Just before the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) went live Monday night, The Washington Post reported that anonymous sources told them President Donald Trump shared classified intelligence with top Russian officials. All three of them rushed to the breaking story and led their programs with it. “Loose lips at the White House? Did the President reveal highly classified information to the Russians in the Oval Office,” speculated Anchor Scott Pelley during the opening tease for CBS Evening News. But they didn’t always care when classified intel was mishandled, Hillary Clinton was a prime example.
In the immediate aftermath of the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) didn’t quite know how to spin it. But just 24 hours later, the narrative was clear: President Trump fired Comey because the Russia investigation was closing in on him. During their Wednesday evening broadcasts, the networks spent almost two-thirds of their Comey coverage (62 percent) pushing that theory. The networks ran 40 minutes, 25 seconds of Comey coverage, and of that, they spent 25 minutes, five seconds on the conspiracy theory.
After almost four months since former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ warning to the White House regarding then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was illegally leaked to the press, Yates testified before a Senate sub-committee Monday, where she confirmed that’s what she did. The media played up the hearing, expecting there to be a “bombshell.” In reality, she simply offered a detailed retelling of her actions. But that didn’t stop the Big Three networks from going nuts later that night.
Irony abounded on Tuesday as all three network morning shows used Democratic Party talking points to accuse Republican House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes of bias. While advancing a liberal partisan agenda, NBC, ABC, and CBS correspondents laughably told viewers that it was Congressman Nunes who had “lost even the appearance of impartiality.”
Since Saturday, when Donald Trump first took to Twitter to accuse former President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, the morning and evening shows of ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted 107 minutes, 33 seconds to refuting the President’s claim. In contrast, new reports from previous weeks suggesting the Obama Administration did, in fact, initiate surveillance were essentially ignored at the time.
CBS Evening News was steeped in mystery Tuesday as they hyped anonymous sources that suggested President Donald Trump was playing up the threat from the Middle East. “There is a controversy tonight inside U.S. intelligence over whether the Trump administration is exaggerating the threat from Muslim countries,” announced anchor Scott Pelley as he noted debate is encouraged, “But Jeff Pegues reports that this is different because some analysts believe they're being pressured to report the results that the White House wants to hear.”
The ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts seemed to be in a panic Tuesday after the White House signed off new directives to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) instructing them to crackdown on illegal immigration. “Tonight, President Trump's immigration crackdown revealed,” anchor David Muir freaked during the tease of World News Tonight, “The new and sweeping plan to deport undocumented immigrants across this country. Who will be targeted?”
As the old saying goes, ‘never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.’ The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) did just that Monday night when they pounced on claims made on social media that President Donald Trump and his national security team discussed details of the North Korean missile test in public. They gleefully read the Facebook posts of a man who was in the dining room with Trump and who claimed they were discussing the launch, even though Jeff Pegues admitted on CBS Evening News “It's not known what they were discussing…”
Jeff Pegues touted one of James Comey's "critics" on Friday's CBS Evening News, after the FBI director wrote to Congress that new e-mails related to Hillary Clinton's unauthorized private server had been uncovered in an unrelated investigation. Pegues underlined that "the timing of today's revelation has angered some former Department of Justice employees," and quoted from one such individual's posts on Twitter. However, the journalist failed to mention this former DOJ employee's past as a Democratic operative.
While ABC and CBS on Monday highlighted the fire bombing of a Republican Party headquarters in North Carolina as “political terrorism,” NBC only gave the story seconds and avoided using that phrase. CBS This Morning opened the program with the story and reporter Jeff Pegues explained, “Local officials are calling the violence an act of political terrorism.”
On Monday, the three network morning shows hyped “security concerns” over Ohio’s open carry gun law and the prospect of protesters being armed around the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. On NBC’s Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk feared: “The other concern that police have, that people are going to come here carrying their guns. There is a long list of banned items, but because of Ohio law, they are allowed to bring guns.”
Despite swirling controversy over the Obama Justice Department’s decision to censor 911 transcripts of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen pledging allegiance to ISIS during his shooting rampage, on Monday, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today avoided any mention of the glaring omission. Only CBS This Morning actually pointed out the censorship, as correspondent Jeff Pegues revealed: “The transcript will include redactions, including his pledge to ISIS.”