NBC Nightly News Finally Mentions Obama Mandate Imposition on Catholics; Still Waiting for ABC and CBS

NBC Nightly News on Monday lifted its two-plus week blackout of the Obama administration’s decision to force religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals and charities, to provide birth control coverage in health insurance provided to employees, but ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News have still yet to utter a syllable about what has enraged people across the political spectrum while having plenty of time to champion Planned Parenthood’s attacks on the Komen foundation.

NBC’s Chuck Todd on Monday evening found a few seconds in a larger story to relay how the Republican presidential candidates “are hitting the Obama administration’s decision to require all health insurance plans to cover birth control. Many Catholic organizations had hoped for an exemption since the rule runs counter to the church’s doctrine. Today Mitt Romney’s campaign launched a petition drive to repeal the decision, and Newt Gingrich also sounded off.”

The only previous ABC, CBS or NBC morning or evening newscast mention of the decision, revealed back on Friday, January 20, came in one brief newsbite ten days later on CBS This Morning, the MRC’s Matthew Balan documented in a Media Reality Check on Friday, “Media Go to Bat for Abortion Giant, Ignore Catholics vs. Obama Controversy; Study: 76% of Soundbites Favored Planned Parenthood Over Komen.”

Balan updated his numbers today (“Nets Hype Social Media ‘Torrent’ in Komen Uproar, Keep Pro-Abortion Slant”) to include the Friday night and weekend newscasts, bringing to 20 the total segments and interviews on Planned Parenthood/Komen run on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening shows.

In addition to the one, brief item on CBS’s morning show, as I recounted Monday morning (“Network Newscast Blackout of Mandate on Catholics Continues, But Sunday Talk Shows Take It Up”), during their roundtables ABC’s This Week and NBC’s Meet the Press discussed the Obama administration’s assault on religious liberty while guest Newt Gingrich brought it up on Face the Nation.

But ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to run a full story or interview segment on the mandate which has caused major consternation amongst Catholic leaders and religious liberty champions.

From the Monday, February 6 NBC Nightly News:

CHUCK TODD: ...All the candidates are hitting the Obama administration’s decision to require all health insurance plans to cover birth control. Many Catholic organizations had hoped for an exemption since the rule runs counter to the church’s doctrine. Today Mitt Romney’s campaign launched a petition drive to repeal the decision, and Newt Gingrich also sounded off.

NEWT GINGRICH, ON MEET THE PRESS: Every time you turn around, secular government is closing in on and shrinking the right of religious liberty in America.

TODD: The White House continued to defend the decision today, but Jay Carney did sort of leave open this idea there could be compromises on how it’s implemented from church to church or organization to organization.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center