Over the last year, the crisis on the southern border has grown steadily worse, surging to new records month after month. There's been violence and death at the border. States are overwhelmed. Illegal immigrants have been released in cities all across America.
From July of 2021 through June of 2022, ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News allowed just 146 minutes of coverage to the border crisis. Over a full year of three network evening newscasts a night, that comes out to less than one percent on the border crisis. During that same time, there were 2,361,553 border crossings.
On three separate months, they allowed no time at all. On five different months, the ABC, CBS and NBC newscasts managed ten minutes or less of coverage.
Here’s the last year of evening newscast coverage:
In May, there was another record high, 239,416 arrests. Yet, that resulted in a paltry seven minutes and 58 seconds of coverage in May. June saw 191,898 arrests. As for coverage, things only get slightly better with a total of 15 minutes and 36 seconds.
It’s not as though shocking anecdotes weren’t available. On June 27, 53 migrants were left to die, packed into a tractor trailer in sweltering Texas heat. It is the deadliest human smuggling incident in U.S. history. Yet, the network evening newscasts covered it for just 13 minutes and 57 seconds. Of that, only 48 seconds hinted at any blame for the President’s policies. Then, they dropped it entirely.
May and June’s coverage fell off from a 2022 high of 27 minutes in April. However, that follows a pattern: Brief spurts of coverage followed by months of disinterest from the networks. September of 2021 saw a high of 54 minutes of network interest. But from October 2021 to March 2022, there was just 32 minutes.
(This pattern started soon after Biden took office. In March of 2021, there was 113 minutes of coverage of the border. By May, that was down to just 26 minutes.)
The network newscasts completely abandoned the border crisis in the months of November, January and February. But here’s some of the real world things happening while ABC, CBS and NBC boycotted the story:
- February 2022: An illegal immigrant in a North California church fired 17 bullets, killing his three daughters and a fourth person.
- January 2022: U.S. Border patrol nabbed a child sex predator as he was about to cross the southern border. Also that month, only Fox News covered illegal immigrant criminals being deposited in places like New York, to the bewilderment of local law enforcement.
- Fox’s Bill Melugin said on January 26 that “[a] source within ICE tells me that the agency has in fact been releasing some illegal immigrants who have misdemeanor criminal record, some things like assault, or drunk driving.”
- November 2021: Texas Border Protection officers seized over $50 million in meth being smuggled into the United States.
During the last year, the situation at the border deteriorated to dangerous levels. Both the numbers and the anecdotal evidence reflect a situation totally out of control. Yet the networks have little interest in investigating or holding Joe Biden accountable. The President’s polling numbers are falling, despite the best efforts of ABC, CBS and NBC to protect Biden from facing the reality of the situation he’s made much worse.
The midterm elections are only 15 weeks away. If journalists want to do their jobs — and not be partisans protecting the Democratic Party — they should cover this dangerous situation..