In One Day, ABC Obsesses Over Cecil the Lion for Another 46 Minutes

August 17th, 2015 4:35 PM

Going into overdrive on Friday, ABC obsessed over the killing of Cecil the lion for an additional 46 minutes across three programs. This is same network that has virtually ignored the Planned Parenthood scandal. Yet, Good Morning America and Nightline both hyped the killing of the African lion segment. ABC's 20/20 devoted the entire hour to discussing the "uproar" over Cecil. 

After commercials, 20/20 added 37 minutes and 18 seconds on the lion killing. Nightline offered seven minutes and 30 seconds and Good Morning America managed an additional two minutes and ten seconds. 

The Media Research Center's ongoing analysis found that the big three networks devoted almost 100 minutes on the death of this lion. Yet, ABC offered scant coverage to Planned Parenthood. On Nightline, Byron Pitts trumpeted, "Tonight the fresh uproar over Cecil the lion's killer. New scrutiny tonight on American dentist Walter Palmer as ABC News obtains photos from Palmer's illegal kill right here in the U.S." 

He then called it a "renewed uproar," adding, "[Dentist and hunter] Walter Palmer remains the target of a rising tide of global anger." On 20/20, Elizabeth Vargas wondered, "How did that lion grow to become so legendary in the first place?

The MRC studied the morning and evening shows for the contrast between Cecil and Planned Parenthood. News magazine shows such as 20/20 weren't included. Yet, Friday's hour-long segment shows the network's obsession.

Of course, the network was nowhere near as interested in Planned Parenthood. Nor was CBS or ABC. Coverage of Cecil took only one day to surpass the total for the undercover abortion videos.