The broadcast morning and evening news shows have spent 20 minutes and 18 seconds focusing on White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments about the size of Donald Trump’s Inauguration crowd. Meanwhile, when President Trump signed a far more consequential executive order that limits the penalties from the Affordable Care Act, the same networks spent only 1 minute and 39 seconds covering it – less than one-twelfth the coverage.
CBS Evening News
Friday's NBC Nightly News hyped how President Donald Trump supposedly lobbed "verbal grenades" in his inauguration address, as Hallie Jackson put it. Chuck Todd contended that the speech was "shockingly divisive for an inaugural," and quickly added that it was "unnecessarily divisive." Todd later underlined that Trump "insulted almost every living president that was there...which, to me, was so stunning."
With President-elect Donald Trump set to take the oath of office in less than a day, CBS Evening News ended Thursday with anchor Scott Pelley turning the microphone over to former anchor Bob Schieffer to pontificate about how he imagines President Barack Obama. “In the early days, most Americans never saw their presidents or even their likenesses,” he began his gushy rambling, “In the modern era, we can't avoid them.”
Univision's report on President Barack Obama's commutation of the prison sentence of convicted terrorist Oscar Rivera López is an astounding case study in fake news. The story, which went entirely unreported on the evening ABC, CBS and NBC newscasts, took top billing on Univision newscast.
The end of Barack Obama’s reign as president of the United States appeared to hit the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) pretty hard. All three of them took the time to bid the President an emotional farewell at the end of their Wednesday night programs. “While President Obama was busy changing the White House…the White House was also changing him,” remarked anchor Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News.
Late Tuesday afternoon the White House announced a list of 64 convicted criminals they planned to pardon, including 209 others whose sentences were being shortened. “The Obama presidency is ending on a note of forgiveness,” declared anchor Scott Pelley at the start of CBS Evening News. One of the most controversial sentence commutations was that of Private Chelsea Manning, who stole and released thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. The network most excited by the development, by far, was NBC, but none dared to cover the release of an unrepentant terrorist.
The broadcast news networks barely even mentioned the latest significant overhaul of U.S. policy by the Obama Administration.
For two decades, the United States has granted asylum to Cuban fleeing the Castro regime who make it to American soil, a policy known as “wet foot, dry foot.” Now, in his final days in office, President Obama has ended this policy, to applause from the Cuban government. According to NBC’s Today, “The policy change has been in the works for several months, as the U.S. and Cuba work to cement changes in their relationship.”
Last night and this morning, ABC, CBS and NBC dedicated a paltry 86 seconds to this news. ABC was the worst with a stingy 15 seconds of coverage, while CBS came in close behind with 23 seconds.
The Big Three networks seemed full of glee Thursday evening as they reported that FBI Director James Comey was being investigated by the Justice Department’s inspector general. “Hoping for a measure of vindication,” announced anchor Lester Holt to kick off NBC Nightly News, “The Hillary Clinton campaign is welcoming the surprise news out of Washington today, that the Justice Department's Inspector General will take a deep look into how the FBI handled the investigation…”
Broadcast networks slammed Trump’s plan to prevent his businesses from being conflicts of interest during his presidency, and provided scant balance to defend him. During his first press conference on Jan. 11, President-elect Donald Trump introduced his lawyer who explained Trump’s multi-pronged approach to prevent conflicts of interest. Trump’s plan included giving control of his businesses through a trust to his sons, hiring an ethics adviser to review business deals and barring any Trump Organization deals with foreign entities.
After the Big Three networks spent days forwarding accusations that Senator Jeff Sessions was a bigot, the time for his first confirmation hearing had finally arrived. The hearing was interrupted some nine times by roughly 25 people. This caught the attention of Senator Ted Cruz who made it his mission to set the record straight on his colleague’s history of combating racism and dared the liberal media to report the truth. ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed Cruz’s challenge Tuesday evening.
To the surprise of probably no one who visits NewsBusters, CBS and NBC went soft in their Tuesday evening newscasts previewing President Obama’s farewell address, touting Obama as having been “the embodiment of hope and the personification of change.”
When President-elect Donald Trump announced that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, would be taking an advisory role in the White House, all three broadcast evening news shows raised concerns about “nepotism,” with each one specifically using that word. But, on January 25, 1993, when President Bill Clinton appointed his wife to lead a health care task force, the broadcast networks praised the decision, and not a single one even mentioned “nepotism.”