ABC’s WNT Remains ‘Uncommitted’ to Reporting on Michigan Dems’ Protest Vote

February 26th, 2024 11:44 PM

Last week, we reported on the evening news’ spotty reporting of the campaign to persuade Michigan Democrats to vote for “Uncommitted” in tomorrow’s primary, in protest of President Joe Biden’s response to Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. A week later, and on the eve of the primary, ABC’s World News Tonight remains steadfast in their refusal to cover the protest vote.

CBS omitted coverage of “Uncommitted” last week but came through tonight. Here’s that report as aired on CBS Evening News on Monday, February 26th, 2024:

NORAH O’DONNELL: We should note President Biden is on the ballot tomorrow there in Michigan for the Democratic primary, though he doesn't face a serious challenge but- why are people watching it so closely, Ed? 

ED O’KEEFE: Yeah, Norah, the Biden campaign tonight is concerned about the state’s large Arab and Muslim American populations angered over the president's stance on the Israel/Hamas war. So progressives here are urging voters tomorrow to vote “Uncommitted”- it’s a version of “None of the Above”, instead of for the president to register their opposition to his war stance. The Biden campaign acknowledges the criticism but says any vote against the president in this battleground state this fall could be a-- it could mean Donald Trump back in The White House. Norah.

O’DONNELL: Ed O’Keefe. Thank you.

See, CBS? That wasn’t so hard. NBC News bifurcated coverage of “Uncommitted” within the broader political roundup that kicked off the newscast:

GABE GUTIERREZ: Tomorrow's primary here in Michigan is high stakes not just for (Nikki) Haley, but for President Biden, who’s facing fierce backlash over the Israel-Hamas war. 

PROTESTERS: Free, free Palestine

GUTIERREZ: Voters from Michigan’s huge Arab American population have demanded the president support a cease-fire. Some now plan to vote “Uncommitted” in protest. 

LEXIS ZEIDAN: My direct message to President Biden is that you cannot continue to use my American tax dollars to aid and abet an ongoing genocide of my people.

GUTIERREZ: Governor Gretchen Whitmer is a national co-chair of Biden's campaign. 

What is “Uncommitted” has a strong showing in this primary? 

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): I think there will be a sizable number of votes for “Uncommitted”. I think that it is every person's right to make their statement about what's important to them. 

It bears noting that NBC reported on “Uncommitted” last week, even if they failed to address the movement by name on the network newscast. And they did so again tonight.

So what’s ABC’s deal? “Uncommitted” made it on to This Week, so clearly the news division is aware that this movement exists. Contributing correspondent Rachel Bade said:

RACHEL BADE: I actually talked to the leader of the Abandon Biden movement on the ground there. He's a Palestinian American, those folks who have had family members who have died during the bombardments in Gaza, and he was a Biden voter. Just a few months ago, he had a sign- Biden/Harris sign in his yard. Now he says he would sooner vote for…what did he say? Sooner vote for Mickey Mouse than Joe Biden- even if it means voting for Donald Trump. So I think that- if you look at the numbers- one more thing, Martha, Joe Biden won by 150,000 votes in Michigan. There are 200,000 Muslim or Arab American voters in Michigan. If he alienates all of them, Michigan is gone for him.

Anchor David Muir is the managing editor for World News Tonight, which seems to be the most openly partisan of the three major network evening newscasts. His decision to suppress coverage of “Uncommitted”, which is ultimately a story that is embarrassing to the Biden campaign, reflects poorly upon the news division.

Exit question: Will Muir cover “Uncommitted” if it garners a significant percentage of the vote, or will he continue to keep his head buried in the sand and hope that viewers don’t find out?