CBS and NBC were nowhere to be found Monday morning, after news broke late Friday that actor Jussie Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts tied to his fabricating a hate crime against himself. ABC was the only network Monday morning to update viewers on the media-hyped case.
While giving the story attention in their Friday evening newscasts, CBS and NBC didn’t update viewers on their morning news programs Monday, which was arguably necessary given how much time the networks spent breathlessly promoting Smollett’s hoax in weeks prior.
However, ABC’s Eva Pilgrim devoted an entire report to the story on Monday’s Good Morning America. She noted Smollett had been indicted by a Chicago grand jury for allegations that he “repeatedly lied to police about being the victim of a homophobic and racist attack,” and played clips of Smollett’s lawyer defending his client as innocent. Pilgrim ended her report noting, “The penalty for the newest set of charges against Smollett ranges from probation to up to three years in prison and/or a twenty-five thousand dollar fine. He's not yet entered a plea on these new charges. He's due back in court next Thursday on that original charge.”
After her report, anchor George Stephanopoulos sat down with the lawyer representing the two brothers who Smollett hired to stage the attack. Stephanopoulos showed the attorney more credulity than Robin Roberts showed Smollett during her interview, asking:
What do the brothers have to back up their story?
But do they have evidence to back up their claims?
How did this all happen? How did they get caught up in this in the first place?
Perhaps ABC is only reporting on this to save face for the backlash they received over that Roberts’ interview, however at least they did something, unlike the other two networks who just wanted to move on from the story that didn’t turn out like they hoped.