Media Matters: Mainstream Media Avoids SOPA/PIPA Coverage

Is the mainstream broadcast media ignoring SOPA and Protect IP because their parent companies support it? Media Matters thinks so, and has released the results of an investigation on the topic.

Controversial legislation that the co-founder of Google has warned "would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world" has received virtually no coverage from major American television news outlets during their evening newscasts and opinion programming. The parent companies of most of these networks, as well as two of the networks themselves, are listed as official "supporters" of this legislation on the U.S. House of Representatives' website.

The group says that most major television news outlets including MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, CBS, and NBC have ignored the bill during their evening broadcasts. The one exception to that rule was CNN, who devoted a single evening segment to it. Media Matters says that the data on this lack of coverage is based on a search of the Lexis-Nexis database going back to October 1, 2011. They also note that the Nexis database does not include daytime coverage ore Shep Smith's 7 pm nightly Fox News program. Both were excluded from the study.

The legislation has many supporters in the television broadcast industry, which could explain why many news outlets have ignored coverage of the bills and the furor over them online. ABC and CBS are listed as supporters of the bill on the House Judiciary Committee website, along with Comcast/NBC Universal (owns MSNBC and NBC News), Viacom (CBS), News Corporation (Fox News), and Time Warner (CNN). Disney Publishing Worldwide (the Walt Disney Corporation subsidiary that owns ABC), is also listed as a supporter, as are other Disney-owned properties such as ESPN and Hyperion publishing.

While television has mostly ignored SOPA and the subsequent fallout from it, the online arms of most of these news outlets have posted regular articles about the fight over the legislation.

The notable exceptions have been Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room on CNN and Judge Andrew Napolitano's Freedom Watch on Fox Business Network.

Source: Media Matters

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