“The news media’s obviously insatiable appetite for scandal news surrounding Republican President Donald Trump is sharply at odds with their aversion to covering such stories about Democratic President Bill Clinton two decades ago,” writes Rich Noyes, senior editor of Newsbusters.org, which has done an intense comparison of coverage by CBS, ABC and NBC, then and now.
There is, Mr. Noyes says, a “brazen double standard” at work.
The three networks offered a combined 23 reports about various allegations of sexual impropriety involving President Trump, totaling 40 minutes of airtime the analyses found, with most — 30 minutes — centered on adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal garnered 8 minutes, while former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos was the subject of just over one minute.
“The media’s hunger for Trump sex scandal stories conflicts with how they treated more serious allegations — workplace sexual harassment and rape — against a Democratic President in the 1990s,” Mr. Noyes said.
He cited Paula Jones and her 1994 allegations that then-Gov. Bill Clinton hadsexually harassed her in a hotel room in 1991. CBS and NBC totally ignored her story while ABC gave those charges just a 16 seconds. The networks ignored the case until Ms. Jones later filed a civil suit.
The analyses also found that Kathleen Willey, who said Mr. Clinton had sexually harassed her, initially only drew 94 seconds of coverage on CBS and NBC, but nothing on ABC. Juanita Broaddrick’s claims in 1998 of similar circumstances, was only covered by NBC , which aired 7 minutes of coverage.
“Two decades ago, when faced with sexual misconduct charges against a Democratic president, supposedly enlightened liberals in the news media could have helped launch something akin to the #MeToo movement. Now they are gleefully covering scandalous charges against a Republican president, leaving one to wonder: Is that a sign that the times have changed, or just the party label of the man in the White House?” asked Mr. Noyes.