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Constitutional Freedoms

Media Overwhelmingly ‘Rigged’ Against Kavanaugh, MRC Study Shows

ABC, CBS and NBC lavished extensive coverage on the allegations while spending little airtime on SCOTUS nominee's denials and questions

Mainstream media outlets’ coverage of the 11th-hour sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (pictured above) has focused almost entirely on “regurgitating various unproved allegations,” while rarely noting his denials and “the lack of corroboration for his accusers’ accounts,” according to a Media Research Center (MRC) study made public Wednesday.

“During the twelve days since Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) publicly announced the existence of an unspecified allegation against Brett Kavanaugh, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows have spent nearly six hours (344 minutes) regurgitating various unproved allegations against the Supreme Court nominee,” wrote MRC Research Director Rich Noyes.

“But only a tiny percentage of that coverage — a measly eight percent — has been devoted to Kavanaugh’s denials and the lack of corroboration for his accusers’ accounts,” Noyes continued.

A similar pattern was found in LifeZette searches for the terms “Karen Monahan” and “Christine Blasey Ford” on the websites of The Washington Post, USA Today, and The New York Times during the period of September 14-26.

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Monahan has accused Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) of physically assaulting her and provided substantial documentation to back her claim. Ellison is also deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Monahan has complained that the mainstream media are ignoring her case, and the LifeZette searches appear to bear out her claim. “Karen Monahan” produced 13 results, while “Christine Blasey Ford” generated 515. For USA Today, the figures were three and 155, respectively.

For The New York Times, the Monahan search generated eight results, while the Ford search produced 279.

Christine Blasey Ford on September 16 was the first woman to come forward publicly, accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a high school party in suburban Maryland some 36 years ago.

Although Feinstein received Ford’s allegations in July, she didn’t make them public until September 14, after they surfaced anonymously.

“Amid that sea of coverage, our analysts found the networks devoted a minuscule fraction on the key points that support the Supreme Court nominee’s case.”

Kavanaugh’s confirmation experienced another setback late Sunday when former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez accused him in an article for The New Yorker of exposing himself to her at a drunken dorm party in college.

And lawyer Michael Avenatti, known for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, unveiled a third accuser Wednesday. Julie Swetnick accused Kavanaugh of being involved in gang rapes in his adolescence.

Kavanaugh has unequivocally denied all of the sexual assault allegations against him and says he looks forward to defending himself during the Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing Thursday, when Ford is also scheduled to appear.

But after analyzing coverage of the Kavanaugh controversy of ABC, CBS and NBC from September 13 to 24, MRC discovered that 305 minutes of coverage were spent on Ford’s allegations.

Approximately 37 were spent covering Ramirez’s allegations on September 24 — the day after they first became public knowledge — and two minutes were spent discussing Avenatti’s then-unknown third accuser.

“Amid that sea of coverage, our analysts found the networks devoted a minuscule fraction on the key points that support the Supreme Court nominee’s case,” Noyes wrote.

MRC found that only 14 minutes were spent covering Kavanaugh’s denials while only five minutes were spent detailing alleged witnesses mentioned who wouldn’t corroborate Ford’s or Ramirez’s claims from September 13 to 24.

Just two minutes were allotted to women who defended Kavanaugh, 12 seconds were spent on Ford’s Democratic policies, and six minutes were devoted to questioning Ramirez’s shaky allegations.

Related: Third Kavanaugh Accuser Identified as Pile-On Continues

“Both Kavanaugh and Ford will get equal time to tell their side of the story at Thursday’s hearing. That’s a much fairer forum for Kavanaugh than he’s received from the broadcast networks during the past two weeks,” Noyes noted.

Even MSNBC’s partisan “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski recognized that the media’s coverage of the Kavanaugh allegations was problematic.

“I think what we have here, though — and this morning we decided nobody comes on our show and smears somebody or convicts somebody or tears someone down for speaking out,” Brzezinski said Tuesday on ABC News’ “The View.” “What we have in the media right now is a trial and a conviction happening in the media.”

“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough also denounced the coverage, saying on MSNBC Tuesday, “Let me tell you something. What we’ve seen the last week has made me want to call networks and put a ‘D’ in front of the name of the so-called journalists that have already decided that Brett Kavanaugh is a rapist. Or what was the — ‘serial sexual abuser.'”

“Oh, really? You know that? Do you really know that?” Scarborough asked.

meet the author

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].