CBS Ignores Weiner Pleading Guilty to Obscenity Charge; ABC Barely Covers

On Friday night, the CBS Evening News found itself divorced from the full picture of the day’s news, ignoring disgraced former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner (N.Y.) pleading guilty to a federal obscenity charge and will register as a sex offender for sexting with an underage girl.

ABC’s World News Tonight couldn’t do much better with only a 17-second news brief (and tease) while NBC Nightly News gave it a full, two-minute-and-one-second segment on the matter and how much jail time Weiner could face. Of course, neither found the brief moment to mention that Weiner was a Democrat. 

As part of the newscast’s Instant Index segment, ABC anchor David Muir reported:

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner pleading guilty to a federal obscenity charge. The former Congressman admitting he sent obscene material to a minor. Tearfully telling the court saying he has a sickness today. The sexting scandal ending his career and now his marriage. Huma Abedin filing for divorce today. He will be sentenced in September.

Over on NBC, anchor Lester Holt gave the plea deal a prime spot as one of the segments teased at the onset of the show. About 10 minutes in, Holt stated that “Weiner broke down in court today as he pleaded guilty to exchanging sexually explicit messages with a 15-year-old girl and a short time later, we learned his estranged wife Huma Abedin has filed for divorce.”

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Correspondent Kristen Dahlgren minced now words:

One-time Congressman Anthony Weiner will soon have a new title, registered sex offender. The disgraced politician pleading guilty in federal court to transmitting obscene material to a minor, admitting to sending racy texts to a 15-year-old last year, including one photo with his own child next to him. Breaking down as he read a prepared statement, describing “destructive impulses.” “I have a sickness but I do not have an excuse.” 

Dahlgren alluded to Abedin filing for divorce and noting that it was Carlos Danger who’s misdeeds “threw the presidential campaign into turmoil when James Comey revealed Clinton e-mails discovered on Weiner's laptop.”

Summarizing his departure from Congress due to the first of three sexting scandals and his derailed New York City mayoral bid after the second lapse, Dahlgren provided details on how long Weiner could be behind bars when sentenced in September: “The government seeking between 21 and 27 months in prison.”

Here’s the transcript for the tease and brief from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on May 19:

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
May 19, 2017
6:49 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

DAVID MUIR: When we come back here on a Friday night, the stunning moment in federal court today. Anthony Weiner, in tears, saying I have a sickness but I have no excuse. We’ll have that in a moment

(....) 

6:52 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Weiner Facing Prison]

DAVID MUIR: Former Congressman Anthony Weiner pleading guilty to a federal obscenity charge. The former Congressman admitting he sent obscene material to a minor. Tearfully telling the court saying he has a sickness today. The sexting scandal ending his career and now his marriage. Huma Abedin filing for divorce today. He will be sentenced in September.

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Here’s the transcript for the tease and segment from May 19's NBC Nightly News:

NBC Nightly News
May 19, 2017
7:00 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Pleading Guilty]

LESTER HOLT: Pleading guilty, Anthony Weiner breaks down as he admits sexting a minor. How much time he could face as Huma Abedin files for divorce. 

(....)

7:10 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Pleaded Guilty]

HOLT: Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner broke down in court today as he pleaded guilty to exchanging sexually explicit messages with a 15-year-old girl and a short time later, we learned his estranged wife Huma Abedin has filed for divorce. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren tells us how much time he could face behind bars. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Anthony Weiner Pleads Guilty to Sexting a Minor]

KRISTEN DAHLGREN: One-time Congressman Anthony Weiner will soon have a new title, registered sex offender. The disgraced politician pleading guilty in federal court to transmitting obscene material to a minor, admitting to sending racy texts to a 15-year-old last year, including one photo with his own child next to him. Breaking down as he read a prepared statement, describing “destructive impulses.” “I have a sickness but I do not have an excuse.” Weiner is married to top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. It was the investigation into Weiner that threw the presidential campaign into turmoil when James Comey revealed Clinton e-mails discovered on Weiner's laptop. 

ANTHONY WEINER: I'm here today to again apologize. 

DAHLGREN: In 2011, Weiner resigned from Congress in disgrace over his first sexting scandal. 

WEINER: Today I'm announcing my resignation from Congress. [SCREEN WIPE] This is why I'm in the race. 

DAHLGREN: In 2013, he ran for mayor of New York until he was caught sexting again. Their drama captured in a documentary. Today, Abedin officially filed for divorce, seeking full custody of their five-year-old son. It's still unclear how Weiner's status as a sex offender could affect a custody battle and he may have to be off probation before he can visit his child's school. The government seeking between 21 and 27 months in prison. 

ARI MELBER: A defendant doesn't plea because they don't want a messy trial. They plea because they think it's better for them that they’ll get less time in jail. 

DAHLGREN: Weiner will be sentenced in September and one more blow in the stunning fall from grace, the serial sexter forced to surrender his smart phone. Kristen Dahlgren, NBC News, New York.

CyberAlerts Bias by Omission Double Standards Name That Party Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Sex Scandals ABC World News CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Anthony Weiner Lester Holt David Muir Huma Abedin
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