In the last week, CNN could have changed its corporate name to the “Cheney News Network,” as it spent hours feting the Wyoming congresswoman as a voice of sanity, a martyr of conscience, and the leader-in-waiting of a hypothetical new political party. Its hyper-focus was pointed out by the host of its own “Reliable Sources,” Brian Stelter, who noted CNN and MSNBC mentioned Cheney’s name more than six times as often as Fox News.
“GOP in disarray? Not on GOP TV,” he tweeted. “This week, Liz Cheney was mentioned 300+ times each on CNN and MSNBC. On Fox News? Just 48 times, per TVEyes.”
Of course, another way of looking at that disparity is that CNN and MSNBC want the GOP to appear in disarray by obsessively covering the story from dawn to dusk. Tomayto, tomahto.
GOP in disarray? Not on GOP TV. This week, Liz Cheney was mentioned 300+ times each on CNN and MSNBC. On Fox News? Just 48 times, per TVEyes pic.twitter.com/delwbVFsEu
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 8, 2021
But news coverage is a zero-sum game, and the decision to focus on Cheney crowded out stories that are far more important to the average viewer. They include:
On the day her colleagues voted to remove Cheney as the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, CNN discussed the issue almost three times longer than every economic issue, according to the Media Research Center. That includes the explosion of lines at gas stations across the Southeast, as cyberhackers demanded ransom to reopen the Colonial Pipeline. Multiple states ran out of fuel, while stations that still had reserves saw motorists snake around the block.
“Some waited an hour or more in lines at gas stations before filling up or learning the pumps had run dry,” CBS News reported on the same day, May 12. Yet drawing attention to the shortage would remind viewers of the energy independence at the heart of our national policy under the Trump administration and highlight how, in the words of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, that “pipe is the best way” to transport gasoline.
Economists announced this week that, in April, inflation rose to its highest level since the Great Recession of 2008. That means that Americans are seeing higher prices on everything from gasoline (when they can get it) to groceries and clothing. Wages inevitably lag behind price increases, creating real pain for average Americans.
Since most reporters don’t know any average Americans, and because it undermines Biden’s case for trillions of dollars in new spending, the issue garnered little attention.
While the Cheney vote figured prominently in every prime time program CNN offers, the network devoted just four minutes to the deadly Israeli-Gaza conflict during the same time slot in the entire week — all of them on “Anderson Cooper 360.” That means its most widely viewed hosts had nothing to say on the Middle Eastern hostilities from Monday evening until 8:56 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday. “In other words, out of 900 minutes of CNN’s primetime programming, just 0.4% covered the Israel-Gaza conflict,” Fox News reported. On Wednesday, CNN spent four-times as much time discussing the Cheney vote than it did the resumption of violence (151 minutes vs. 37.5 minutes), according to MRC.
The border crisis
Although the number of detentions on the Southwest border reached a 20-year high, and Joe Biden broke his campaign promise by resuming construction on portions of the border wall, CNN had virtually nothing to say about the matter. The only apparent reference during the entire week came on Friday afternoon when Ana Cabrera mentioned “the crisis at the border” — only to interview a DACA recipient about the importance of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. The American viewing public said it wants the media to spend more time covering immigration, according to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center.
The legacy media’s bias doesn’t just manifest itself in the slanted way reporters cover issues but also by the way they choose which issues to cover. The stories they highlight provide a mirror into how they see the world—and how they want us to see the world. Over the last week, these media outlets showed their ever-shrinking core of viewers that they consider driving a wedge into the Republican Party far more important than you, your life, or literal matters of life and death in the cradle of Western civilization.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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