CNN has hardly given any coverage to Democratic Senator Bob Menendez’s corruption trial, but they found plenty of time for a Republican senator’s trial in 2008.
CNN covered the trial of Republican Senator Ted Stevens heavily, rarely missing a day of coverage and, in many cases, updating viewers on the progress of the trial several times a day, reports the Media Research Center. During the first three weeks of Stevens’ trial, CNN aired 36 stories about Stevens, compared to just 7 stories about the first three weeks of the Menendez trial.
As MRC points out, the charges against Menendez are even more severe than those levied against Stevens. Stevens was on trial for failing to report gifts, but he was not accused of bribery or tit-for-tat exchanges. Meanwhile, Menendez is accused of exchanging political favors–such as helping a friend’s girlfriend obtain a visa–for unreported gifts.
Stevens’ conviction was also overturned after it was found that the prosecution had acted unjustly, hiding evidence from defense lawyers on multiple occasions.
While CNN has had other major events to cover during the trial, such as deadly hurricanes and threats from North Korea, the Stevens trial was up against a heavy news period as well. Stevens’ trial occurred during a presidential campaign and the 2008 recession.
CNN anchors admitted in September that the trial is “huge” and “a lot” is at stake because, if Menendez has to resign, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would pick his replacement, presumably flipping the seat to Republicans. Their emphasis on the importance of the trial makes their scant coverage even more concerning.