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ABC, NBC Evening News Shows Ignore Massive Banking Scandal For More Than A Month

Why are two major news outlets spending more time reporting on shark sightings and Tom Cruise than on a major scandal that impacts the global economy?

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Though Blitzer apparently thinks the story deserves "significant attention," his program devoted a paltry one minute and 17 seconds to LIBOR from June 27 to July 12. In the sixteen days that followed, the July 16 segment was The Situation Room's sole contribution. If the LIBOR-fixing controversy "deserves significant attention," why hasn't the network's premier hard news show provided more coverage?

Indeed, straight news programming seems to have dropped the ball in the period following our original study. No broadcast network covered LIBOR in their evening half-hour flagship programs between July 13 and July 28.

Cable news increased its coverage during that period. Up from just under five minutes, CNN's LIBOR reporting increased to about 22 minutes, with Erin Burnett Outfront shouldering 15-and-a-half minutes of that amount. In its July 13 and July 16 episodes, Outfront featured segments eight and seven-and-a-half-minutes long, respectively. However, the July 13 segment, though frequently mentioning LIBOR, covered many other topics related to the financial crisis during an extended panel discussion.

Both Fox News and MSNBC increased their coverage to about five minutes each during the second 16 day block. On Fox, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox Report with Shepard Smith each devoted a segment to LIBOR. On MSNBC, only The Rachel Maddow Show, with a four minute 47 second segment guest-hosted by Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, covered the scandal in any meaningful way.


Media Matters searched the Nexis databases for news transcripts for evening programs on broadcast (ABC, CBS, NBC) and major cable news (CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC) networks from July 13, 2012 through July 28, 2012 mentioning the LIBOR scandal. We included evening cable shows airing between 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. and each broadcast networks' nightly news program. For programs falling within these parameters that were not included in Nexis, we searched transcripts from our video archive.

We searched using the following keywords: "LIBOR," "Barclays," "British bank," "UK bank," "Bob Diamond," "Robert Diamond," "Marcus Agius," and all variations of "rate" and "fix." We reviewed the raw video of each result to time the length of each segment, teaser, and mention. When transcripts for a particular program were not available, we reviewed the raw video.

Included in the results are the following weekday programs: ABC's World News; CBS' Evening News; NBC's Nightly News; CNN's The Situation Room, Erin Burnett Outfront, Anderson Cooper 360, and Piers Morgan; Fox News' The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox Report with Shepard Smith, The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren; and MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Politics Nation, The Ed Show, The Rachel Maddow Show, and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.

We did not include the first hour of CNN's The Situation Room, which begins at 4:00 p.m. However, a separate search of that hour using the same parameters above returned no results for the time period in question.

Ben DiMiero is a senior new media associate at Media Matters for America.

Savillo is a Research Analyst at Media Matters. He graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2005 with a Bachelor's of Arts in American Studies, minors in Sociology and Women's Studies, and a certificate in Communications and Media Studies.

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