GMA Gives 12 Times More Coverage to Wallenda Walk Than Schumer Threat

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If a viewer took a few moments to pour a cup of coffee or make a bowl of cereal Thursday morning, they easily could have missed the scant coverage on ABC’s Good Morning America of Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer threatening Supreme Court justices – news that received just 27 seconds of air time. Meanwhile, acrobat Nik Wallenda’s high-wire walk across a volcano got 5 minutes and 47 seconds, over 12 times more.

“Also this morning, Chief Justice John Roberts has issued a rare rebuke of Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for saying President Trump’s two nominees to the Supreme Court will, quote, ‘pay the price’ if they vote against abortion rights in a case now before them,” co-host George Stephanopoulos briefly informed viewers.

 

 

Forgoing any soundbite of Schumer’s nasty rhetoric, Stephanopoulos instead spent several seconds using the Democratic Senator’s own talking points to dismiss the Chief Justice:

Roberts called Schumer’s comments “dangerous,” a point echoed by the President and his supporters. But Democrats called out the Chief Justice for failing to issue a similar rebuke when President Trump recently denounced a federal judge and singled out justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor for criticism.

By contrast, Wednesday’s World News Tonight at least offered a full 1-minute-26-second report on the topic, though anchor David Muir attempted to spin Schumer’s offensive comments as a “heated warning” to the justices.

On Thursday, NBC’s Today show devoted the most time to Schumer’s threatening remarks, 57 seconds. That in addition to a top-of-the-show tease from co-host Savannah Guthrie: “Stunning rebuke. Chief Justice John Roberts takes on Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer for saying this about two justices on the Supreme Court steps....The Chief Justice calling that a threat, that is, quote, ‘dangerous.’”

The broadcast spent slightly less time on Wallenda’s death-defying stunt, just 49 seconds.

Wednesday’s Nightly News chose to ignore the high court controversy completely.

“Sticking with politics, comments from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer prompted a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,” co-host Tony Dokoupil told viewers during the 45-second news brief on Thursday’s CBS This Morning.

Despite noting that “Senator Schumer singled out two conservative justices by name” and playing a clip of the Democratic leader’s own words, Dokoupil still included this ludicrous claim: “Schumer’s office says he meant GOP lawmakers would pay the price, not the justices themselves.”  

The show offered a few more seconds, 48 to be exact, to Wallenda’s volcanic acrobatics.

Coincidentally, 48 seconds was the same amount of time Wednesday’s CBS Evening News set aside to report on Schumer attacking Supreme Court justices. Like ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS newscast simply stated that the Senate Minority Leader had “leveled a warning.”  

Maybe if Schumer had threatened members of the Supreme Court while doing a high-wire walk across an active volcano, the networks would have properly covered the story.  

Here is a full transcript of the coverage on ABC’s GMA:

7:12 AM ET [7:12:32 - 7:12:59, 27 seconds]

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Also this morning, Chief Justice John Roberts has issued a rare rebuke of Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for saying President Trump’s two nominees to the Supreme Court will, quote, “pay the price” if they vote against abortion rights in a case now before them.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Supreme Court Showdown; Chief Justice Roberts Issues Rare Rebuke to Schumer Comments]

Roberts called Schumer’s comments “dangerous,” a point echoed by the President and his supporters. But Democrats called out the Chief Justice for failing to issue a similar rebuke when President Trump recently denounced a federal judge and singled out justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor for criticism.

Here is a full transcript of the coverage on NBC’s Today show:

7:19 AM SEGMENT [7:19:52 - 7:20:49, 57 seconds]

CRAIG MELVIN: Now to Chief justice John Roberts issuing a stunning rebuke to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over comments the Senator made about two Supreme Court justices and how they might rule in a major abortion case.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Roberts Slams Schumer for “Dangerous” Comments; Senate Minority Leader Says Justices “Will Pay the Price”]

Earlier Wednesday, Schumer assailed justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, saying “they won’t know what hit them” if they rule in favor of abortion restrictions.

SCHUMER: I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price!

MELVIN: In a statement, Chief Justice Roberts said, quote, “Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.”

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on an abortion case out of Louisiana, deciding whether the new restrictive law is unconstitutional.

Here is a full transcript of the coverage on CBS This Morning:

7:14 AM [7:14:05 - 7:14:50, 45 seconds]

TONY DOKOUPIL: Sticking with politics, comments from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer prompted a rare rebuke from Chief justice John Roberts, Chief justice of the Supreme Court. Speaking at a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court while a key abortion case was argued inside. Senator Schumer singled out two conservative justices by name.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Supreme Showdown; Chief Justice Slams “Dangerous” Comments From Sen. Schumer]

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER [D-NY]: I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price!

DOKOUPIL: Well, in a statement, Chief Justice John Roberts said “threatening statements of this sort from the highest level of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.”

Schumer’s office says he meant GOP lawmakers would pay the price, not the justices themselves.

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