CNN and MSNBC are pouncing on Twitter’s suspension of several liberal journalists, but those same cable news giants had about 15 times less interest in evidence of the same platform’s suspensions, blacklists and shadow banning aimed at conservatives when the so-called Twitter Files were released two weeks ago.
Last night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 was first to report the suspension of the reporters, breaking the news at around 8:54pm ET. “Musk seems to be just stamping out accounts that he doesn’t like,” CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, one of those whose account was affected, told Cooper.
Between then and noon on Friday, CNN pumped out 38 minutes, 25 seconds of coverage to the suspension of these journalists. MSNBC didn’t pick up the story until shortly before 10pm on Thursday, but they have also been busily griping at the move, churning out 31 minutes, 51 seconds of coverage.
As MRC’s Bill D’Agostino tallied earlier this week, from December 2 through December 13 — eleven full days — CNN only spared 26 minutes, 14 seconds for the evidence of Twitter’s anti-conservative bias before Musk bought the company, or barely two minutes a day.
MSNBC was even stingier, allowing just 21 minutes, 53 seconds of airtime for the Twitter Files during the same time period, or less than two minutes per day.
That’s the level of interest when conservatives are being systematically shut down. Now, with liberal journalists getting suspended, each of these networks has already cranked out well over 30 minutes of coverage — and it’s barely been half a day. Even without another second of coverage this afternoon and evening (fat chance!), that would still be a rate of coverage 15 TIMES less for the Twitter Files than for last night’s suspensions.
Thursday night, a hastily-assembled CNN panel ripped Musk for his actions. CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy suggested there could be retaliation: “Are news organizations going to stand by as the reporters are just hastily banned without explanation?”
At 6am on Friday, CNN This Morning opened with co-host Don Lemon talking about the “madness” of what was happening at Twitter, calling it “crazy.”
An hour later, Lemon wondered: “Is it free speech issue or is Elon Musk just on a power trip right now?”
On MSNBC, Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough was the only host/journalist to mention the Twitter Files, suggesting Musk’s actions had revealed a double standard:
“All of these people on the Trump right, on the far right, that have been talking about how horrible Twitter was and how it violated free speech. They come out and they beat their chests in moral indignation — right before the owner of Twitter just unilaterally decides he’s going to ban people who are saying things about him that may be critical.”
Of course, there’s an equally obvious double standard afoot that Scarborough seemed not to grasp: the media are quick to howl when it’s their liberal brethren being shut down, but seem profoundly uninterested when it’s conservatives on the wrong side of the Twitter bosses.