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On Thursday’s network evening programs, ABC’s World News Tonight was the only newscast to make no mention of the 5:00 p.m. EDT debate between the bottom seven Republican presidential contenders ahead of the 9:00 p.m. EDT event featuring the top ten candidates. In addition, the CBS Evening News skipped Carly Fiorina’s attack on fellow candidate Donald Trump for his phone call with Bill Clinton. 



During MSNBC’s 4 p.m. ET hour pre-debate coverage on Thursday, Hardball host Chris Matthews called on Fox News moderators to grill the Republican presidential candidates on evolution: “So I would like to think that Fox is just brazen enough to ask some – what they call bizarre questions....If a person doesn’t believe in science or evolution or the evidence of our life on this earth, that’s a bad start. Okay?”



On Wednesday, the CBS Evening News complained about the U.S. maternity polices and unfavorably compared America to Micronesia and Tonga. Anchor Scott Pelley noted Netflix's decision allow a year of leave. Reporter Jim Axelrod then chided: "The U.S. is the only western developed country not requiring companies to offer paid maternity leave, joining countries like Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, and Tonga." Axelrod featured Morgan Baden, a vice president at Scholastic, to complain, "I personally think that's a travesty. I think the U.S. could do so much more in valuing motherhood."



Bristol Palin was once in Lois Lerner’s sights, according to a newly released Senate report on the IRS executive’s e-mails. The daughter of liberal media hate object Sarah Palin got on Lerner's radar due to her work with Candie’s Foundation - a group that works to reduce teen pregnancy. In a newly released e-mail Lerner wrote: “Thoughts on the Bristol Palin issue? I’m asking because I don’t know whether to send to Exam as a referral.” So far Lerner’s interest has yet to be mentioned on the usually celebrity-obsessed Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) morning and evening shows.



On her Thursday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell fretted that Republican candidates would be not be properly “fact-checked” during the upcoming presidential debate, especially on the Planned Parenthood scandal: “...one of the issues is going to be whether there's going to be any fact checking by the moderators. Certainly we can all do it later after the fact. But the Planned Parenthood debate has not been very fact-based because of those horrific videos, the edited videos.”



Planned Parenthood and its defenders have played up that the recent undercover videos were "highly-edited," and that producers are "not journalists," but "violent extremists." However, ABC aired their own segment on biomedical firms possibly breaking the law to obtain organs from unborn babies. In 2000, Chris Wallace, then with ABC, revealed on 20/20 that a "hidden camera investigation has found a thriving industry, in which aborted fetuses women donate to help medical research are being marketed for hundreds – even thousands of dollars."



The three liberal networks on Thursday mourned the loss of Jon Stewart's Daily Show, hyping the comedian as a "trusted," "profound" "beacon" who became a "true 21st century anchor." Never directly identifying Stewart's left-wing slant, Good Morning America's Chris Connelly offered the most effusive praise: "Along the way, for many millennials and for the media elite, Stewart came to be regarded as a beacon guiding his viewers through a sea of spin and cynicism." Speaking of a man who brought in a choir to sing a "go f***k yourself" song to Fox News, Connelly fawned that Stewart is "a true 21st century anchor." 



In a rare acknowledgment of media responsibility, on Thursday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer declared that it was up to the press to properly cover the first Republican presidential debate: “...that idea of substance versus sizzle, one-liners versus issues. That's on us tomorrow as well. We’ve got to make sure that we cover what they talk about, the issues as opposed to those one-liners.”



During an appearance on CBS This Morning to preview Thursday's GOP presidential debate, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul harshly criticized the media for giving Donald Trump so much coverage while ignoring the other 16 candidates running for president. After Charlie Rose wondered why Paul’s message failed to connect with the voters in the same way as Trump, the Kentucky senator explained that Trump "had a little bit of help. Y'all covered him with about a billion dollars’ worth of news media.”



After all three major broadcast networks covered on Wednesday morning news that the FBI is investigating Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server, ABC and NBC moved on from it by the time their evening newscasts rolled around to instead award nearly two minutes to the Cecil the lion story. Joining ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News in the blackout of this development was Spanish-language network Telemundo and its evening newscast, Noticiero Telemundo.



In a Wednesday column, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman extended his odd obsession with raising the gas tax into the 2016 Republican presidential debate. But Friedman will have a hard time convincing Republicans to listen if he keeps throwing around insults, like describing the party's donors and supporters as embracing the "angry anti-science, anti-tax, anti-government, anti-minorities, anti-gay rights and anti-immigration views of the Tea Party and its media enforcer, Fox News."



On Wednesday night, the major broadcast networks came out in full force to praise a “defiant” President Barack Obama for having made a “sweeping speech with fiery words” on the Iran nuclear deal that included the President following some in the media by comparing Iranian hardliners to Republicans against the deal (even though some Democrats are opposed to it as well). Hanging on to Obama’s every word, NBC's Chris Jansing hailed him for being “on the attack” and “answering critics of the Iran nuclear deal with an impassioned, nearly hour-long defense.”