Accuracy in Media

CNN blasted Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and his wife for selling more than $1 million in stock last month, but ignored Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) doing the same.

Burr and his wife sold at least $1.7 million in stock last month before the stock market tanked in light of the coronavirus pandemic news. The Burrs sold stock in companies such as Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and Extended Stay America. ProPublica noted that both hospitality chains lost value after the stock market’s decline.

By comparison, Feinstein sold off between $1.5 million to $6 million between January 31 and February 18 in stock in California-based biotech company Allogene Therapeutics. Feinstein told the media that her stocks are managed through a blind trust and that she had no control over its decisions.

In total, the Burrs sold up to $1.7 million, which paled in comparison to Feinstein’s $6 million total.

The discrepancy in reporting highlighted CNN’s bias against Republicans like Burr. Fox News reported that Feinstein had sold off stocks before the stock market decline, but CNN did not include Feinstein’s stock sell-off in its article. By our calculations, Feinstein made at least $4.3 million more than Burr in stock sales, but Burr is receiving the brunt of CNN’s criticism. It was not fair for CNN to single out Burr, while Feinstein also sold off stocks ahead of a stock market decline.

CNN also based their criticism off allegedly hypocritical comments Burr made to individuals behind closed doors. In private, he allegedly told people that the coronavirus was a lot more dire than the Trump administration would like to admit. “There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history. It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic,” Burr said. However, his office disagreed with the media’s conclusion and said that his message was “the one public health officials urged all of us to heed as coronavirus spread increased: Be prepared.”

CNN should update its article to include Feinstein’s stock sell-off and note that insider trading violations is not limited to Republican lawmakers.

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