Priorities: ABC, CBS Hype 'Royal Mic Drop;' Ignore Russian Aggression

ABC and CBS's evening newscasts on Friday spotlighted the friendly transatlantic trash-talking between the British and American heads of state. However, the programs failed to cover the latest too-close intercept of American military assets by Russian aircraft. On World News Tonight, ABC's David Muir touted "the royal mic drop — the Queen and Prince Harry responding to the First Family's challenge" over the upcoming Invictus Games for wounded veterans. On CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley trumpeted that "it's not often that the Queen gets involved in a Twitter war. She and Prince Harry traded barbs with President and Mrs. Obama." [video below]

Friday's NBC Nightly News, to their credit, covered the "dangerously-close encounter between U.S. and Russian forces over the Baltic Sea." However, the program gave just a 19-second news brief to the story. By contrast, the newscast set aside twice that amount of time to the British royals versus the Obamas. Altogether, the Big Three evening newscasts devoted 117 seconds — nearly two minutes — to the dueling "mic drops."

Substitute anchor Thomas Roberts gave the news brief on the Russian military aircraft's unsafe pass over its American counterpart:

THOMAS ROBERTS: Another dangerously-close encounter between U.S. and Russian forces over the Baltic Sea — and it comes just weeks after Russian jets were caught on this video buzzing a U.S. warship. In the latest incident, for the second time this month, military officials say a Russian jet did a barrel roll over a U.S. plane — coming within 25 feet.

On NBC News's website, correspondent Courtney Kube gave a more-thorough report on Friday about the close encounter:

A Russian Su-27 jet flew dangerously close to a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft over the Baltic Sea on Friday, military officials said.

The Russian plane flew within 25 feet of the RC-135's fuselage, conducting a barrel roll over the U.S. plane.

Lt. Col Michelle Baldanza, a Defense Department Spokesperson said that, "on April 29, 2016, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner."...

This comes just a few weeks after Russian aircraft flew dangerously close to the USS Donald Cook and another RC-135 in the same area.

It should be pointed out that on April 14, 2016, ABC's World News Tonight and CBS Evening News devoted full reports to this earlier encounter between Russian fighter jets and the USS Donald Cook. Apparently, the networks thought that this latest buzzing of an American military aircraft wasn't worth covering.

The transcripts of the news briefs on the two "mic drops" from ABC, CBS, and NBC's evening newscasts on April 29, 2016:

04/29/2016
06:51 pm EDT
ABC — World News Tonight

DAVID MUIR: Now to the royal mic drop — the Queen and Prince Harry responding to the First Family's challenge at the Invictus Games.

[ABC News Graphic: "Drop The Mic!"]

PRINCE HARRY: Message? Oh, it's from Michelle — how very amusing. So you'd like to watch it together?

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Yes.

PRINCE HARRY: Let's have a look.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Hey, Prince Harry, remember when you told us to bring it at the Invictus Games?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Careful what you wish for.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Boom.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Oh, really? Please!

PRINCE HARRY: Boom.

MUIR: Rarely hear from the Queen — the Invictus Games, of course, started by Prince Harry celebrating Paralympian athletes who served in the military.


04/29/2016
06:51 pm EDT
CBS Evening News

SCOTT PELLEY: Well, it's not often that the Queen gets involved in a Twitter war. She and Prince Harry traded barbs with President and Mrs. Obama over the upcoming Invictus Games for disabled vets.

[CBS News Graphic: "Drop The Mic"]

PRINCE HARRY: Message? Oh, it's from Michelle — how very amusing. So you'd like to watch it together?

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Yes.

PRINCE HARRY: Let's have a look.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Hey, Prince Harry, remember when you told us to bring it at the Invictus Games?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Careful what you wish for.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Boom.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Oh, really? Please!

PRINCE HARRY: Boom.

PELLEY: Take that, Mr. President! The Invictus Games, featuring 500 athletes from 15 countries, open in Orlando a week from Sunday.


04/29/2016
07:23 pm EDT
NBC Nightly News

THOMAS ROBERTS: Well, you don't see this every day: Queen Elizabeth trash-talking the President and First Lady. It was all in jest, of course — and the Obamas first got it started. They Tweeted a video teasing Prince Harry about the U.S. getting ready to bring it to the Invictus Games. That's a competition for wounded veterans. Harry Tweeted back with some help from grandma — mic drop for mic drop.

[NBC News Graphic: "Talking Trash"]

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Careful what you wish for.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Oh, really? Please!

PRINCE HARRY: Boom.

ROBERTS: I think Harry wins. We're going to see who wins those bragging rights, though, when the Invictus Games happen in Florida. They begin on May the Eighth.

NB Daily Culture/Society Foreign Policy Europe Britain Russia Bias by Omission Labeling Liberals & Democrats Sports ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Queen Elizabeth II David Muir Thomas Roberts Scott Pelley Prince Harry Barack Obama Michelle Obama
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