Hunter Biden Trial Watch: ABC, CBS, NBC Bemoan ‘Heartbreaking’, ‘Painful’ Case

June 7th, 2024 1:46 PM

Aside from a zero Thursday on ABC’s Good Morning America, the “Big Three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC have had segments on every newscast this week about Hunter Biden’s gun trial, but like we’ve seen, the flavor skewed heavily toward seeking sympathy for the First Son as he’s had to endure “dramatic”, “heartbreaking”, and “painful” details about his life being made public.

Between Thursday night and Friday morning, the broadcast network coverage total clicked over an hour to 60 minutes and 55 seconds (excluding teases). As usual, that paled in comparison to where they stood through four and a half days of the Trump trial, which clocked in at 96 minutes (96:13).



ABC’s Good Morning America was back with its predictable tract of seeking sympathy. Senior national correspondent Terry Moran bemoaned the trial’s focus on Hunter’s life of debauchery:

Prosecutors say this trial is a simple case about a man who lied about his drug use when he bought a gun. But, in court, it feels different. They’re telling a story of Hunter Biden’s downfall into drug addiction often using the words of the women who have been closest to him. This morning, prosecutors are expected to rest their case against Hunter Biden after days of dramatic and potentially damaging testimony. 

Moran walked viewers through the testimony of Hunter’s ex/late brother Beau’s widow Hallie Biden, explaining their ties as “a romantic relationship”. If anyone reads the texts on Hunter Biden’s laptop or recognizes the fact that it was an affair — something only mentioned once between Thursday night and Friday morning — it was anything but love.

“Jurors leaned in as Hallie recounted seeing Hunter for the first time just over a week after the purchase looking, ‘tired exhausted and like he hadn’t slept,’” Moran said in another sympathy play.

Along with relaying Hallie’s admission she too did cocaine with Hunter, Moran also played a short exchange about the trial between President Biden and ABC anchor David Muir, which aired on Thursday’s World News Tonight (and was the extent of the newscast’s Hunter coverage):

MUIR: I know that you cannot speak about an ongoing federal prosecution but let me ask you, will you accept the jury’s outcome, their verdict, no matter what it is?


MUIR: And have you ruled out a pardon for your son?


CBS Mornings featured co-host Vladimir Duthiers was the lone voice to accurately describe the relationship: “The jury in his gun trial yesterday heard from Hallie Biden, the defendant’s sister-in-law. Hunter Biden had an affair with her after his brother died in 2015.”

Correspondent Scott MacFarlane summarized Thursday as filled with “dramatic testimony” with Hallie Biden having “described the moment she found and then discarded the gun, which is at the heart of this case”, adding (click “expand”):

MACFARLANE: On Thursday, she told the jury she discovered a revolver and ammunition along with drug residue and drug paraphernalia while searching her brother-in-law Hunter Biden’s car on October 23, 2018. Hallie testified this is video of her throwing away the gun that same day in a Delaware grocery store parking lot, just 11 days after Hunter bought the firearm. Hallie said she thought at first of hiding the gun, then decided to toss it, saying, “I didn’t want him to hurt himself, or I didn’t want my kids to find it and hurt themselves, and I just panicked.” Prosecutors are trying to prove Hunter Biden was addicted and using drugs at the time he bought the gun and lied about those things on this federal application.

TOM DUPREE: This is about as powerful physical evidence as you can get, linking his possession of that gun to his use of illegal drugs.

MACFARLANE: Hunter has pleaded not guilty and, during cross-examination, the defense pressed Hallie, “You don’t know if he was drinking, using, or either of the above the week the gun was found?” Hallie answered, “I don’t know.” Earlier, Hallie Biden also detailed taking up a romantic relationship with her brother-in-law–months after her late husband, Beau Biden’s, 2015 death–telling the Delaware jury, it was Hunter who introduced her to using crack cocaine, calling her drug use “a terrible experience…I’m embarrassed and I’m ashamed, and I regret that period of my life.” In an interview Thursday, the President closed the door on a pardon if his son is convicted. 


MACFARLANE: Prosecutors are likely to wrap their case by midday today. Then we hear from the defense, which has not ruled out calling Hunter Biden as a witness[.]

NBC’s Ryan Nobles fell in with Moran on Today: “Hallie Biden’s testimony was heartbreaking at times. She accused the President’s son of introducing her to crack and said that she thought he was meeting drug dealers and using drugs at the time he bought the gun.”

“Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter Biden’s late brother, Beau, who was in a romantic relationship with him for a time, testifying Thursday that Hunter Biden’s crack use was at one point a constant presence in her life. It led to her abusing the drug as well,” he added.

For added affect, Nobles pointed out Hallie was so familiar with Hunter’s cocaine addiction she saw piles “the size of ping-pong balls”.

Nobles, however, was the only network reporter Friday morning to make known that First Lady Jill Biden had flown back to the U.S. from D-Day ceremonies (presumably on the taxpayer’s dime) to be with Hunter for Friday’s trial before...yes, flying back to France where the President will be through the weekend.

Rewinding to late Thursday, MacFarlane described Hallie Biden on the CBS Evening News as “a star witness” and passed off their fling as “a romantic relationship with her brother-in-law”.

And, on NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt described Thursday’s trial happenings as filled with “dramatic testimony” while Nobles said Hallie’s “romantic relationship with” Hunter took center stage.

Many thanks to NewsBusters interns Sarah Butler and Michael Wnek for their assistance in compiling the transcripts.

To see the relevant transcripts from June 6, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC). To see the relevant transcripts from June 7, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).