CNN devoted significantly more airtime over a seven-day period to the new paint job on former President Donald Trump’s plane, as it did to the Republican Party’s plan to risk economic disaster by demanding huge spending cuts in programs like Social Security and Medicare as a condition for raising the debt ceiling after midterm. The network spent about 14 minutes on the first story compared to 11 minutes on the second, according to a Media Matters review.
Bloomberg Government reported earlier this month that “changes to Social Security and Medicare eligibility, spending limits and safety net work requirements are among the top priorities of leading House Republicans who want to use next year’s debt limit delay to win concessions from Democrats.” The plan, detailed by House Republicans who would seek to chair the House Budget Committee in a GOP-controlled Congress, is to put Democrats in a no-win situation: Cuts to social safety nets would devastate American families who depend on these programs, while experts say do not act on the debt ceiling cause economic disaster.
GOP plans to threaten global financial crisis to secure spending cuts first received almost no attention mass media outlets. But more reporters started paying attention after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who will likely become Speaker of the House if Republicans take control, signaled his support for this in an interview with Punchbowl News published on October 18.
On CNN since, commentators have describe the GOP plan as an “absolutely irresponsible” policy that “would risk the United States defaulting on its debt.” They have warned that the result could be an “economic disaster” in which “the global economy would collapse”. They have describe the plan promoted by an “extreme group” without “public support”. And they pointed out that the GOP would be “holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage for ideological purposes simply because the president is from a different party” in a way “massively destabilizing for the United States and the world”.
But CNN isn’t giving the Republican plan to leverage the debt ceiling the airtime those descriptions would suggest. The network gave the story about 11 minutes of attention in the week following Punchbowl News’ Oct. 18 report that McCarthy had signed off on the plan. The network devoted only one correspondent report to the subject, in the October 24 edition of New day. Notably, anchor Jake Tapper asked two Congress guests on the debt ceiling plan during Sunday’s edition of State of the Union (Media Matters previously had distinguished this program and other Sunday morning political talk shows for ignoring the story).
By contrast, CNN devoted about 14 minutes over the same period — including four full reports featuring White House correspondent Kate Bennett — to the exclusive story about how Trump’s ‘legendary Boeing 757’ had returned to the airport near his Mar-a-Lago residence after repairs and could soon be on the campaign trail. This report, which speculated that “the return of the so-called ‘Trump Force One’ to its home base could come as a shock to Trump fans”, also relied on “flight data studied and analyzed by CNN and aviation experts consulted by CNN”. such as an in-depth look at the social media activity of the Trump orbit characters to detail the plane’s new paint job.
CNN’s on-air coverage featured the same breathy tone about the updated plane and what it means for a potential future Trump run: