President Donald Trump declared he would bring coal jobs back to the U.S. — first on the campaign trail and then after he was elected. Network news media reacted with a mix of skepticism and criticism.
ABC and NBC evening news programs both disputed Trump’s claims and then ignored the opening of a new coal mine weeks later. In contrast, CBS Weekend News reported on the new mine.
After consulting someone who expected Trump to bring back coal jobs, NBC Nightly News undermined the view in the name of “reality,” on March 28. Another Nightly News report emphasized coal’s “bleak” future. ABC World News focused on skeptics and critics of Trump’s coal claims on March 28.
Both those shows ignored the opening of a new coal mine in Pennsylvania on June 8. Corsa Coal Corporation’s Acosta Mine held an opening ceremony with the president that day, about a week after Trump mentioned in his speech withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords. The mine will create 70 to 100 full-time jobs and product coal for steel and metal manufacturing.
Nightly News and World News ignored the news and ceremony night and the days that followed.
Of the three broadcast evening news programs, only CBS Evening News aired a story about the mine’s opening on its weekend program June 10. In that report, weekend anchor and correspondent Don Dahler actually went to Pennsylvania and interviewed miners.
Corsa Coal employee Rob Bottegal told him hearing Trump’s pro-coal statements and promises “felt great ... It gave people a little more optimism and uh, people had a little more hope in the industry.”
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Corsa Coal CEO George Dethlefsen told Fox Business network Trump’s attitude toward coal was changing the view of mining, especially inside government. He said it “sets the stage for producers like us to develop new mines.”
In spite of the networks’ skepticism about what Trump could do to help bring back coal jobs, Dethlefsen said, “President Trump can set the business climate for coal in a positive way."
"He can drive economic growth. He can drive tax and infrastructure spending, tax reform and infrastructure spending. He can loosen the regulation on coal,” the CEO added.