcast networks during their flagship morning shows, evening newscasts, and Sunday political talk shows, starting with the morning of jury selection on April 15. In the 38 days since the trial began, the networks have dedicated 573 minutes and 25 seconds. 

Put another way, the networks have force-fed viewers more than nine hours of coverage.

ABC obliterated the competition with a combined 237 minutes (236:36) between Good Morning America (GMA), This Week, and World News Tonight, accounting for roughly 41 percent of the overall total.

GMA also claimed the distinction of being the newscast with the most time spent on the trial with 136 minutes (136:29).

The chief reason for this dishonor was thanks to co-host and former Clinton flack, George Stephanopoulos. As he’d introduce the show’s Trump trial coverage, his openings were nauseating.

“We’re going to start with the trial of Donald Trump. What a moment in American history. 45 men have served as president. Donald Trump is the only one ever indicted for the crime. That’s happened four times. He will enter the courtroom this morning as the only former President to ever stand trial on criminal charges,” he somberly said on April 15.

Reacting the next day, Stephanopoulos excitedly told chief Washington correspondent and three-time anti-Trump author Jonathan Karl that “we’ve been talking about the political and legal calendars clashing for about a year,” and “[y]esterday, it became real and it felt the dynamic may be changing from….earlier when Donald Trump was so convinced this was helping him every day.”

“I could see it in his behavior, in his demeanor. This was a wake-up call for Donald Trump. This is his new reality. He is now criminal defendant Trump….[H]e is in a courtroom where he has no control. The judge is the boss and, for the most part, he has to be silent. You could see the bitterness, the anger, I think, the — the energy drained from him,” Karl proclaimed.

Stephanopoulos struck a similar tone on April 22, hours before opening statements:

We begin with something unprecedented in American history. Opening statements in the criminal trial of a former President. Presidents have been impeached. They’ve resigned. They’ve been voted out of office. Never before has a former President faced a jury of his peers in a criminal court.

Fast-forward to May 15 and senior congressional correspondent Rachel Scott was shaken by Republicans showing up to support Trump in court:

A striking moment in politics, George. This is not just any Republican lawmaker. This is the Speaker of the House, second in line to the presidency showing up in this Manhattan courtroom outside to blast the American judicial system and to do what Donald Trump cannot do, which is go after the witnesses…[I]f you had a any doubt this is a Republican party that has lined up around the former president, all you have to do is look at that image of Trump and all those Republicans lining up behind him[.]

NBC was firmly in second place with 199 minutes (198:47). That said, the peacock network shouldn’t be confused with Trump supporters.

Along with time allotted, a story’s placement within a newscast illustrates what the network believes is most important (and hopes you agree). NBC Nightly News earned that distinction as they opened 17 times with the trial.

“In a moment he had desperately tried to delay or derail, Donald Trump took the defendant’s seat in a Manhattan courtroom today for the start of his first criminal trial, a historic moment for a former American president that brought him practically face-to-face with a stream of prospective jurors. New Yorkers, who could potentially determine his fate,” NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt boomed on April 15.

Holt was also moved on May 7 by the Stormy Daniels testimony: “A star prosecution witness in the criminal trial of Donald Trump appeared on the witness stand…[Trump] coming face-to-face with adult film actress Stormy Daniels as she testified, at times graphically, about a sexual liaison she says she had with Mr. Trump in 2006.”

Longtime NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell ironically complained on the April 21 Meet the Press that “the trial is crowding out everything else,” including President Biden’s ability to fully use the bully pulpit.

And, from an ethical standpoint, who has NBC used for analysis and reporting on the trial? Saturday Today co-host and senior legal correspondent Laura Jarrett, who’s the daughter of longtime Obama family confidante Valerie Jarrett.

Like their perpetually lackluster ratings, CBS was in third place with just over 138 minutes (138:02). CBS carried the perhaps laudatory distinction of having its hour-long Sunday talk show Face the Nation devote the least amount of time for any of the nine newscasts at just 13 seconds over five shows.

CBS Mornings co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King kvetched on April 16 that she was “worr[ied] that the audience just hears white noise when they hear all of these cases running together.”

King would be proven right as a PBS NewsHour/NPR Marist poll on May 1 found 55 percent of Americans were “not very closely” or “not closely at all” following the proceedings.

CBS still tried to make fetch happen with dramatic proclamations, like this one from CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell on May 20:

[T]onight, a dramatic day in court…The first-ever criminal trial of a former American president is nearing an end. Late today, the prosecution has rested…Witnesses on the stand today made for what some experts are describing as a wild day. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, admitted under oath to stealing money from the Trump Organization during an intense cross-examination. And then, fireworks during testimony of a defense witness that led to the judge clearing the court room and reprimanding the witness for rolling his eyes and making comments under his breath.

In somewhat of a tell to how the liberal media actually feel about the trial, their Sunday political talk shows have been surprisingly tempered with a combined 36 minutes and six seconds. Over three quarters (28:13) came from an unsurprising source: ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

While not a former president, another significant story of political corruption has gone next to unnoticed with the trial of liberal Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

The details are salacious, even with the absence of sex. Gold bars? Check. Wads of cash stuffed in random places? Check. Cars? Check. Influence-peddling with Arab countries? Check.

The trial began with jury selection on May 13, but there’s only been seven minutes and 56 seconds on ABC, CBS, and NBC with zero seconds on the Sunday, May 19 political talk shows. That meant the Trump trial had received 72 times more than what the “big three” had spent on the Menendez trial.

While ABC had spent nearly four hours on the Trump trial, they’ve only mustered a scant 23 seconds on Menendez since his trial commenced (via a single brief on the April 15 World News Tonight).

NBC was well ahead with three mentions totaling three minutes and 24 seconds and CBS also had three segments, but were slightly ahead at four minutes and nine seconds.

A major U.S. senator is on trial in an election year, facing hundreds of years behind bars. But given his party, the networks have allowed the left to skate by. If this were a Republican on trial for identical charges, there’s no doubt other major Republicans would be tied directly and indirectly to the case.

Look no further than the wholly political Trump trial.

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