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Cable News Spent Way More Time on Obama’s Handshake, Selfie Than It Did on Nelson Mandela

If it seemed like cable news spent more time covering President Barack Obama’s handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro and “selfie” with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt than they did on the substance of Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, that’s because they did.

An analysis put together by Media Matters reveals that on Tuesday night, December 10th the big three cable news networks spent an average 62% of their Mandela-themed segments focusing on either the handshake or the selfie, with 38% of that time spent discussing Mandela’s legacy and the rest of the memorial service.

CNN appeared to be the worst offender, dedicating 67% of its Mandela time to the handshake/selfie and only 33% to the rest. Fox News had a 64% to 36% split with MSNBC doing somewhat better at 56% to 44%.

The backlash to the coverage of Obama’s handshake was perhaps best summed up by The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, who said, “Obama had the audacity to greet another world leader with a gesture so meaningless, you can train a basset hound to do it.” As for the selfie, he did think that was “kind of fucked up.”

Watch the handshake video below, via CNN:

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