CNN vs. Fox News: Mueller’s Farewell
May 29, 2019
Special Counsel Robert Mueller today made an announcement that he was closing the special counsel’s office and resigning from the Justice Department. He also gave information regarding the Trump Investigation. Naturally CNN and Fox News both reported on the matter, so Midwest Truth will analyze both different reports. For the sake of this analysis, outside information will not be brought in, unless egregious oversights have been made.
BASIC FACTS AND ARCHIVE LINKS
Headline: Mueller: ‘If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so’
Word Estimate: 1481
Headline: Mueller says charging Trump with a crime was ‘not an option’ in Russia probe, in first public remarks
Word Estimate: 1318
Already, we have a major clash between CNN and Fox News. With CNN’s title, the reader will immediately think that US President Trump is somewhere between guilty, or have committed some sort of suspicious act. The Fox News headline on the other implies either Trump is not guilty of anything, or at least that Mueller could not present a charge. This continues with major differences within the first few paragraphs.
CNN slams out of the gate, immediately calling Mueller’s address “rare” and “remarkable.” The company then goes and produces implications from the report. According to CNN:
“In Mueller’s first public comments on the investigation since he was appointed special counsel two years ago, he emphasized that Justice Department guidelines did not allow him to charge a sitting President, and as a result, his office did not determine whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice.”
CNN based this assumption seemingly off of the following Mueller quote:
“If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime.”
Fox News on the opposite side of the coin goes slower, referencing both major Trump related aspects of the Mueller investigation. First, Fox News tackled whether Trump colluded with the Russians, in which Mueller said there “was not sufficient evidence to charge a conspiracy.” Then, Fox News went to the obstruction of justice issue. They included the same Mueller quote CNN did, but added in additional quotes.
“Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider,” Mueller explained, adding that “it would be unfair to accuse someone of a crime when there could be no court resolution of the charge.”
“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse the president of wrongdoing,” Mueller said Wednesday, echoing his report which states that Congress “may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”
“We concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime,” Mueller added. “That is the office’s final position.”
Fox News spent significantly more time on this section of the report, and for their narrative it pays dividends. A CNN reader would just take away that Mueller did not charge Trump with obstruction because of process reasons, but Mueller would have been in the right to charge trump with a crime. However, reading Fox News the reader would be shown that had made no such hard determination. In fact, there was no determination at all.
CNN, following their narrative then lines up a slew of Democrats, with California Sen. Kamala Harris saying “Bob Mueller was essentially referring impeachment to the United States Congress.” CNN’s report continues with information regarding Trump’s statement of innocence, and had a whole section dedicated to discussion on why or why not Mueller should testify to congress.
Fox News on the other side did cover some Democratic statements, like the one of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, the report almost completely diverges from the CNN report. The Fox News report shares information on how Trump is responding to Mueller’s statements, and then goes into how Mueller defends Attorney General Bill Barr.
It is scary to see how differently the CNN and Fox News reports diverge based upon the same information. All Fox News had to do was include a few extra paragraphs, and the reader takes away two different narratives.
It is clear that both media outlets had their one narrative they wanted to push, but the CNN report was the worst. It made what I consider to be an assertion right off the bat, with a quote barely defending their own argument. Fox News on the other hand built a more solid narrative. Mind you their narrative was mostly quotes, but quotes are harder to pick apart than argumentative statements. Those require a lot of back up quotes and facts, which CNN failed to procure.
Point 1 for House Fox.