President Trump officially relaunched his 2020 campaign with his first rally since the coronavirus outbreak stunted the country but according to a new study, CNN and MSNBC spent very little time actually showing his remarks on Saturday despite the constant negative coverage leading up to the Tulsa event.
NewsBusters determined on Monday that MSNBC showed its viewers only 3 minutes and 45 seconds of the president's remarks, or 3.7 percent of the 101-minute speech. CNN showed even less, clocking in only 3 minutes and 25 seconds, or 3.4 percent. Fox News, in contrast, aired the remarks in full.
The study noted that CNN first aired a 29-second clip of Trump's comments roughly 25 minutes into the speech with anchor Wolf Blitzer slamming the president's "shameful" comment about ordering his administration to do less coronavirus testing, which the White House insists was made in jest.
According to NewsBusters, MSNBC played the first 71 seconds of Trump's speech before cutting away.
The study contrasted the networks' coverage of the rally to an event Joe Biden held on June 17 in Darby, Pa. CNN offered 15 minutes of live coverage while MSNBC offered 18 minutes. Fox News also aired 18 minutes of the former vice president's remarks.
"MSNBC and CNN owe it to Americans to play the 2020 campaign straight: Air the speeches and events from the two candidates and let the voters make up their own minds," NewsBusters associate editor Scott Whitlock wrote. "Instead, these two liberal outlets are putting their thumbs on the scale and offering a partisan approach to campaign events."
The networks spent much of the day condemning the Trump campaign for holding a rally at an indoor arena despite coronavirus concerns from health excepts and public officials.
Meanwhile, a whopping 7.7 million total viewers tuned into Fox News from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT during Trump’s remarks, making it the most-watched Saturday in the network’s history during that time period, according to early Nielsen data.
Trump’s rally also gave Fox News its largest Saturday night primetime audience ever from 8 to 11 p.m.
The Trump campaign has stated that even more viewers tuned in when including the significant audience that watched via streaming platforms.
“President Trump’s rally in Tulsa attracted over 4 million unique viewers across all of the campaign’s digital media channels. The live-streamed pre-rally shows drew an audience of more than 2.5 million unique viewers by themselves,” Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.
Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.