After initially ignoring the controversy surrounding Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam suggesting it would be both legal and acceptable under a proposed new abortion law if a baby were delivered and then allowed to die outside the mother's body, CNN finally ran a few briefs on Thursday morning -- mostly early -- and MSNBC ran one.
But the reports provided cover for Northam, with CNN host Dave Briggs in particular suggesting conservatives might have misunderstood him even though the Democratic governor clearly stated that not resuscitating a newborn baby would be an allowed option.
By contrast, Fox News Channel's three-hour Fox and Friends show spent more than 28 minutes on the controversy in addition to the attention that it got from nearly all other Fox News shows. The morning show even spoke with three OB/GYN physicians who were horrified at Governor Northam's comments.
Between 4:22 and 5:56 a.m. Eastern, CNN's Early Start show ran three nearly identical briefs of about a minute each. In the first one, host Briggs stated that "Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is facing a barrage of criticism for comments he made on a late-term abortion bill," adding that it "would loosen restrictions on abortions during the third trimester of pregnancy."
He added: "The governor was hit with backlash when he suggested how a late-term procedure could happen."
Then came a clip of Governor Northam being interviewed in which he stated: "The infant would be delivered -- the infant would be kept comfortable -- the infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desire. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother."
Even though the question was about whether an abortion would be legally allowed at the point when a mother was going into labor, and Northam's complete answer made no mention that the options for the baby after it was delivered would be limited only to treatment, Briggs treated as credible the Democratic governor's claims of being misunderstood. Briggs:
The intent of Governor Northam's comments was not clear, but some conservatives thought he was discussing the possibility of letting a newborn die. A spokesman for the govrernor says his comments were being taken out of context by Republicans.
In fact, Governor Northam explicitly stated that whether the baby would be "resuscitated" would be the mother's choice.
The only coverage given by CNN's flagship three-hour morning show, New Day, came in a one-minute brief at 8:39 a.m. read by co-host John Berman.
Over on MSNBC, at 5:19 a.m., First Look co-host Yasmin Vossoughian also read a one-minute brief on the subject.
So far, there has been no other coverage on CNN on MSNBC, in contrast with the many shows on FNC that have shown interest, including Fox and Friends.