How cable news covered the Cohen-Trump recording story

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After The New York Times posted a report that Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen secretly recorded Trump discussing payments to a Playboy model, the news was quickly picked up by cable news:

  • MSNBC was the first cable network to mention the New York Times story on air, coming back from a break at 11:46 a.m. eastern during “MSNBC Live” with Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi.
  • The story occupied the remainder of the hour until Andrea Mitchell took over at noon and was the sole topic for approximately half of the noon hour.
  • CNN switched away from an interview with David Axelrod at 11:50 a.m.
  • “At This Hour” anchor Kate Bouldan tossed to national political correspondent M.J. Lee, sitting in front of a flashcam position, who gave the emerging details of the story.
  • Like MSNBC, CNN covered the story for the remainder of the hour, with John King’s “Inside Politics” picking up the coverage at noon. Its coverage also took up about half of the noon block of programming.
  • Fox News was the last cable network to mention the New York Times report on air, first mentioning the story at about 12:06 p.m. during “Outnumbered.”
  • At about the same time the story broke and MSNBC was already covering the story, Fox’s “America’s Newsroom” was airing an interview with the acting director of ICE and followed that with a “Fox News Alert” teaser on severe weather in the midwest before heading into a commercial break.
  • After returning from the break, Fox was still in “alert” mode, but switched to coverage of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s visit to the U.N.
  • It then switched to weather coverage the rest of the hour, including another “alert” on the duck boat accident in Missouri.
  • “Outnumbered” started at noon without mention of the Cohen story, instead topping the broadcast with another “Fox News Alert” — though this one simply returned to the U.N. story.
  • The Cohen report was first covered by Fox on air at 12:06 p.m., with Harris Faulkner introducing the report before discussing it with the show’s panel.
  • The show broke away from the story at 12:23 p.m. when, coming out of a break, it covered Trump appointees to the appeals court and Supreme Court as well as a brief mention that it was “standing by” for remarks at the U.N.
  • “Outnumbered” returned to the Cohen story, after another break, from approximately 12:31 to 12:34 p.m., with a live report from Peter Doocy, the son of “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy.
  • All three cable networks returned to the story Cohen tapes story periodically throughout the afternoon.