On Tuesday, NBC’s Today show finally began taking the subject of media bias seriously – at least when it comes to British tabloid coverage of their favorite royal couple, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Lacking the slightest amount of self-awareness, hosts complained that the royals “weren’t covered fairly in the press” and subjected to a negative media “narrative” in the U.K.
On Tuesday, journalists on all three network morning shows joined liberal celebrities in rushing to defend Prince Harry and Meghan Markle against accusations of hypocrisy after the supposedly environmentally-conscious royal couple took two different trips on private jets within a week. Reporters on CBS, NBC, and ABC touted other wealthy elites like Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres scolding critics for daring to question the royals’ controversial travel habits.
On ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday, the news team fawned over the UK’s Prince Harry vow to only have one more child to save the planet. Anchor Amy Robach teased the upcoming report with gushy enthusiasm, calling the weird reveal, “The Prince’s pledge,” out of concern for “his greatest cause.”
During the 3:00 p.m. hour of Monday's CNN Newsroom, the panel repeatedly compared President Trump to a king as they covered his state visit with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to indulging her guests’ suggestions that the President would like to be a king, host Brooke Baldwin teed up British journalist Harry Mount to trash the President.
On Friday, the Daily Beast's Michael Daly posted: "The All-American Ritual of a School Shooting, This Time in Santa Fe." In it, he failed to follow through on a promise to draw a comparison between the then-imminent "rituals" involved in British royal weddings" and Friday's school shooting in Texas.
ABC and CBS's evening newscasts on Friday spotlighted the friendly transatlantic trash-talking between the British and American heads of state. However, the programs failed to cover the latest too-close intercept of American military assets by Russian aircraft. On World News Tonight, ABC's David Muir touted "the royal mic drop — the Queen and Prince Harry responding to the First Family's challenge" over the upcoming Invictus Games for wounded veterans. On CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley trumpeted that "it's not often that the Queen gets involved in a Twitter war. She and Prince Harry traded barbs with President and Mrs. Obama."
During a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, attorney Star Jones and the network's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman hyperventilated over Britain's Prince Harry revealing in interviews that he killed Taliban fighters during combat in Afghanistan. Jones fretted: "Why do you need to antagonize the Taliban?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's NBC Today, as co-host Meredith Vieira spoke with correspondent Ben Fogle about Britain's Prince Harry being temporarily stuck at the North Pole, the headline on screen read: "Cooling His Heels; Prince Harry Stuck in the Artic." Halfway through the segment, the show's graphics department apparently noticed the spelling error, changing it to "Arctic."
The morning news program has done several stories on Prince Harry's travels in recent days, making the mistake all the more odd.
Poynter Institute's Scholar for Journalistic Values Bob Steele must not plan on bending an elbow at a British pub anytime soon. Not only did Steele scold the journalists who agreed to keep Prince Harry's Afghanistan deployment secret, he condescendingly dismissed Harry's honorable service to his country (emphasis mine):
But even if one accepts that news reports might heighten a danger, there are other logical challenges to this secrecy about Harry the soldier. To the best of my knowledge, there was no compelling reason for Prince Harry to go to Afghanistan as an army officer. There was nothing essential that he, personally, brought to the battlefield. He had no specific duty or skill that was irreplaceable. Praise him, if you will, for his spirit or his patriotism. But it's certainly not justification for the risks taken or the journalistic principles sacrificed.
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo joked on Monday's show that Britain's Prince Harry "has been over in Afghanistan fighting because he's expendable." Fellow host Robin Roberts appeared somewhat shocked by the comment and sputtered, "What did you say?" Cuomo, who was previewing an ABC special on the royals, didn't back off his assertion and reiterated, "It's true. The reason that Harry is allowed to be in Afghanistan is because he's not the heir to the throne. William's not allowed to be there."
While Harry may not be next in line to be king, it's in very poor taste for a professional journalist to make such a snide remark. After all, Prince Harry went to Afghanistan to bravely serve his country, not because he's "expendable." And perhaps it should be pointed out that it was Chris Cuomo's brother, Andrew, who entered politics and carried on the legacy of father and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Is Chris Cuomo's career in journalism, by extension, a reflection of the fact that he's "expendable?"