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.
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.
ABC seemed to be holding out hope Thursday evening on World News Tonight that BuzzFeed’s salacious accusations against President-elect Donald Trump were true. “The Russians and Trump have angrily denounced the allegations as completely false, including the unverified claim that Trump was secretly recorded when he visited Moscow,” declared Brian Ross giving the impression that the president-elect was mistaken, “Trump says he knows better than to let that happen.”
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.
Broadcast networks barely covered the skyrocketing national debt in the past year, but spent far more time on toy animals called Hatchimals. ABC and NBC gave the toy sensation three times more coverage than the debt. As of Jan. 9, the United States’ national debt was nearly $20 trillion ($19,955,343,885,377.73), according to the Treasury Department. The rising debt, according to multiple sources, threatens economic growth and fiscal stability.
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.
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.”
ABC’s World News Tonight closed out the show Monday evening with a spotlight on President Barack Obama snorkeling off the coast of Hawaii for the National Geographic Channel. Anchor David Muir could barely contain his joy as he led into his report. “Finally tonight here, President Obama taking a dive in a place he helped protect,” he stated, while sounding elated. “They’re images unlike anything we have seen before,” hyped Muir, “A sitting president snorkeling in open waters.”