Congress may be almost evenly divided these days, but not on the liberal cable news networks. A new study by the Media Research Center finds that CNN and MSNBC host Democratic Representatives and Senators seven times more frequently than their Republican counterparts, and most often use Democratic talking points to question members of both parties.
MRC analysts examined every broadcast from 6am ET to midnight ET on CNN and MSNBC during three randomly-selected weeks when Congress was in session (January 7-11, March 25-29 and June 10-14), amounting to 540 hours of programming. Each network conducted virtually the same number of interviews with sitting members of Congress: 159 on MSNBC, vs. 165 on CNN.
Our analysts found an overwhelming partisan bias on MSNBC, where congressional Democrats were interviewed 13 times more often than their GOP counterparts during these sample weeks (148 Democrats vs. just 11 Republicans). On CNN, the ratio was a still wildly-imbalanced four to one (136 vs. 29).
Note: Interviews with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Maine Senator Angus King, both independents who caucus with the Democrats, were included in the Democrats’ total.
Despite the current Republican majority in the Senate, Democrats accounted for 90 (87%) out of a total of 103 interviews with Senators, while Republican Senators received just 10 (10%). The split was virtually identical among members of the House: 199 (87%) were Democrats, while the remaining 30 (13%) were Republicans.
The presidential race was not the reason for the skewed results, since the congressional Democrats running for the 2020 nomination comprised only a small slice of the interviewees — just 10 of the total 134 Democrats interviewed on CNN (7%), and 19 out of 148 (13%) on MSNBC.