ABC and CBS Boost Ferguson Report Touting Liberal Causes; Skip Party Label for Democratic Governor

Returning to the issue of Ferguson, Missouri on Monday, ABC’s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News touted the findings and recommendations of a commission set up by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon as both newscasts promoted the commission’s calls to increase the minimum wage and CBS neglected to label Nixon a Democrat. 

Also looking to pin the success or failure of the commission on Republicans, CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller fretted that it remains to be seen whether or not “the Republican controlled legislature” and Nixon’s unknown successor (set to be elected in 2016) “will follow through” with funding the commission’s recommendations.

Miller led off her report by explaining the reason Nixon created the group: “Nixon's task force was created to address the underlying causes of the violent clashes between police and protesters following the police shooting of Michael Brown.” 

Along with “plenty of police reforms” that include “more anti-bias and sensitivity training for cops,” Miller added that it “also calls for deep societal and economic change” in St. Louis since many argue it “remains one of the most segregated cities in America.”

After highlighting the massive 35-year difference in life expectancy between people who live a black versus white suburb, Miller mentioned a few of the commission’s suggestions (with some reading like a liberal wish list): “The panel wants to increase the minimum wage, provide equal access to education opportunities, expand Medicaid, even end hunger for inner city kids and families.”

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Miller then provided two friendly soundbites to Nixon before concluding: “And Governor Nixon says he is fully committed to finding that funding for those reforms, but with just 16 months left in office, Scott, critics question whether his successor or the Republican-controlled legislature will follow through.”

Making no mention of Nixon, ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir focused on the commission and their desires to reform law enforcement along with more education funding and upping the minimum wage:

We're going to turn now to Missouri tonight, and calls for sweeping changes this evening in the wake of the deadly police shooting of Michael Brown. A special commission finding excessive police force and racial bias were partly to blame for violent protests in Ferguson last year. The commission recommending police and social reforms, including a change in policing habits, increasing the minimum wage and improving the educational system there. 

The relevant portions of the transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on September 14 can be found below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
September 14, 2015
6:42 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Call to Action]

SCOTT PELLEY: A year after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a commission appointed by the Governor called today for a series of reforms. Michelle Miller is in Ferguson. 

DEMOCRATIC MISSOURI GOVERNOR JAY NIXON: It has not been easy. Change is hard. 

MICHELLE MILLER: Governor Jay Nixon's task force was created to address the underlying causes of the violent clashes between police and protesters following the police shooting of Michael Brown. As expected, the report calls for plenty of police reforms, including standard protocols for dealing with mass demonstrations and a non-militarized response to them, more anti-bias and sensitivity training for cops, and a database the track police use of force cases, but the report also calls for deep societal and economic change. Committee co-chair, the Reverend Starsky Wilson, says St. Louis remains one of the most segregated cities in America. 

REVEREND STARKSY WILSON: We must be accountable for that that one in five children in our region live in poverty. We must be accountable for that. 

MILLER: One startling statistic shows that life expectancy in one predominantly white suburban neighborhood is 91.4 years. In a nearby, almost all black suburb, life expectancy is 56 years of age, a 35-year difference. The panel wants to increase the minimum wage, provide equal access to education opportunities, expand Medicaid, even end hunger for inner city kids and families. 

NIXON: These are deep and vexing problems. 

MILLER: Governor Nixon says the state will not shy away from the cost and challenge of repairing the community. 

NIXON: It’s clear that we have embraced this challenge that has vexed not just St. Louis, but our country, and we're going to try to lead. 

MILLER: And Governor Nixon says he is fully committed to finding that funding for those reforms, but with just 16 months left in office, Scott, critics question whether his successor or the Republican-controlled legislature will follow through. 

PELLEY: Michelle Miller in St. Louis this evening. Michelle, thanks.

NB Daily Media Bias Debate Labeling Liberals & Democrats Ferguson ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News Video Government & Press Police Michelle Miller Jay Nixon Scott Pelley David Muir
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