Falling Down: ABC’s Scam Story 4X as Long as Blockbuster Jobs Report

January was a “blockbuster” month for job gains, in spite of the government shutdown. The 304,000 jobs added was nearly twice as many as the 172,000 forecasters anticipated. Only it didn’t appear that way on the broadcast evening news shows.

All three network evening newscasts reported about the “booming” jobs market on Feb. 1, but paid the surprisingly good report very little attention. ABC’s World News Tonight spent 18 seconds on jobs Feb.1, but gave more than four times as much broadcast time to a report about “slip-and-fall” insurance scammers.

That ABC report about people who fake injuries to fraudulently collect insurance money was 1 minute 20 seconds long the same night.

The insurance scam story actually was nearly twice the networks’ combined time spent on employment news that night. CBS Evening News spent 14 seconds and NBC Nightly News spent 12 seconds, bringing the total coverage to 44 seconds.

World News Tonight did note January was the 100th month in a row of jobs added — “the longest period on record.”

The good news on jobs also helps stocks close higher that day. The government shutdown did slightly impact the unemployment rate which moved to 4 percent from 3.9 percent.

Meanwhile, according to MRC Latino, the blockbuster jobs growth went unreported on most of the nation's top Spanish-language television newscasts. Specifically, the news was totally ignored by top-ranked Noticiero Univision, as well as by Directo USA on CNN en Español, Noticiero Estrella and Azteca America's Hechos Nacional. Only NBC sister network Telemundo covered the story, with a nearly two-minute report by Washington correspondent Javier Vega.

Editor's note: This post was updated on Feb. 6, 2019, to include MRC Latino's findings from Feb. 1.

Economy Unemployment ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News
Julia A. Seymour's picture

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