The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, on Wednesday on the findings of his report into the FBI’s tactics on how it surveilled a Trump campaign aid.
Reporters and pundits claimed that CNN is not showing the hearing, suggesting the network has a political bias for not doing so. MSNBC was also criticized for appearing to present biased coverage during Wednesday’s coverage of Horowitz’s testimony.
Fox News reported that CNN didn’t televise Senate Majority Leader Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) opening statement. “The first thing I want you to know is how the cake is baked here and my goal is to make sure … you look at this as more than ‘a few irregularities,’ because if this becomes ‘a few irregularities’ in America, then God help us all,” Graham said.
MSNBC mostly talked over Graham’s statement, Fox reported.
The report said CNN eventually aired a clip of Graham saying that Russians meddled in U.S. elections. A pundit, Jim Sciutto, then said that Graham’s statement about meddling is “something the president has differed with.”
The apparent lack of coverage was criticized by conservative commentators.
“CNN is not taking the Senate Horowitz hearing live. Unbelievable,” former President George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer wrote. “A perfect example of how bias works. It’s not just what they cover. It’s what they don’t cover.”
Added former Fox host Bill O’Reilly: “CNN and MSNBC refusing to run Senator Lindsey Graham’s opening statement in the Horowitz hearing. The most blatant form of media bias that I have ever seen. RIP, American journalism.”
Ronna McDaniel, the GOP Chairwoman, issued a statement over CNN’s apparent omission.
“CNN aired everything Schiff and Nadler had to say. Why aren’t they showing Lindsey Graham? Is it because the facts of how the FBI mistreated Donald Trump contradict their coverage over the last 3 years?” McDaniel tweeted, referring to House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) amid their push to impeach Trump.
Steve Guest, the GOP’s rapid response director, posted a photo on Twitter that appears to show Fox News and MSNBC broadcasting Graham’s opening statement at the Judiciary Committee hearing on Horowitz’s report. CNN appears to show a segment on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) holding a meeting with other Democrats ahead of an impeachment debate.
Guest later wrote that “the second Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein starts her opening statement, MSNBC cuts back in to cover after dropping coverage of @LindseyGrahamSC ‘s opening statement. CNN hasn’t aired a second of it.” He added, “MSNBC & CNN gave Nadler & Schiff all the time they wanted” during the impeachment hearings.
Added The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis: “Fox News is running the IG hearing uninterrupted, MSNBC talked over Lindsey Graham’s opening statement but went quiet as soon as Dianne Feinstein started speaking, and CNN is running commercials after airing impeachment hearings non-stop for two months.”
So far, CNN and MSNBC have yet to issue a statement about the matter.
In his opening statement, Horowitz failed the FBI’s chain of command on how it oversaw a flawed effort to get authority to surveil Carter Page, an American foreign policy adviser who worked on President Donald Trump’s election effort.
“We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny,” Horowitz said in his opening remarks.
“We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed,” Horowitz testified. “Especially in the FBI’s most sensitive and high-priority matters, and especially when seeking court permission to use an intrusive tool such as a FISA order, it is incumbent upon the entire chain of command, including senior officials, to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the facts and circumstances supporting and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility.”