CNN chose not to air live coverage of Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) opening statement at Wednesday’s hearing on FISA abuse allegations, choosing instead to talk to various guests about the impeachment inquiry.
At one point, CNN aired a soundbyte of Graham's testimony when he was talking about how the Russians – not the Ukrainians - meddled in the election.
CNN also skipped ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Md.) entire opening statement. Instead, it showed video of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz seated in the hearing room during Graham’s and Feinstein’s opening statements.
The network took a commercial break and returned with a segment on Boeing safety issues and one on the Trump administration’s quest to restart executions by the federal government.
MSNBC did not air Graham’s opening statement in its entirety. Instead, it aired about 20 minutes of his speech, then cut away to various guests to discuss the IG report and the impeachment inquiry, before airing almost 10 minutes of Feinstein’s opening statement.
Both networks aired live coverage of Horowitz’s opening testimony.
The Trump campaign complained about both network’s decision not to air Graham’s opening statement live.
“All the proof you need. @CNN is an arm of the Democrat Party. They are the definition of FAKE NEWS! RT and demand that CNN air the Senate Hearing on the bombshell IG Report!” the Team Trump tweeted Wednesday.
“After airing days & days of Democrat impeachment hearings, FAKE NEWS CNN and MSNBC are REFUSING to air Lindsey Graham’s opening statement in the Inspector General's report hearing. They are COVERING UP the truth. They are nothing more than propaganda for the Democrats!” the Trump War Room tweeted.
Meanwhile, Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, accused CNN of media bias in choosing not to air Graham’s opening statement “after covering weeks of opening statements” by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) during the impeachment hearings.
“CNN is not taking the Senate Horowitz hearing live. Unbelievable. A perfect example of how bias works. It’s not just what they cover. It’s what they don’t cover,” Fleischer tweeted.
“CNN, after covering weeks of opening statements by Adam Schiff (D) and Jerry Nadler (D), doesn’t cover the opening statement of Lindsey Graham (R) at the Horowitz hearing. I can’t figure out what the difference is. Unless it has something to do with the item in parentheses,” Fleischer added.
Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called CNN’s decision not to air Graham’s statement live “the most blatant form of media bias that I have ever seen.” He also called out MSNBC for blacking out Graham’s statement but airing Feinstein’s, saying “it is all over for NBC News as a legitimate press organization.”
“CNN and MSNBC refusing to run Senator Lindsey Graham’s opening statement in the Horowitz hearing. The most blatant form of media bias that I have ever seen. RIP, American journalism,” he tweeted.
“MSNBC blacked out Republican Senator Lindsay Graham but is now broadcasting Democrat Diane Feinstein in the Horowitz hearing. It is all over for NBC News as a legitimate press organization,” O’Reilly tweeted.