On Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted liberal activist and Florida postal worker Douglas Hughes on a total of six felony and misdemeanor charges in relation to his April 15 landing of gyropcopter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol that, if convicted, could result in up to a nine-and-half-year prison sentence.
When it came to the major broadcast networks covering this story on their Wednesday night newscasts, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News neglected to devote even a second to this story.
ABC’s World News Tonight did report on the filing of charges against Hughes, but only to the tune of 14 second news brief during the show’s “Instant Index” block. Even then, anchor David Muir declined to label him a liberal, but instead chose to slip in a line that touted his liberal views about campaign spending:
To the index and a new development. The Florida man who flew that gyrocopter, landing on the Capitol Lawn last month, tonight, indicted on six counts, facing up to nine and a half years in prison, telling USA Today late today that he's not done fighting campaign finance reform.
The day after Hughes landed his gyrocopter on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC all skipped labeling Hughes a liberal or progressive on their April 16 morning newscasts.
On April 20, the Media Research Center’s Scott Whitlock reported that ABC’s Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos offered some fawning words to Hughes in a interview, hailing his move to be a “daring” “political statement” and asked him how he became “so passionate about the issue of money in politics.”
The transcript of the brief from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on May 20 can be found below.
ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
May 20, 2015
6:52 p.m. Eastern
DAVID MUIR: To the index and a new development. The Florida man who flew that gyrocopter, landing on the Capitol Lawn last month, tonight, indicted on six counts, facing up to 9 1/2 years in prison. Telling USA Today late today that he's not done fighting campaign finance reform.