3 Week Mark: Nets Spend 92 Minutes on Cecil the Lion; 20 Minutes on Abortion Videos

Even after three weeks, the broadcast news shows are choosing to cover the death of one animal before the story of countless babies torn apart by a taxpayer-funded organization.

In the three weeks since the release of the first video exposing Planned Parenthood July 14, ABC, NBC and CBS spent 20 minutes, 21 seconds on the videos during their morning and evening news shows. In contrast, since July 28, the nets devoted 1 hour, 32 minutes, 56 seconds to Cecil, the famed African lion shot by an American dentist.

In other words, the three broadcast networks covered Cecil four times more than the trafficking of baby parts by Planned Parenthood.

Here’s the breakdown of time by network on Cecil the lion after three weeks:

ABC: 27 minutes, 8 seconds

NBC: 35 minutes, 34 seconds

CBS: 30 minutes, 14 seconds

TOTAL: 1 hour, 32 minutes, 56 seconds

Here’s the breakdown of time by network on the Planned Parenthood videos after three weeks:

ABC: 1 minute, 27 seconds

NBC: 6 minutes, 6 seconds

CBS: 12 minutes, 48 seconds

TOTAL: 20 minutes, 21 seconds

In addition to the three-week tally above, the networks spent 5 minutes, 51 seconds on Cecil and 2 minutes, 48 seconds on Planned Parenthood, Wednesday morning. Instead of talking about the videos, however, the networks emphasized comments made by Jeb Bush on defunding Planned Parenthood.

None of the network news shows covered the content in the fifth CMP video released August 4, where Planned Parenthood workers laughed over aborted baby parts “all mixed up together in a bag.”

Meanwhile, ABC, NBC and CBS used every opportunity to spin Cecil’s story.

On Tuesday night, anchor David Muir noted the “beloved lion” and how Delta, American and Air Canada are now “banning all big game trophies on their flights” during World News Tonight.

For CBS the same day, anchor Scott Pelley recognized the “outrage” over the lion and how the new “Cecil beanie baby” will raise funds to protect other lions in Zimbabwe.

ABC co-anchor Willie Geist recognized on Monday’s Today that “Over the weekend, a tribute to Cecil was projected onto the Empire State Building.” He added that “Cecil's brother, Jericho, was confirmed to be alive after false reports surfaced that he too had been killed.”

In their stories, the nets also hyped a second American investigated for killing a lion as well as other hunters defending their activity.

Methodology: MRC Culture searched Nexis and watched news shows to count the time spent on Planned Parenthood and Cecil. We included stories that the media connected to Cecil or the Planned Parenthood videos (for example, coverage of Cecil’s lion-friend, Jericho, or, on the other hand, the Senate’s vote on Planned Parenthood). We did not include teasers.

Spanish-Language Networks

According to MRC Latino, the nation's leading Spanish-language television networks, Univision and Telemundo, spent 17 minutes and 9 seconds on Cecil during their news shows. In contrast, Telemundo completely ignored Planned Parenthood, while Univision spent a couple of minutes, on the scandal.

Tuesday night, Univision devoted a full 2 minute and 45 second segment of its national evening news program to the fifth Planned Parenthood video and the entire controversy. On Sunday, Univision also spent 45 seconds asking Senator Bernie Sanders about the “presumptive selling of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood for scientific reasons.”

Media History

Since the release of CMP’s first video, the networks have proved hesitant to publicize the story. ABC, NBC and CBS covered the shooting of Cecil the lion more in one day than they did these videos in two weeks.

From the beginning, the liberal media raced to defend Planned Parenthood. In the first 9 hours and 30 minutes of news shows broadcast after the story broke, ABC, NBC and CBS, spent only 39 seconds on the first video. It took more than 24 hours before all three covered the story. In the week after the first video, the networks gave a mere 9 minutes and 11 seconds to the story. In contrast, the networks devoted more than three times that to the Susan G. Komen controversy, when the charity temporarily decided to defund the abortion giant.

Similarly, the media stayed silent on the case of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell's trial, in which witnesses described baby abortion survivors “swimming" in toilets “to get out,” attracted a scant 12 – 15 reporters. Only after 56 days, multiple letters from members of the House of Representatives and a public outcry, did all three broadcast networks report on Gosnell.

Katie Yoder's picture