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STUDY: Cable News Devotes 13 Times As Much Coverage To Clinton Health As Trump Foundation

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STUDY: Cable News Devotes 13 Times As Much Coverage To Clinton Health As Trump Foundation

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump takes the stage at a campaign rally in Asheville, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Published with permission from Media Matters for America

Cable news networks spent less than an hour in total on September 12 discussing a new investigative report about how Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump retooled his charitable foundation to “spend other people’s money.” By contrast, they devoted more than 13 and a half hours of their airtime that day to covering Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s health.

Over the weekend, which marked the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Clinton fell ill at a memorial event commemorating the victims of the 2001 attack and later revealed she had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier.

The same weekend, The Washington Post published an investigative report by David Fahrenthold revealingthat Trump had “retooled” the Donald J. Trump Foundation to transform it “from a standard-issue rich person’s philanthropy into a charity that allowed a rich man to be philanthropic for free.” The report detailed how Trump has stopped donating to his own foundation, instead filling its coffers with donations from business partners and others; that he uses the money as he pleases, including potentially illegal purchases for himself; that he lies to other charities and the public by suggesting that the foundation’s donations are his own money; and that the foundation has broken both the law and IRS rules.

On Monday, September 12, the two issues drew immensely disproportionate coverage. CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC devoted 13 hours, 41 minutes, and 41 seconds of combined airtime between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. to discussing Clinton’s pneumonia. The same networks devoted less than an hour of combined airtime to thePost’s revelations about the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

Among the networks, MSNBC covered Clinton’s health the most with nearly five and a half hours of time devoted to the topic, but much of their evening coverage stood out for devoting substantial time to discussing the history of presidential illnesses, debunking conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health — which right-wing media have spent months pushing — and criticizing the media for hyping the story. Several mainstream media outlets, in their frenzied response, declared that the months of conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health had been “vindicated” because Clinton revealed that she had been diagnosed on September 9 with pneumonia.

Noticeably, Fox News was the only cable news network not to cover the Post’s reporting on Trump’s foundation at all. MSNBC and CNN each gave the story less than half an hour.

The media’s reporting on the two stories highlights a consistent problem of news outlets failing to adequately cover investigative reports relating to Donald Trump. Broadcast news networks previously chose to dedicatethree times more coverage to a flawed AP report about the Clinton Foundation than to an illegal political donation Donald Trump once made to the Florida attorney general through his foundation. Network news morning shows also previously failed to cover an investigative report that revealed Trump’s former campaign manager possibly received illegal payments from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.


Media Matters searched SnapStream for coverage of Hillary Clinton’s health on September 12, 2016, on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC using the terms: “(clinton) (health or pneumonia or overheat* or medical or physician or condition).” Media Matters searched SnapStream for coverage of the Donald J. Trump Foundation on September 12, 2016, on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC using the terms: “(Trump AND (Foundation OR Charity))”

Photo: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump takes the stage at a campaign rally in Asheville, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar



  1. bobnstuff September 14, 2016

    We know the Media is out to get Trump, you can see by what they cover and how they do it. It’s that liberal left wing controlled media out to get him. There I said it before the Trumpets could. Trump has taken millions of dollars from people all over the world just to use his name but his followers don’t see a problem with it and can’t see how this system could be a problem. Trump doesn’t care who he does business with as long as he gets paid and we are to believe that this will end if he is elected? The media protects Trump as best they can and his hard core supporters will believe nothing bad about him. It’s truly amazing.

    1. jmprint September 14, 2016

      Trump’s doctors where are they, you can’t tell me if he is taking a blood thinner he doesn’t have a real doctor. Dr. Oz, another cast of the reality show. What part of Trump is too dangerous to be president of the United State do you not get.

      1. Bren Frowick September 14, 2016

        Trump is addicted to “diet pills” – what the rest of the world knows as “speed” – which is, of course, why he doesn’t want to release his medical records…

        1. jmprint September 14, 2016

          That, but I feel there’s more, I think he has heart problems.

  2. Dan S September 14, 2016

    Just as Bernie Sanders said in his first debate with Secretary Clinton, no one gives a damn about the emails. Likewise I’m much less focused on her walking pneumonia which I had a couple years ago & I’m still here. The con artist who will never release his tax returns has a scam called the Trump foundation. Why is the media so focused on a minor issue & not focusing on the big picture regarding the fraud being perpetuated by Trump ? Where’s that so called left wing media bias supporting Hillary & looking more into Trumps fraudulent business deals ?

    1. dpaano September 14, 2016

      Because most of our media nowadays are owned by RW idiots!

  3. Jon September 14, 2016

    Starting on 9/11 after Hillary left the Memorial and went to rest and recover at Chelsea’s residence, the media blitz began on the cable news channels and continued through 9/12. The news consisted of Hillary’s heath, deplorables, Hillary’s health, deplorables, and continued until MSNBC’s evening programs brought some sense to news coverage. Lawrence O’Donnell was particularly good by pointing out the insanity of the reporting for the past day.
    There were at least 2 pieces of Trump news that made deplorables and pneumonia look like the trivial issues they were. One was trigger happy Trump saying that if small boats of rude people gave those aboard a U.S. destroyer inappropriate hand gestures, he would shoot them out of the water. In other words risk starting a war because he felt offended by a hand gesture. The other, as mentioned in the article, was David Farhenthold’s exposure of the true workings of the Trump Foundation. Yet these were rarely mentioned and Fox Entertainment News completely ignored the news about the Trump Foundation. Maybe Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly were too busy kissing Trump’s a$$.

  4. johninPCFL September 14, 2016

    Dumbass Donnie uses other people’s money donated to serve humanitarian purposes to buy a life-sized portrait of himself and a Tim Tebow helmet for himself and – yawn.
    Hillary goes to the nearest couch to rest for an hour and it’s BIG NEWS!!!

    Yeah, all the left-wing controlled media are really out after dumbass Donnie. You can just feel it. Even if you can’t see anything to it. Even if no facts support it.

  5. Bren Frowick September 14, 2016

    Trump uses other people’s money, fromfriends of his who use his phony foundation for a tax-write-off, then “donates” it to charities, but ONLY if they are using Trump properties for their events, thus laundering charitable donations into his own income stream, while getting both his own tax write-offs and an entirely undeserved reputation as a “philanthropist”. All perfectly legal, of course, but also undeniably sleazy. And then he lies about it, as usual….


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