Fact Check

Did ABC, CBS, and NBC Black Out Pam Bondi's Legal Defense of Trump?

Although the claim that the media "blacked out" coverage of a given topic is common, it can often be misleading.

Published Jan 31, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: In this screengrab taken from a Senate Television webcast, Legal Counsel for President Donald Trump, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks during impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on January 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Democratic House managers have concluded their opening arguments and President Trump's lawyers now continue to present their defense. (Photo by Senate Television via Getty Images) (Getty Images)
Image Via Getty Images
The "Big Three" networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC "blacked out" coverage of Pam Bondi's legal defense of U.S. President Donald Trump during his impeachment trial.

On Jan. 27, 2020, conservative political commentator Paul Sperry posted an inaccurate tweet in which he claimed the Big Three broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC all "blacked out" coverage of former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's defense of U.S. President Donald Trump in his ongoing impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. Bondi is now part of Trump's legal defense team.

Sperry's statement is demonstrably false. All three networks covered Bondi's speech, which was given on Jan. 27, 2020, and covered what she posited to be the wrongdoings of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma and former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, who served as a board member of the firm from 2014 to 2019.

Although neither Biden has been accused of criminal wrongdoing, the younger Biden's role on the board of Burisma has remained a talking point for defenders of Trump, who is accused of attempting to extort the Ukrainian president by withholding crucial military aid in exchange for damaging information on the Bidens.

Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.


NBC News. "Pam Bondi Focuses on Burisma, Biden Allegations in Impeachment Trial."   27 January 2020.

Owen, Quinn, et al. "Trump Impeachment Trial: President's Defense Team Goes After Bidens."   ABC News. 27 January 2020.

Segers, Grace, et al. "Impeachment Trial: Trump Team Presents Defense as Pressure Builds for New Witnesses."   28 January 2020.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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