ABC and NBC led their morning shows on Tuesday with nearly 10 minutes of "breaking news" coverage of Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy. This celebrity-driven story was apparently deemed more important than abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell being found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, as Good Morning America and Today devoted just 38 seconds to the Gosnell trial. (audio clips of Jolie coverage available here; video below the jump)
Altogether, the ABC and NBC morning newscasts aired 19 minutes and 3 seconds of coverage on Jolie. Tuesday's CBS This Morning waited 12 minutes to cover the Hollywood news item, but ultimately ended up setting aside 7 minutes and 49 seconds of air time to the surgeries, versus a 18 second news brief on Gosnell. The total Big Three coverage of Jolie on Tuesday morning, including CBS's reporting, added up to 26 minutes and 52 seconds, as opposed to 56 seconds on the Gosnell case.
Today anchor Savannah Guthrie trumpeted the "stunning" news about Jolie's mastectomies, and hailed the actress as "courageous" as she teased Dr. Nancy Snyderman's report on the medical procedures. Snyderman turned to Ken Baker of the E! entertainment network as a talking head during the segment, which further underlined the celebrity component of the story. News anchor Natalie Morales' 21-second long news brief on Gosnell aired eight minutes later.
Over an hour after Dr. Snyderman's 5 minutes, 7 seconds-long report on Jolie, Guthrie interviewed breast surgeon Dr. Alexandra Heerdt about the actress' genetic risk for breast cancer, as well as the multiple surgical procedures that she likely underwent. Morales also gave a news brief recapping the news story that last 37 seconds. The news anchor returned just after the top of the third hour of the Today show for a 1 minute, 56 second-long discussion segment about Jolie with NBC colleagues Willie Geist and Al Roker.
Good Morning America anchors Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos also used the "stunning" label during their promos on the actress' "hardest choice." Roberts continued by gushing that Jolie wrote "such a moving op-ed in the New York Times." Correspondent Paula Faris aired a full report on the news story, which was followed by a segment with ABC senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton.
Eight minutes later, news anchor Josh Elliott gave his 17-second-long news brief on the Gosnell trial. It was the first time that GMA ever mentioned the case against the convicted murderer, and only the second time that ABC covered the story. It took the network 56 days to air its first report about the abortionist on Monday's World News. Instead, ABC devoted 187 minutes to other gruesome criminal cases, including those of Jodi Arias and Amanda Knox.
Together, the Faris and Ashton segments on the movie star took up the first four minutes and 42 seconds of the morning show. Faris returned for a three minute, 41 seconds-long discussion segment during the second hour of Good Morning America that included People magazine's Larry Hackett.
Instead of Jolie's mastectomies, CBS This Morning led with two full reports on two recent controversies involving the Obama administration: the IRS's targeting of Tea Party groups and the Justice Departments probe into the Associated Press' phone records. Anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell also interviewed House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on the ongoing political battle over the 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi before turning to correspondent Ben Tracy for his report on the actress' medical procedures. They also brought on CBS News contributor Dr. David Agus to discuss the issue. Rose then gave his 18 second-long news brief on Gosnell after the Tracy and Agus segments.
The full transcript of the Gosnell news briefs on ABC's Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and NBC's Today on Tuesday:
07:13 am EDT
NBC – Today
[NBC News Graphic: "Penalty Phase: Abortion Doctor Convicted Of Murder, Jury To Weigh Death Penalty"]
NATALIE MORALES: The Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of first-degree murder now awaits a verdict on whether or not he should face the death penalty. Dr. Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of murder on Monday in the deaths of three babies, and he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of an abortion patient. Both pro-choice and pro-life groups are supporting the guilty verdict.
07:14 am EDT
ABC – Good Morning America
[ABC News Graphic: "Abortion Doctor Convicted: Could Face Death Penalty"]
JOSH ELLIOTT: Meanwhile, a Philadelphia abortion doctor could face the death penalty now after being found guilty of killing three newborns. Prosecutors describe as a house of horrors. A grand jury report found that D. Kermit Gosnell's clinic had not been inspected for 15 years.
07:17 am EDT
CBS This Morning
[CBS News Graphic: "Abortion Doctor Verdict: Gosnell Found Guilty Of Murder"]
CHARLIE ROSE: After ten weeks of testimony, a Philadelphia abortion doctor has been found guilty of murder. A jury found 72-year-old Kermit Gosnell guilty of three counts of first-degree murder. He was convicted in the deaths of three babies that were delivered at his abortion clinic in West Philadelphia. At his sentencing hearing next week, Gosnell could face the death penalty.