CNN was alone among the three major cable news networks in deciding not to televise Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., deliver his opening statement on Wednesday prior to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's hotly-anticipated testimony.
Graham’s powerful remarks included examples of bias against President Trump and other Republicans from top FBI officials and criticism of media coverage that dismissed the FISA report as concluding the FBI made errors at a low level.
"The first thing I want you to know is how the cake is baked here and my goal is to make sure ... you look at this as more than a few irregularities, because if this becomes a few irregularities in America, then God help us all," Graham said.
CNN, which is often criticized for presenting news from a liberal perspective while claiming it is a non-partisan news organization, skipped Graham’s opening remarks while Fox News and MSNBC chose instead to air them.
The liberal MSNBC often talked over Graham but kept the Senate Judiciary chairman on air with a split screen.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
GOP rapid response director Steve Guest noticed CNN was ignoring Graham and bashed the network in a series of tweets, while Trump's 2020 campaign asked if the opening statement didn't fit CNN's narrative.
While Graham delivered his statement, CNN instead covered a “growing divide” between Trump and Mitch McConnell, aired various pundits discussing impeachment, a story about a small group of Democrats who have an alternative to impeachment, mocked Trump’s Tuesday night rally, and previewed Horowitz’s testimony.
As Graham began his remarks, CNN was busy airing an interview between anchor Poppy Harlow and Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y. CNN displayed a tiny box with footage of Horowitz preparing to testify in the lower right-hand corner of the screen while completely ignoring Graham.
CNN didn’t explain to viewers why it was skipping Graham.
At one point, CNN cut to a commercial break as the senator's fiery remarks were ongoing. When CNN returned from its break, a Bloomberg reporter who is not allowed to investigate Democratic candidates was the guest.
Harlow repeatedly teased upcoming testimony from Horowitz with a shot of the inspector general while both Fox News and MSNBC were airing Graham’s opening statement. Back in October, the conservative activist group Project Veritas released secretly recorded videos that showed CNN president Jeff Zucker ordering producers to ditch an “important story” for negative coverage of President Trump.
CNN eventually aired a clip of brief replay of Graham saying the Russians meddled in American elections – but apparently only to point out that the president disagrees with the point Graham made.
“Notable comment there, something the president has differed with,” CNN’s Jim Sciutto said.
CNN’s far-left media critic Brian Stelter, who hosts the low-rated weekend show “Reliable Sources,” frequently tweets about what cable news channels decide to cover, but has stayed silent on his network’s decision to skip Graham's remarks.
CNN aired the hearing live shortly after Graham’s opening was finished.
Many critics who noticed CNN skip the news took to Twitter with feedback:
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.