Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
On Tuesday night, ABC and CBS refused to acknowledge a pair of points in its respective stories concerning news that additional U.S. special forces will be stationed inside Iraq to fight ISIS and will engage in combat roles. Along with not mentioning that the move represented the latest example of backpedaling by President Obama on a pledge to not put U.S. troops on the ground, the two networks skipped the admission by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that ISIS is not “contained” in a rebuke to the President’s recent claims.
While awaiting President Barack Obama’s remarks on Wednesday concerning national security as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, ABC News chief anchor, former Clinton staffer, and Clinton Foundation donor George Stephanopoulos couldn’t help but repeatedly gush over the President’s supposedly “forceful rhetoric” on ISIS following the Paris terror attacks.
In a welcome change of pace for MSNBC programming on Tuesday night, liberal primetime host Rachel Maddow was given the night off in favor of NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, who anchored the network’s 9:00 p.m. Eastern coverage of the Paris Islamic terror attacks and closed with a brief but astute commentary on how it’s doubtful that Paris will change the global ISIS strategy.
A story that the networks would have almost assuredly covered if George W. Bush was still President, the major broadcast networks failed to cover on Wednesday a front-page New York Times report that a Pentagon inspector general is investigating the possibility that intelligence assessments on the U.S. fight against ISIS may have be altered to reflect a better picture than reality allowed.
On Thursday night, the CBS Evening News omitted reports that the Islamic terrorist group ISIS used chemical weapons in multiple attacks in Iraq over the past week against Kurdish forces the group claimed responsibility for a bombing in Iraq earlier in the day. In contrast, ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News offered news briefs on the development with the latter program also providing a full report from chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel on the brutality of female members of ISIS in enforcing Islamic laws on women living under the terrorist group’s control.
Following news on Wednesday that the Obama administration will send 450 additional U.S. troops back to Iraq to help train the Iraqi military against ISIS, ABC’s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News chose to exclude any criticism of the Obama administration’s ISIS policy while NBC Nightly News made multiple critical points about the administration as Richard Engel declared: “It’s hard to see how a few hundred non-combat troops are going to make much of a difference.”
On Tuesday night, the news that the ISIS had seized the Libyan city of Sirte received zero coverage on the evening newscasts of ABC and NBC while CBS devoted an entire segment to ISIS’s new gains, but neglected to mention or lay blame for the instability at the feet of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration. While NBC offered no coverage on ISIS all together, ABC had a full report about the ongoing war, but only to highlight the troves of military equipment, weapons, and vehicles that was given to the Iraqi army by the U.S. that have fallen into the hands of ISIS.
Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly took aim at President Obama during his “Talking Points Memo” on Monday’s O’Reilly Factor and ruled that the United States has “a leader who doesn’t want to lead” in addition to “lack[ing] the will to defeat” ISIS. The Fox News Channel host first set the scene by playing a clip of Obama telling reporters on Monday at the G-7 Summit that the U.S. still does not “have a complete strategy” for defeating ISIS and how that was strikingly similar to his assessment of the U.S. fight against ISIS in August 2014.
Following President Obama’s comments at the G-7 summit on Monday about the United States still having “no complete strategy” for fighting ISIS, NBC Nightly News went to work in spinning for the President by touting his reasoning and neglecting to mention that he uttered similar remarks back on August 28, 2014. In contrast, ABC's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News noted the similarity in Obama’s remarks on Monday and in August with multiple doses of criticism for the commander-in-chief.
CBS and NBC continued their refusal on Monday evening to criticize the Obama administration’s handing of Iraq and so-called policy on ISIS as the Islamic terror group seized control of Ramadi over the weekend. While those two networks continued to spin for the White House, ABC bucked the trend from the network morning newscasts by providing a blunt critique of the Obama administration for “painting far too rosy a picture of how this war is going for far too long.”
During a segment on the Thursday edition of the Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly cited a new analysis from the Media Research Center that detailed the massive amount of coverage the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted in the month of April to numerous “allegations of police misconduct” compared to the time spent reporting on the terror group ISIS.
While on Thursday’s edition of The Nightly Show on Comedy Central, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich expressed concern that the media has been covering the terrorist group ISIS too heavily and in turn has been causing the group’s ranks to swell. After being asked by host Larry Wilmore to explain why “all these westerners [are] joining ISIS,” Reich dismissed that premise by declaring that “there are not that many trying to join ISIS” considering: “Out of 600 million Europeans and Americans you’ve got, what, 400, 800 trying to join ISIS? This is not a big deal.”