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ABC, NBC, CBS Confronted with ‘Alarming’ Proof of Bias by House Media Fairness Caucus

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | November 7, 2017 | 6:24 PM EST

Media Fairness Caucus Chair Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas)

The Media Research Center-documented “depth of bias” by broadcast networks is putting the nation’s very democracy at risk, the leaders of the House Media Fairness Caucus said in letters to the presidents of ABC, CBS and NBC News Thursday, rebuking their lack of coverage of the Russian Uranium One scandal.

In their letter, Caucus co-chairmen Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Alex Mooney (R-WV) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) detail how “The Hill reported that Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, a role critical to the sale of Uranium One to the Russian state-controlled firm Rosatom. The House Intelligence Committee, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, opened an investigation into this deal.”

“Despite the severity of the claims, the three networks have only spent a combined 4 minutes and 38 seconds covering the story. By comparison, the networks have spent 1,000+ minutes on the Trump-Russia collusion story,” the Caucus said, citing Media Research Center (MRC) analysis, in a statement announcing the letter.

The MRC findings are “alarming” proof of wanton media bias, the letter states:

“These statistics are alarming and reveal the depth of bias your networks hold towards stories that place the Republican Party in a negative light.”

 “This scandal is a major national security concern, yet it has been almost ignored by the major networks. The American people deserve the facts on this alarming deal,” Rep. Smith said in a statement.

The networks are, in fact, putting the nation’s very democracy at risk through their bias by omission of the Uranium One story, the letter warns:

“The Russia Uranium One scandal is an important developing story and the American people deserve to know the facts surrounding the investigation.  If the American people do not have the facts, they cannot make good decisions, and if they cannot make good decisions, our democracy is at risk.”

“The obvious lack of objectivity of our network news organizations has never been more obvious than illustrated by the disparity of coverage of these two national stories,” said Rep. Cramer.

NBC, CBS and ABC have all failed to meet the “public interest” standard required of broadcasters, Cramer said:

“The distribution of content on the public airwaves carries a ‘public interest’ standard, a standard abandoned by NBC, CBS and ABC long ago. At a minimum, ‘public interest’ ought to be reflected by the absence of bias in news coverage.”

Text of the full letter from the Media Fairness Caucus co-chairs is presented below and available online here.

 

November 7, 2017

Mr. James Goldston

President

ABC News

7 West 66th Street

New York, NY 10023

 

Mr.​ ​David​ ​Rhodes

President​ ​and​ ​Chief​ ​Executive​ ​Officer,

CBS​ ​News

524 West 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

 

Mr.​ ​Noah​ ​Oppenheim,

President

NBC​ ​News

30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY 10112

 

Dear Messrs Goldston, Rhodes, and Oppenheim,

As Co-Chairs of the House Media Fairness Caucus, we are seriously concerned with the lack of coverage your networks gave to the new developments that have been reported about the Russian Uranium One scandal.

The Hill reported that Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, a role critical to the sale of Uranium One to the Russian state-controlled firm Rosatom. The House Intelligence Committee, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, opened an investigation into this deal.

Despite the severity of these claims, there is a significant imbalance between the news coverage of Uranium One and the oversaturated news coverage of the alleged Trump-Russia collusion story.  According to a Media Research Center analysis, ABC devoted​ ​​just 2 minutes, 4 seconds​ ​of​ ​coverage​​ ​to​ ​this​ ​story; CBS​ ​​​provided 2 minutes, 34 seconds​ of coverage on​ ​their​ ​evening​ ​newscasts; and NBC​ ​​spent has not spent a single second on this important story. By comparison, your networks have spent 1,000+ minutes of airtime on the Trump-Russia collusion story since President Trump’s Inauguration. That, in total, represents 20% of all coverage of the Trump presidency.

These statistics are alarming and reveal the depth of bias your networks hold towards stories that place the Republican Party in a negative light. We welcome your response as to why this story does not deserve to be covered by your networks while the Trump-Russia collusion narrative deserves wall-to-wall coverage. Both are important stories about ongoing investigations that are in the public interest and of which the American people should be aware.

The Russia Uranium One scandal is an important developing story and the American people deserve to know the facts surrounding the investigation.  If the American people do not have the facts, they cannot make good decisions, and if they cannot make good decisions, our democracy is at risk.

Sincerely,

Rep. Lamar Smith,

Co-Chair

 

Rep. Alex Mooney,

Co-Chair

 

Rep. Kevin Cramer

Co-Chair


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