News & Politics

CNN Played 1/3 of the FISA Hearing, 99.9 Percent of Impeachment Debate

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Wednesday saw two historic events on Capitol Hill: Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s damning testimony covering Obama administration FISA abuses in the Russia collusion investigation into the Trump campaign and a debate on impeachment. CNN only played about one-third of the FISA hearing for its audience, but it ran almost 100 percent of the impeachment debate.

According to a Newsbusters analysis, CNN played 33.4 percent of the Horowitz hearing and 99.9 percent of the impeachment debate. By contrast, even liberal MSNBC played 89 percent of the Horowitz hearing, while Fox News Channel played 88.7 percent.

Using C-SPAN’s coverage, the Horowitz FISA hearing clocked in at 320 minutes and 37 seconds, according to Newsbusters. CNN played only 106 minutes and 56 seconds of the historic hearing.

The network ignored the opening statement of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), only joining the hearing at 10:57 a.m. Eastern as Horowitz gave his opening statement. CNN took a six-minute commercial break at 11:50 a.m. Eastern and rejoined the hearing until its pause for lunch. Inside Politics and CNN Right Now filled their airtime with pro-FBI and anti-Trump talking points until returning to the hearing at 1:48 p.m. Eastern.

At 2:11 p.m. Eastern, CNN Newsroom‘s Brooke Baldwin again interrupted the hearing to rebut Republican arguments. The network did not return to the live hearing until Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) took her turn probing Horowitz. As soon as Harris’s time expired, Baldwin left the hearing and CNN never returned, even though there were still 38 minutes left.

MSNBC put CNN to shame. The openly liberal network started airing the hearing seconds after Graham started speaking and left amid his opening statement, but MSNBC carried most of the hearing until 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel condemned CNN’s blatant bias. “CNN aired everything Schiff & Nadler had to say. Why aren’t they showing [Lindsey Graham]? Is it because the facts of how the FBI mistreated [Donald Trump] contradict their coverage over the last 3 years?”

It is ironic that CNN, long hailed for its unbiased reporting (before Trump), played less of the Horowitz hearing than notoriously liberal MSNBC.

Yet CNN had loudly pushed the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, so Horowitz’s report — which showed the Obama administration’s egregious missteps in surveilling the Trump campaign — was extremely inconvenient for the network.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.