TV networks have been giving wall-to-wall coverage to allegations of sexual impropriety by Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, eclipsing the coverage they have given to allegations of corruption leveled at Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
According to Newsbusters, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News have not mentioned Menendez’s trial for allegedly taking bribes in exchange for political favors once during the whole of the Democrat’s 65-day trial.
But the coverage of Republican Roy Moore has been markedly different.
The Washington Post reported Thursday on allegations that Moore pursued teenagers when he was in his mid-30s in the 1970s and 1980s — including a claim that he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old. Moore has denied allegations of sexual impropriety.
“In the past 24 hours, the same networks that couldn’t find a single second to mention Menendez in 65 days, spent 24 minutes and 36 seconds on serious allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore,” the watchdog reported.
It detailed their coverage:
The three evening news shows each spent about two-and-a-half minutes on the Moore scandal (ABC’s World News Tonight: 2 minutes, 48 seconds; CBS Evening News: 2 minutes, 46 seconds; NBC Nightly News, 2 minutes, 38 seconds). Good Morning America spent the most time on Moore with 7 minutes. CBS This Morning came next with 5 minutes and 22 seconds, while NBC’s Today came in third with 4 minutes, 2 seconds.
Newsbusters noted that since September 6, the outlets had spent a combined total of two minutes and ten seconds on Menendez.
Menendez is accused of taking bribes worth $60,000 from Dr. Salomon Melgen, an alleged patron, in exchange for political favors dating back to his first year in office.
Both cases have the potential to flip vital Senate seats. Moore’s allegations could sink his chance of election and hand the seat to Democrat Doug Jones. Meanwhile, Newsbusters notes that if Menendez resigns before January, outgoing Republican Gov. Chris Christie would appoint his replacement — likely turning the deep-blue seat red.
The watchdog argues that while the media are right to cover the Moore allegations, “the same media outlets that have moments of clarity when it comes to Republican scandals and corruption turn a blind eye when the scandals and corruption come from a Democrat.”