Media Inconveniently Makes Household Name of Clinton Bundler, Norman Hsu, Thus Too Busy To Give Romney Bundler Equal Time

Media Matters continues to be among the most relevant places I can go to on the web. This came yesterday, via their email list: an analysis of the disparity in press coverage between Norman Hsu, the Clinton donor bundler who was arrested recently, and Alan Fabian, a Romney donor bundler, who was just indicted.

You’ve heard of Norman Hsu — why not Robert Lichfield?

As of 11 a.m. today, a Nexis search for “Norman Hsu AND Clinton” returns 1,252 hits. The nation’s leading news organizations provide a substantial portion of those results:

The New York Times: 26

Los Angeles Times: 20

The Washington Post: 16

USA Today: 2

Chicago Tribune: 9

The Boston Globe: 8

Associated Press: 47

Newsweek: 2

Time: 1

U.S. News & World Report: 2

CNN: 45

Fox News: 29

NBC News: 14

NPR: 14

ABC News: 6

CBS News: 5

MSNBC: 6

(The actual number of news reports by those organizations, particularly the television outlets, is certainly higher than the Nexis results indicate.)

To date, 137 different newspapers have written about Hsu and Clinton in a total of 591 articles, according to Nexis, and 132 broadcast and cable news transcripts mention Hsu and Clinton.

By contrast, a Nexis search for “Alan Fabian AND Romney” yields a total of only 21 hits. Here’s how they break down for the news organizations listed above:

The New York Times: 0

Los Angeles Times: 0

The Washington Post: 1

USA Today: 1

Chicago Tribune: 0

The Boston Globe: 0

Associated Press: 0

Newsweek: 0

Time: 0

U.S. News & World Report: 0

CNN: 0

Fox News: 0

NBC News: 0

NPR: 0

ABC News: 0

CBS News: 0

MSNBC: 0

That’s a whole lot of zeros. Of those 21 results, seven are reports that also mention Hsu. The Washington Post report, for example, contained 97 words about Romney and Fabian in the midst of a 1,457 word front-page article about controversial donors to presidential campaigns. Those 1,457 words included the grand total of 137 about Romney donors. No other Republican candidate was mentioned. The vast majority of the article focused on Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. So, even when Fabian has been mentioned, it has often been only in passing, as part of a report about controversial donors to Democratic campaigns.

Given the disparate media coverage of Norman Hsu and Alan Fabian, you probably know who Hsu is. But by now, you’re probably wondering who Alan Fabian is. Alan Fabian was a Romney bundler until his recent indictment on 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, perjury, and obstruction of justice. At his arraignment today, Fabian pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

The indictment of a top Romney bundler has resulted in essentially no coverage from the same news organizations that have obsessed over the controversy surrounding a Clinton bundler. And remember, when the media first began focusing on Hsu, it was not yet known that he had any legal woes, so they don’t explain the media’s interest in Hsu and disinterest in Fabian.

It’s just more proof that the news is produced out of pre-existing stories more than it is not, and that our press continues to fail us in this country by the way it ignores what it doesn’t want to see. There’s more to this article, and if you’d also like to receive Jamison Foser’s weekly roundup, the link I used when I signed up is here.

I’m not a schill for them, in the interest of disclosure, and neither am I a Clinton supporter nor a Romney supporter. I do have this crazy old-fashioned belief in the power of the press, though.

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