Well this is worth a thumbs-up: the networks are choosing “baby” over “fetus” to describe one very special unborn baby this morning.
During their morning broadcast news shows, NBC and ABC featured a now-viral ultrasound of a baby in the womb giving the thumbs-up. Hosts gushed over the “incredible” and “cute” shot – and, in a surprising move, repeatedly used the word “baby.” The father, Brandon Hopkins, originally posted the picture on Reddit, where it went viral. He and his wife announced they’re expecting twins in January. Videos Below.
On Sept. 2, NBC “Today” Co-host Willie Geist recognized how “a baby who hasn’t even been born yet” became “a huge hit on social media” through an “incredible shot.” Geist never once uttered “fetus,” except to explain the baby’s viral nickname: “Some are calling the baby the ‘Fonzie Fetus’ after Henry Winkler’s character on ‘Happy Days,’” he explained. Story continues after the video.
Similarly, during ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Co-host Amy Robach acknowledged “a couple’s baby clearly giving a thumbs-up.” “Look how cute that is!” she gushed. Story continues after the video.
Other broadcast news shows followed suit the same day, with “Morning Joe” Co-host Mika Brzezinski noting the “baby” as well as “Fox and Friends” Co-host Steve Doocy. Fox’s lower third used both terms: “Baby Fonzie: Fetus Gives Thumbs-up in Ultrasound.”
This latest move by NBC and ABC contrasts with the media’s (lack of) coverage on life events – but signals a change. An NBC host also recently admitted “life in the womb” is “much busier in there than you might expect.”
UPDATE: CBS joined in on the network coverage during "Evening News with Scott Pelley." Stepping in as anchor for the Sept. 2 show, Charlie Rose referred to the "internet star" as a "baby" multiple times.
ABC showed the ultrasound again, the same evening, during "World News Tonight with David Muir." Muir highlighted the famous "little guy or girl" as well as ultrasounds sent in by viewers.
— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.