October 11, 2016
Last Friday, after Washington Post reporter David Farenthold broke the news of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape capturing Donald Trump talking about grabbing women by the genitals, and Trump subsequently issued a video apology, those video clips became fodder for TV news shows. What they chose to show, and how often, however, varied by network, according to an analysis by the Internet Archive:
- FOX News chose to concentrate coverage on Hurricane Matthew, airing just 3.1 minutes worth of clips from the 2005 Trump tape. Meanwhile, CNN spent 26 minutes on Trump tape clips, while MSNBC devoted 20.7 minutes. Bloomberg aired 1.5 minutes of the clips. This analysis covers the point when the news broke to 7 a.m. EST on Sunday, October 9.
- During the same time period, Fox aired 10.2 minutes of the Trump apology video, while CNN aired 15.8 minutes and MSNBC, 14.5 minutes. Bloomberg didn’t air any.
- In the ten battleground state key markets included in the analysis, local stations spent roughly equal time on the Trump tape and the Trump apology video: 35.8 minutes of the Trump 2005 tape and 31 minutes of the apology tape. Those ten markets are: Boston, MA (NH); Cedar Rapids, IA; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Las Vegas, NV; Manchester, NH; Milwaukee, WI; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; and Raleigh-Durham, NC.
Here’s a sample from FOX News coverage, soon after the news broke. The clip is played following a commercial. The word “fuck” is bleeped out as is the word “pussy.” Then a brief clip of Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine is shown, followed by the host of the FOX News show, Bret Baier, describing Trump saying “a number of lewd things about women that he tried to court.” He then reads from Trump’s statement saying the clip audio reveals “locker room banter,” along with Hillary Clinton’s remarks about the tape. Then he swivels to a discussion of Hillary Clinton having her “own problems” and mentions her emails.
Here’s a sample from CNN coverage the same day. Following a report on Hurricane Matthew, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer introduces the clip, describing it as “a very vulgar conversation,” with a warning about “disturbing and graphic language.” In the subsequent clip, the word “fuck” is bleeped out, but the word “pussy” is not. Blitzer then introduces correspondent Brianna Keilar, who describes reaction to the tape as a “political earthquake.”
The analysis above is based on data collected through Sunday, Oct. 11, at 7 a.m. EST. However, we kept our Duplitron churning in subsequent hours, finding more clips of the 2005 Trump tape and apology, up until the time the second presidential debate started, at 9 p.m. EST on October 9. We’ve posted the data for download here. We’d love to see journalists and researchers dig in.