ABC, CBS Highlight Senator Menendez Not Getting Retried for Corruption

The corruption saga of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez (N.J.) appeared to have come to an end after federal prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they would not be seeking a retrial following the mistrial back in November. And while the major three network news outlets (ABC, CBS, and NBC) sparsely covered the case during their morning and evening newscasts as the trial was proceeding, their coverage of the Justice Department’s decision was just as lackluster.

ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News were the only network evening news programs to mention the end of the Menendez’s corruption trial. But between the two of them, the total airtime didn’t even add up to 30 seconds.

David Muir, ABC’s sensationalist anchor, seemed as though he had to get someplace in a hurry because he only gave the move a minuscule 10 seconds just before rushing into a commercial break. And CBS anchor Jeff Glor didn’t do much better, with a total of 16 seconds. A total of 26 seconds between the two.

One more headline from D.C. tonight. The Justice Department today filing to drop corruption charges against New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. Closing the case now. His trial ended in a hung jury in November,” was all Muir had to say.

 

 

Glor only added a bit more detail: “Federal prosecutors said today they will not retry New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez for corruption. The Democrat's trial ended in a hung jury in the fall. Last week, the judge threw out some of the bribery charges he had faced. Menendez plans to seek a third term in the fall.

But meanwhile on NBC Nightly News, they didn’t report on the story at all, yet they did find time to report the dubious claims that Donald Trump paid hush money to a porn star.

Their coverage, or lack there, of the end of the Menendez trial, almost mimicked their coverage while it was going on. As a Media Research Center study found, shortly before the mistrial, between September 6 (when the trial started) and November 10 the networks only gave the trial two minutes and 10 seconds of airtime. That’s despite the fact that Menendez was the first sitting U.S. Senator to face a corruption trial since the 80’s.

Prior to November's mistrial, the network evening shows had not touched the story at all. Yet, on the day of the mistrial, NBC finally found the case and gave it scant 23 seconds. On the same day, CBS Evening News boasted about Menendez’s good fortune for nearly a minute. Meanwhile, ABC’s World News Tonight gave just 19 seconds.

They didn’t give the corruption charges much time before and during the trial, so it appeared as though they were continuing their “nothing to see here” narrative through to the apparent end.

Transcripts below, expand to read them:

 

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ABC
World News Tonight
January 31, 2018
6:45:44 PM Eastern [10 seconds]

DAVID MUIR: One more headline from D.C. tonight. The Justice Department today filing to drop corruption charges against New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. Closing the case now. His trial ended in a hung jury in November.

 

CBS Evening News
January 31, 2018
6:43:18 PM Eastern [16 seconds]

JEFF GLOR: Federal prosecutors said today they will not retry New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez for corruption. The Democrat's trial ended in a hung jury in the fall. Last week, the judge threw out some of the bribery charges he had faced. Menendez plans to seek a third term in the fall.

Research NBDaily Bias by the Minute Congress Bias by Omission Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Media Quick Study Robert Menendez David Muir Jeff Glor

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