ThinkProgress blows it, claims Fox News ‘blackout’ of Todd Akin coverage

Jeff Poor | Media Reporter

Attacking the Fox News Channel is a favorite hobby horse of the progressive movement. So when Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin made his controversial remark Sunday about so-called “legitimate rape,” it was only a matter of time before left-wingers sought to exploit the controversy to score points against Fox.

In a Monday post by Igor Volsky at the Center for American Progress’ “ThinkProgress” blog, Volsky claimed Fox News had instituted “a virtual blackout” of Akin’s foot-in-mouth moment.

“Fox News is following its well established pattern of underreporting stories that don’t appeal to its conservative base, instituting a virtual blackout of Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) controversial — and widely condemned — comments about “legitimate rape,” Volsky wrote.

Volsky examined a narrow window of coverage of Monday, from 6 a.m. through 12 p.m. that day, and claimed the episode was only mentioned once — while CNN and MSNBC led the way, with MSNBC making more than 20 references in just a six-hour period.

Volsky’s post caught a lot of attention in the so-called Twittersphere after the organization promoted it with it’s Twitter account. But a closer review of the broadcast of Fox News shows at least four mentions of the controversy within Volsky’s time parameters:

Breakdown of FNC coverage on Todd Akin yesterday

9 a.m.

  • Mentioned with Fox News contributor Karl Rove
  • Akin mentioned twice
  • Lower-third banner also had it

10 a.m.

  • Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan in New Hampshire from 10:45 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. where it was mentioned

11 a.m.

  • Same as 10 a.m.

The cable news channel’s coverage continued throughout the day, and was criticized by the likes of ThinkProgress’ sister organization, Media Matters for America. (RELATED: TheDC’s complete coverage of Media Matters)

12 p.m.

  • Akin’s comments covered and played on video
  • Akin’s name mentioned five times overall, including read statements by Claire McCaskill and Mitt Romney

1 p.m.

  • Covered as part of Obama’s press conference — president was asked about it
  • Akin mentioned once by name

2 p.m.

  • In news coverage
  • Akin mentioned by name 3 times — full screen picture used

3 p.m.

  • Covered/teased at the top of the show
  • Covered a few minutes later — video played. Carl Cameron brought in top report on reactions.
  • Akin mentioned by name seven times

5 p.m.

  • Covered for 2 minutes and admonished Akin for comments, about 9 minutes into the show

6 p.m.

  • Mention from John Roberts filling in for Bret Baier
  • Covered the Akin story 6 minutes into the show — just Roberts
  • Mentioned again with the panel — Roberts again — about 43 minutes into the show. Discussed for a few minutes. All calling for him to leave the Senate race.

7 p.m.

  • Covered extensively 5 minutes into the show — James Rosen covering for Shepard Smith

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