NYT’s Rutenberg Claims Hillary’s New Troubles Have Been Covered; ‘That Was a Real Story’

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A few days after New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg wrote a front-page piece about “[t]he challenge” of remaining objective when covering Donald Trump, he joined MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday morning to claim that despite Trump sucking up much of the media’s attention, the media have been able to aggressively cover Hillary Clinton and her many scandals. 

Co-host Mika Brzezinski had chimed in moments beforehand that she’s “comfortable” saying that she (and probably co-host Joe Scarborough) supposedly “predicted a lot of things that could happen” and complained that “you have this anger that you see on Twitter and people in our media community just bashing us for quote supporting” Trump.

Rutenberg responded by revealing the not surprising but convenient admission from the liberal media that “there was a collective feeling that all of television news was giving him too much say” in the primaries (at the expense of his opponents like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio) without realizing that he should be “questioned” about the things he said.

Turning to Clinton, however, Rutenberg ruled that Trump “takes up so much oxygen that the fear is and I mentioned in this in the column that she doesn't get looked at enough, especially some people that think Donald Trump can’t win the presidency.” 

On that question of whether Clinton has been sufficiently challenged (spoiler alert: she’s not), Rutenberg spun that “I think you saw that happen this week” with a “new report about, you know...the [Clinton] Foundation” and the controversy over the Department of Justice denying the FBI’s chance to investigate the scandal-ridden charity.

“[T]hat was a real story, but we’re also spending the week talking about whether Donald Trump was making a menacing comment about ‘Second Amendment people.’ So, this week was classic,” he concluded. 

As NewsBusters readers would quickly recognize, the claim about Clinton’s recent troubles this week doesn’t hold any water. On Wednesday night, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC offered almost four times more coverage on Trump than Hillary’s e-mail/foundation problems. 

Tuesday night into Wednesday morning saw much the same story as the same networks devoted more than five times the coverage to Trump’s “Second Amendment people” comments than Orlando terrorist father Seddique Mateen attending a Hillary Clinton rally.

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s Morning Joe on August 12 can be found below.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe
August 12, 2016
8:51 a.m. Eastern

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I'm comfortable — I think that we predicted a lot of things that could happen. We felt a glut it could happen and when things seemed awry, we called it out every step of the way and yet, you have this anger that you see on Twitter and people in our media community just bashing us for quote supporting just because we knew what could happen. Does that make sense? I mean, you have a similar problem with covering Hillary Clinton. 

JIM RUTENBERG: Right. Well, I think to start with the first part of your question, I mean, there was a collective feeling that all of television news was giving him too much say, right? And so collectively it's why isn't he being pressed? Why isn't he being questioned? Which now we’re seeing. As for your question about Hillary Clinton, and you spoke about this a little bit today too, when he takes up so much oxygen that the fear is and I mentioned in this in the column that she doesn't get looked at enough, especially some people that think Donald Trump can’t win the presidency. I don’t agree with that, but then if you think that, then Hillary Clinton needs to be continually pressed and reported upon just as hard and I think you saw that happen this week. There was a new report about, you know —

BRZEZINSKI: The foundation. 

RUTENBERG: Yeah, the foundation. The FBI wanting to look into it, the Justice Department's reaction to that and it going forward, that was a real story, but we’re also spending the week talking about whether Donald Trump was making a menacing comment about “Second Amendment people.” So, this week was classic in the way the campaign was —

BRZEZINSKI: But can’t we say it was a menacing comment? I mean, are we supposed to say — some say, I mean as reporters are we supposed to characterize it or can we be honest? 

MEACHAM: I thought that The Times’s actual characterization was good because it was where you all ended up reporting it.