Fox And Friends And Fox’s Primetime Shows Virtually Ignore Rep. Chris Collins’ Indictment

Fox News' three-hour primetime block devoted practically no time to the pro-Trump congressman's arrest while the morning show briefly mentioned it twice.

Wednesday brought the blockbuster news that Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, was arrested on insider trading charges. After surrendering to the feds at his attorney’s office, Collins, his son and another individual were charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and false statements. The charges were related to a scheme involving an alleged scheme involving an Australian pharmaceutical company, a company of which Collins was a board member.

This was, quite frankly, major news and resulted in widespread coverage and discussion on cable news networks CNN and MSNBC, as well as online. And during Wednesday afternoon and early evening, Fox News provided a decent amount of airtime to the story, including broadcasting Collins’ press conference in which he addressed the indictments and called the charges “meritless.”

After the Collins presser, however, Fox News’ top-rated primetime block went radio silent about the situation. Tucker Carlson Tonight guest host Mark Steyn introed the program at 8 PM by popping in during the lawmaker’s public remarks.

“Right now, Congressman Chris Collins is speaking after being arrested for insider trading,” the one-time CRTV host said. “Let’s go there live.”

A minute later, after Collins wrapped up his comments, Steyn followed up by saying “that’s Chris Collins speaking after being arrested for insider trading. In other legal news, President Trump’s legal team says that it’s in negotiation over the terms of any interview with Robert Mueller.”

Despite the New York congressman ending his news conference right at the start of the show, Steyn devoted no time to the story — not even Collins critical comments about the investigation and charges.

But it wasn’t just the Steyn-led version of Tucker that ignored the major political story of a sitting congressman getting arrested and indicted on multiple federal charges. The following hour, Sean Hannity also found no time during his show to discuss it, instead spending the majority of his airtime slamming the Mueller investigation. There was time, however, for a Tomi Lahren ‘Woman on the Street’ segment.

The story was the same on The Ingraham Angle during the 10 PM hour. While host Laura Ingraham didn’t have any space on her show to mention Collins, she did have time to become the center of controversy over her monologue about “massive demographic changes” due to immigration that makes it seem “the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.”

After Ingraham, Fox News @ Night did cover the Collins story, hitting it up at 11:20 PM. Bryan Llenas also did segments on the story overnight.

For comparison’s sake, CNN mentioned Collins 15 times during the primetime hours and MSNBC brought him up 12 times, according to a TVEyes transcript search. (MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spent the first half of her show on her Fevin Nunes tape exclusive.)

But by the time Fox News got back to its entertainment/opinion programming with Fox & Friends, the coverage once again dwindled. While the program is three hours long, F&F only found enough time to mention Collins in a pair of ‘Quick Headlines’ segments, noting that the Republican lawmaker is “refusing to drop out of the race after being indicted for insider trading.”

While the hosts of President Trump’s favorite morning show couldn’t be bothered to mention much about the pro-Trump congressman’s legal woes, the curvy couch crew did find time to run some actual North Korean propaganda and portray it as the “lighter side” of brutal dictator Kim Jong Un.

Meanwhile, after F&F was done, the network’s ‘straight news’ morning show, America’s Newsroom, covered the Collins story extensively. As did early-afternoon host Dana Perino.

Again, for comparison’s sake, MSNBC’s Morning Joe brought up Collins 10 times during its broadcast and CNN’s New Day mentioned Collins seven times.

Of course, coverage — and lack thereof — of important issues and stories does swing both ways. You may recall that when Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Hawaii to receive the possible remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean War, Fox News provided live coverage of the event while both CNN and MSNBC ignored it.

At the same time, this does seem to provide further proof that Fox’s Trump-boosting opinion programs — which make up a large portion of the network’s daily airtime and drive the channel’s high ratings — will go out of their way to ignore major news stories that do not reflect well on the administration and the GOP (especially Republicans allied with the president).

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Media

Justin Baragona is the founder and publisher of Contemptor. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.
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