MRC: 3 Networks Covered Sessions 7x More Than Eric Holder Being Held in Contempt of Congress

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Television networks ABC, CBS, and NBC have afforded nearly seven times more air time on then-Sen. Jeff Sessions meeting with a Russian ambassador than was spent when Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress for withholding documents related to a House investigation, according to a newly released Media Research Center study.

These three mainstream media outlets devoted a combined 1 hour and 12 minutes over less than two days to the now former Senator Sessions’ two interactions with the Russian Ambassador. That coverage time was tabulated from just one set of evening and two sets of morning shows. During Senate confirmation hearings for his current position of U.S. Attorney General, Sessions responded to Sen. Al Franken’s questions about Trump campaign surrogates meeting with Russian officials by saying that as he was at times considered a surrogate for the campaign and did not meet with Russian officials.

MRC compared the Sessions’ coverage with coverage by these three networks of former Attorney General Holder on the day he became the first Cabinet member to be held in contempt of Congress. Holder had refused to provide documents for the House investigation into the Obama Administration Fast and Furious gun running scandal. As a result, Holder was held in contempt on June 28, 2012.

The grand total of combined airtime between the three networks on Holder being held in contempt of Congress garnered just 10 minutes and 38 seconds, according to MRC’s calculation.

The morning of the vote to hold Holder in contempt, the three morning shows carried a combined 91 seconds of the story. That evening varied little, as only NBC carried the full story, but for only 2 minutes and 8 seconds. ABC and CBS carried just 35 seconds and 30 seconds, respectively, according to the MRC. The following morning, NBC was again the only network of the three to carry a full report at just 2 minutes, 50 seconds as well as short mentions of the story. ABC and CBS again carried merely short mentions of it.

CBS led the pack on coverage of Sessions with 28 minutes and 42 seconds over the day and a half according to the MRC. NBC followed with 25 minutes and 12 seconds, while ABC spent 18 minutes and 39 seconds on the story.

When compared, the three networks covered then Sen. Sessions meeting the Russian ambassador approximately 6.8 times as much as they covered the unprecedented news that a Cabinet member, Holder, was held in contempt of Congress.

Since the Sessions story broke, many Democrats have lodged weighty condemnation of Sessions’ meeting with the ambassador. Sessions contends that the meetings at the time were in his capacity as a Senator. Some of those Democrats, such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, have since been challenged for meeting with Russian officials as well. What’s more, new details have surfaced that it was the Obama Administration State Department that sponsored a July 2016 event where Sessions met the Russian ambassador for the second time that year.

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