On Monday night, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC each broke in with special reports for President Trump’s speech announcing his Afghanistan strategy and, in the course of the post-speech analyses, ABC and NBC lobbed cold water on the plans seeing as how low Trump’s approval ratings have been.
ABC, CBS, and NBC's evening newscasts on Monday all failed to cover the thwarted bombing of a Confederate monument in Houston, Texas. The Big Three networks led and concluded each program with full reports on the solar eclipse that crossed the United States, but didn't even set aside a news brief to the arrest of Andrew Cecil Schneck, who allegedly prepared explosives and tried to set them off near the Texas landmark.
Excited journalists are salivating at the idea that the events of this week could be the beginning of the end for Donald Trump. On Thursday, the New York Times predicted that Republicans were doomed. On Friday, CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell intoned, “The President’s isolation grows.”
Thursday was a terrible day for the Democratic Party as they were rocked by two major scandals. First, Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal wrote on Facebook that she wanted President Trump assassinated. Second, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s former IT staffer, Imran Awan was indicted on bank fraud among other charges. Again, it was a damaging day for the Dems but you wouldn’t know it from watching the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) who ignored all of it.
There was sad news out of Barcelona, Spain on Thursday as an apparent ISIS terrorist attack gripped the historic city. As of the writing of this piece, it had been reported that the vehicle attack had claimed the lives of 13 people and left over 100 injured. But despite the attack, and with suspects still at large, NBC Nightly News couldn’t find it in them to shake their Trump fixation. They actually gave Trump-related stories roughly 60 percent more coverage.
CBS This Morning co-hosts on Thursday skipped questioning Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe about his debunked Charlottesville claims. Instead, the journalists offered softballs about whether the Democratic governor thinks Donald Trump is “unfit to be President.”
In the wake of President Trump’s wild press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, the Big Three Networks put extra focus on Trump, along with questions about how he views race in the United States. So come Wednesday, NBC Nightly News aired a report where they sat down with a self-described white nationalist to hear him sing the praises of the President. In contrast, CBS Evening News held a small focus group where they spoke with three Republican women, two black and one white, who defended Trump.
In a jaw-dropping spectacle in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday, the President went off on the media while ranting about his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. Trump stepped in it when he appeared to defend the alt-right and doubled down on his original comments from Saturday. The network evening newscasts spent 45 minutes and 31 seconds on Trump’s wild press conference, a stunning 77.6 percent of their total air time.
Despite President Trump condemning white supremacist hate groups by name on Monday for the violence in Charlottesville, on Tuesday, the network morning shows lined up to blame the President for the rise of such groups and having “emboldened” them with his 2016 campaign.
On Monday, President Trump called out the racist hate groups involved in Saturday’s chaos in Charlottesville, Virginia. In addition to calling them “evil” and “repugnant,” Trump said: “Those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups.” This full throated denouncement was exactly what the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) craved from the President, but now that they had it, they shifted their attacks to: “What took him so long?”
Other than 9/11, not much happened in 2001. CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell on Monday excluded the September 11th terror attacks in order to conclude that there have been “three times” as many “right wing” violence.
In the aftermath of the Charlottesville attack, two of the Big Three Networks (ABC and NBC) were quick to cast blame on President Trump for the violence and the lives lost on Sunday. To round out the Big Three, CBS brought up the rear during Face the Nation where guest Jamelle Bouie argued that if one was looking for the “roots” of the attack, “you don’t have to look very far from the White House.”