Media Yawns at Explosive WikiLeaks Scandals
Broadcast news gives Trump drama seven times the negative coverage of damaging Clinton revelations
Despite major scandals rocking Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on a daily basis, the mainstream U.S. media can only think of one thing to report: salacious, unproven allegations made against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
While they are focusing on Trump, America’s predominantly liberal media is pretending it doesn’t know anything about WikiLeaks, which began releasing damaging emails from John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chair, on Friday.
“The networks … revel in the idea of Trump and the Republicans being damaged by their scoops. They worry and fret at the idea of Hillary being damaged.”
The coverage on the news shows of broadcast giants ABC, CBS, and NBC has not been close to balanced. Trump has gotten seven times the negative coverage that damaging revelations for Clinton contained in successive WikiLeaks email dumps have received in the same six-day time frame, according to the Media Research Center, a conservative-leaning media watchdog.
Major Clinton scandals, leaked out daily by WikiLeaks, are being eclipsed by a 2005 video in which Trump engages in lewd talk with NBC’s Billy Bush. The tape was leaked Friday afternoon to The Washington Post.
At that same time, WikiLeaks started releasing bombshell emails from Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account. In just one chain found among the over 9,000 emails released, Clinton’s staff deliberately considered ways to withhold subpoenaed emails from federal officials. Every day, it’s different and damaging stuff from WikiLeaks — Clinton staff making offensive anti-Catholic remarks, or plotting ways to disrupt the election for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders first, then for Republicans.
But the media is yawning at WikiLeaks' disclosures.
"From Friday evening to Thursday morning, the morning and evening news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC dedicated 4 hours and 13 minutes to discussing the recent allegations of sexual misconduct surrounding Donald Trump's campaign," wrote the Media Research Center's Mike Ciandella in a post Thursday. "Meanwhile, not only has the continual release of the WikiLeaks emails from top Hillary staff gotten a comparatively puny 36 minutes of coverage during this same time period, the coverage that is there continues to ignore specifics that could be damaging to Hillary."
Of those 36 minutes devoted to the emails, about nine minutes were spent talking about how the emails were obtained, and not the various scandals contained therein.
Some journalists go the extra mile for Clinton. One sounded like she was declaring a premature end to the election — one month before Election Day.
"[B]ut at the same time here, there are no major bombshells in these documents, if they are authentic, that really stands up to the magnitude of that story about Donald Trump," reported Kasie Hunt on "The Today Show" on Oct. 8. "And many Democrats I've talked with in the last 12 hours [are] privately saying they think this race might already be over."
Part of the reason the U.S. media may be reluctant to talk about WikiLeaks is so many journalists have been caught up in it themselves.
In Wednesday's WikiLeaks release, Mark Leibovich of The New York Times was discovered by LifeZette to have given Clinton "veto power" over quotes to use in his story. Amazingly, as Ciandella points out, CBS News had Leibovich on their Thursday morning show to discuss WikiLeaks. But they didn't ask Leibovich about his own issue.
And in another WikiLeaks scandal, Democratic National Chairwoman Donna Brazile, then a CNN contributor, leaked a pre-debate question from CNN to the Clinton campaign. The death-penalty question, asked during a primary debate between Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, was asked at a Dec. 19 event almost exactly as leaked by Brazile.
This is big news. But for the most part, the media doesn't want to talk about reporters and editors' cozy relationships, and even collusion, with the Clinton campaign.
"All three of the broadcast networks have not even mentioned [media involvement with Clinton] once," said Ciandella.
Instead, the media appears to be merely going through the motions with the WikiLeaks story.
"The networks have felt pressured into acknowledging the WikiLeaks story for a few minutes, but while they revel in the idea of Trump and the Republicans being damaged by their scoops, they worry and fret at the idea of Hillary being damaged," said Tim Graham, director of MRC's media analysis.
Graham notes the press has bought into some of the spin that the leaks are the result of Russian hackers seeking to damage Clinton. There is so far no proof of that.
"[The media] robotically note Trump's objections to their sex allegations, then pour out their heart about how Hillary faces 'distractions' at the hands of Trump and his Russian allies," says Graham.
Print media is trying to push off WikiLeaks, too.
On the day after the WikiLeaks scandal, The New York Times put the Trump tape on page A1. The WikiLeaks story got pushed to A14.
On a following day, The Washington Post — which once asked readers to help reporters wade through Sarah Palin's emails as governor — did not mention the WikiLeaks scandal on the website's main page. Instead, most of the top stories were about Trump.