ABC, CBS, and NBC gave nearly four times more coverage to the fight between President Trump and the NFL than the worsening humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico last Wednesday and knocked out power on the entire island. Many people on the island are still struggling to find food and water and officials say power may not be restored for at least a month. However, according to research by the Media Research Center, the morning and evening news shows on the “big three” broadcast networks focused on Trump’s feud with the NFL rather than the crisis in Puerto Rico.
Between Sept. 24 and 25, the networks spent 92 minutes of airtime on the battle over whether or not athletes should stand for the national anthem. During the same timeframe, they spent just 25 minutes on the devastation in Puerto Rico. Networks thus spent 3.6 times more of their airtime on the Trump-NFL spat.
ABC News had the worst disparity, spending nearly 53 minutes on the NFL and just about eight minutes on Puerto Rico, a 7:1 ratio.
NBC Nightly News was the only program that spent more time on the Puerto Rico crisis than the NFL protests, mainly because anchor Lester Holt was reporting on the ground in San Juan. They spent six and a half minutes on the hurricane damage and just two minutes on the NFL.