CNN gave three times more coverage to the alleged ‘secret meeting’ between President Trump and Vladimir Putin at a G-20 dinner than former President Barack Obama's infamous hot mic gaffe with Russia's former president in 2012, according to a study by the Media Research Center.
The study, released on Wednesday by Newsbusters, showed that from the time the news broke late Tuesday afternoon on the previously undisclosed Trump-Putin talk through around midnight, CNN spent over 75 minutes covering the discussion.
Trump and his aides pushed back hard on the media's coverage of that meeting, downplaying its significance and suggesting there was nothing 'secret' about it.
The MRC study, meanwhile, contrasted CNN's coverage with that of the March 2012 conversation between Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Obama’s microphone was on during the exchange where he told Medvedev that “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev responded: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin].”
According to the MRC study, during the same timeframe on March 26, 2012, CNN spent roughly 25 minutes discussing Obama’s misfire.
CNN host Wolf Blitzer described the incident in 2012 as “awkward,” while the network’s hosts used the Trump-Putin talk to discuss the president’s “credibility” and his “posture in regard to Russia.”
The context for Trump's interactions with Putin is different than it was for Obama and Medvedev, given the special counsel probe examining allegations of Russian meddling in the election and possible coordination with Trump associates. This backdrop helped make Trump's separate and official high-profile meeting with Putin an international news event.
But Trump later called the intense coverage of the dinner conversation "Fake News."