The three major networks — ABC, NBC and CBS — ignored CNN’s settlement with Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann, and CNN gave the story less than 30 seconds of airtime, according to a media analysis.
The conservative Media Research Center reported that news of the undisclosed legal settlement reached Jan. 7 met with “blackouts” by the three major networks and MSNBC, a stark contrast from the coverage on the Fox News Channel, which devoted 13 minutes and 28 seconds to the story.
CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter gave the news 29 seconds on his Sunday show, and CNN ran an article on the settlement by senior media correspondent Oliver Darcy on its website.
Independent Women’s Voice president Tammy Bruce said Tuesday on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that the media outlets “noticed, and they’ve chosen not to cover it.”
“When you’re looking at the spectrum here … you’re seeing a media that, in a way, horrifically, can’t even report the news because they see themselves suffering some consequences,” said Ms. Bruce, who hosts a Fox Nation show and writes a column for the Washington Times.
The Kentucky teen and his family settled with CNN for an undisclosed amount after filing a defamation lawsuit over the cable network’s coverage of his January 2019 encounter with elderly Native American activist Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial.
Nicholas was portrayed at first in the news and on social media as the aggressor in the viral incident, but lengthier video footage showed that Mr. Phillips initiated the contact by wading into the group of Covington Catholic teens waiting for buses back to Kentucky.
“Look, this was an awful episode as most of the media rushed to judgment based on a single misleading video,” said Fox’s Howard Kurtz, who hosts “Media Buzz.” “CNN undoubtedly paid some sum of money to make the suit go away, given the PR nightmare, of battling a teenager who was intentionally or not, unfairly maligned.”
Attorneys for the Sandmanns, who have also sued the Washington Post and NBCUniversal, say they expect to file as many as a dozen more defamation lawsuits in the next 30 to 60 days.