Reacting to Media Research Center (MRC) analysis showing the deaths of seven U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan recently has received just 1/20th of the network coverage devoted to Michael Jackson, NewsBusters Publisher and MRC President Bozell Bozell released the following statement earlier today:
This is a prime example of why network television news audiences are disappearing before our eyes. There is no justification for determining that the death of a celebrity over a week ago merits 20 times more news coverage than the tragic deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan.
For anyone to say - with a straight face - that such a disparity was an ‘editorial judgment' only further insults the collective intelligence of the audience these newscasts claim to serve. In fact, it's just more evidence that network ‘news,' for all practical purposes, no longer exists.
We should not be surprised that network newscasts continue to dumb themselves down, but episodes such as this are a disgrace.
The findings from the MRC examination of the coverage:
- Seven soldiers' deaths earned a total of less than one minute combined on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Monday night -- 1/20th the time devoted to Jackson a week-and-a-half after he passed away.
- CBS dedicated a mere 13 seconds to the deaths compared to just over 13 minutes of Jackson coverage one evening broadcast. The 13 minutes dedicated to Jackson's death was more than half of the entire newscast's 22 minutes - a disparity of 60-to-1.
- ABC and NBC allocated about eight times more airtime to Jackson than to the soldiers' deaths in Afghanistan (2:50 vs. 20 seconds on ABC; 3:00 vs. 23 seconds on NBC).
For the full MRC press release, click here.