CBS and NBC Bury Arrest of Illegal Immigrant Charged with Killing Five Americans

The latest illegal immigrant to allegedly murder innocent Americans was apprehended early Wednesday morning in Missouri and despite Mexican national Pablo Antonio Serrano-Vitorino having a checkered criminal record, CBS and NBC found as little reason as possible to inform their viewers of this horrendous crime. 

All told, the two combined for a measly total of seven seconds across their Wednesday morning and evening news programs (NBC’s Today and NBC Nightly News plus CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening News) with both leaving it to their early morning/overnight shows to keep the score from being an even further embarrassment. 

CBS This Morning provided the minuscule seven-second footnote in the program’s “Eye Opener” news compilation that’s shown at the start of the program (with the soundbite coming from a 24-second brief on the 4:00 a.m. Eastern show CBS Morning News).

This leaves NBC as having completely wiped any mention of Serrano-Vitorino’s crime spree from their morning and evening newscasts. Instead of putting this story on the air when they have their largest audiences, NBC banished this story to Early Today around the 4:08 a.m. Eastern mark when host Dara Brown spent 43 seconds on it.

Overall, the contrast could have been starker on ABC plus Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision as the coverage offered on their evening newscasts alone totaled four minutes and 44 seconds across two segments and a news brief.

ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir introduced correspondent Alex Perez’s report from Missouri by explaining that Serrano-Vitorino “appear[ed] in court today, prosecutors saying he was in the country illegally and should have been deported that authorities knew he was here.”

Perez followed with the details of Serrano-Vitorino’s alleged killings:

Investigators revealing the Mexican national suspected in a murder spree that left five dead wasn't supposed to be in the country. Authorities believe the suspect, an undocumented immigrant, gunned down his neighbor and three other men Monday night in Kansas City, Kansas. The suspect then fleeing, driving more than 170 miles to Montgomery County, Missouri. By Tuesday, his Dodge Ram found abandoned. 20 minutes later, another man shot dead at his home five miles away. Choppers, canine units scouring the area until the suspect is finally cornered in a muddy ditch.

Tell the Truth 2016

With the motive unclear, the ABC correspondent was left to relay only a short rundown of the illegal alien’s criminal past:

Serrano-Vitorino was deported to his native Mexico in 2004, but reentered the country undetected. After a traffic violation and an arrest for domestic assault last year, ICE sought to have him detained, but local officials had already released him. 

As mentioned above, both of the top Spanish-language networks outflanked their English counterparts in covering this story. The newscast Noticiero Telemundo featured a 30-second brief from co-anchor María Celeste Arrarás while Noticiero Univision devoted a surprising two-minute-and-43 second segment to the matter from correspondent Vilma Tarazona.

The coverage from World News Tonight came on the heels of ABC’s Good Morning America offering a 31-second news brief from news reader Amy Robach hours earlier. Robach mentioned that the reason being given for Serrano-Vitorino being released following his previous criminal charges was due to “a paperwork error.”

To broaden the scope even further as an example of how shameful CBS and NBC were to censor this tragic story, even ABC’s early morning newscast America This Morning scrapped together 32 seconds for Serrano-Vitorino’s apprehension.

Editor's Note: Many thanks to MRC Latino's Edgard Portela for contributing the Spanish-language network evening newscast totals to this blog.

The transcript of the segment from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on March 9 can be found below.

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
March 9, 2016
6:41 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Deadly Mistake]

DAVID MUIR: Now to Missouri and to the murder spree that left five people dead in two states. The suspect appearing in court today, prosecutors saying he was in the country illegaly  and should have been deported that authorities knew he was here. ABC's Alex Perez tonight on the warning signs missed. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Deadly Mistake; Spree Suspect was in the Country Illegally]

ALEX PEREZ: Tonight, Pablo Antonio Serrano-Vitorino behind bars. Investigators revealing the Mexican national suspected in a murder spree that left five dead wasn't supposed to be in the country. Authorities believe the suspect, an undocumented immigrant, gunned down his neighbor and three other men Monday night in Kansas City, Kansas. The suspect then fleeing, driving more than 170 miles to Montgomery County, Missouri. By Tuesday, his Dodge Ram found abandoned. 20 minutes later, another man shot dead at his home five miles away. Choppers, canine units scouring the area until the suspect is finally cornered in a muddy ditch. 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN ON POLICE COMMUNICATIONS: Confirming subject in custody. 

PEREZ: Serrano-Vitorino was deported to his native Mexico in 2004, but reentered the country undetected. After a traffic violation and an arrest for domestic assault last year, ICE sought to have him detained, but local officials had already released him. 

WYANDOTTE COUNTY, KS DISTRICT ATTORNEY JEROME GORMAN: Something needs to be corrected so that the system works properly. 

PEREZ: The suspect has arraigned on murder charges here in Missouri, and still faces charges in Kansas. The big question, a possible motive remains a mystery tonight. David? 

MUIR: Alex Perez. Alex, thanks.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center