ABC and NBC Yawn at New ISIS Gains in Libya; CBS Omits Mention of Hillary and Obama

On Tuesday night, the news that the ISIS had seized the Libyan city of Sirte received zero coverage on the evening newscasts of ABC and NBC while CBS devoted an entire segment to ISIS’s new gains, but neglected to mention or lay blame for the instability at the feet of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration. 

While NBC Nightly News offered no coverage on ISIS all together, ABC’s World News Tonight had a full report about the ongoing war, but only to highlight the troves of military equipment, weapons, and vehicles that was given to the Iraqi army by the U.S. that have fallen into the hands of ISIS.

Chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz skipped ISIS’s seizure of Sirte to instead report that “[t]oday, Iraqi troops, along with Shiite militias, retaking the key northern city of Baiji.” 

Raddatz also took a brief moment to allude to President Obama’s comments on Monday about the U.S. lacking “a complete strategy” to defeat ISIS. Commenting on the remarks, she spun it as Obama simply stating that “the strategy to defeat the terror group is incomplete.”

As for “[w]hat’s needed” to complete the mission, Raddatz noted that the U.S. wants “[a] plan to quickly recruit and train more Iraqi troops” while the Iraqis “want more equipment.”

Over on the CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Charlie Rose broached the topic of ISIS taking Sirte prior to a segment from Libya by foreign correspondent Holly Williams: “ISIS is gobbling up territory in Syria and Iraq and now Libya. Today, the Islamic terror group took control of Sirte, a city in the Mediterranean.”

While Williams’s report profiled a group of militants from the nearby city of Misrate who are looking to fend off ISIS and the “lawlessness” since the removal of Muammar Gaddafi:

The workshop manager, Sadun Langa, told us these heavy machine guns, stripped from helicopters and tanks, will be mounted on pickup trucks for use by local militias battling ISIS. Since the downfall of Libya's longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi four years ago, the country's descended into a chaotic civil war and in the lawlessness, ISIS has gained a foothold in towns and cities, including Sirte, Qaddafi's former hometown. 100 miles of desert separates it from these men who are determined to stop the extremists taking more territory.

Despite that and a portion devoted to how ISIS “thrives on war and instability, which makes Libya fertile ground,” Williams omitted from her report anything about the role that the Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had in the removal of Gaddafi and the U.S.’s involvement in the country both diplomatically and militarily that failed to bring stability. In addition, there was no mention of the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi.

The no coverage on NBC and incomplete coverage on ABC and CBS comes after ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today failed to report on Obama’s admission about U.S. strategy and a day after NBC Nightly News provided some favorable spin for the White House on the issue.

The relevant portions of the transcript from the CBS Evening News on June 9 can be found below.

CBS Evening News
June 9, 2015
6:38 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Gaining Ground]

CHARLIE ROSE: ISIS is gobbling up territory in Syria and Iraq and now Libya. Today, the Islamic terror group took control of Sirte, a city in the Mediterranean. Holly Williams is up the coast in Misrata, where she met one of the militias vowing to hold the line against ISIS. 

HOLLY WILLIAMS: In a Libyan workshop and like a scene from Mad Max, they recycle weapons for the fight against ISIS. Bullets are cartridged and missile battery is split apart and repurposed. 

(....)

WILLIAMS: The workshop manager, Sadun Langa, told us these heavy machine guns, stripped from helicopters and tanks, will be mounted on pickup trucks for use by local militias battling ISIS. Since the downfall of Libya's longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi four years ago, the country's descended into a chaotic civil war and in the lawlessness, ISIS has gained a foothold in towns and cities, including Sirte, Qaddafi's former hometown. 100 miles of desert separates it from these men who are determined to stop the extremists taking more territory. 

(....)

WILLIAMS: ISIS announced it's arrival in Libya with trademark brutality. Two videos showing the beheadings of Christians and from Libya's Mediterranean coast, ISIS vowed it would one day conquer Europe. ISIS won't be crossing the Mediterranean Sea any time soon. A senior U.S. official told us that, so far, the group has fewer than 5,000 fighter here in Libya, but ISIS has shown that it thrives on war and instability, which makes Libya fertile ground. Abdullah Al-Fortia commands a unit in western Libya's security forces and told us 80 percent of ISIS fighters have come from outside the country. 

ABDULLAH AL-FORTIA: From Mali, from Tunisia, from Sudanese, from Syria, from Egyptian.

WILLIAMS: He says ISIS is a cancer and Libya, the weakened body, it’s invaded...Local militias here tell us ISIS advanced 20 miles today, seizing a power plant from them outside Sirte with a force of fewer than 300 men. ISIS has been operating in Libya for under a year, Charlie, but it's making rapid gains.

NB Daily Foreign Policy Africa Libya Middle East Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Military War on Terrorism ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video President Barack Obama President Obama Holly Williams State Department ISIS Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Charlie Rose David Muir Martha Raddatz Barack Obama Hillary Clinton
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