CBS Breaks 102-Day Blackout on Captive Marine; NBC Still Won’t Acknowledge Case

U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi has been held in a Mexican prison for more than three months for accidentally crossing into Mexico with weapons and NBC News has yet to acknowledge the story.

On Wednesday, July 9, Sergeant Tahmooressi made his first appearance in a Tijuana courtroom and on Thursday both ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning covered the developments whereas NBC’s Today remained silent. [See video below.]

While CBS and ABC did provide coverage of the U.S. Marine’s fight to be released from Mexico, network coverage of Tahmooressi has been minimal at best. Since the story first broke, ABC has been the only “big three” network to cover the story, and it only provided one previous report on GMA on May 28. Furthermore, none of the network evening newscasts have mentioned the captured American Marine's situation since he was first arrested. 

Prior to July 10, CBS had never covered Tahmooressi’s story, and provided its first news brief during the 8:00 a.m. hour on Thursday morning. On ABC, Reena Ninan highlighted how “U.S. Marine reservist Andrew Tahmooressi is back in a Mexican jail. The 25 year old ordered by a judge overnight to remain in custody on gun charges near Tijuana where he's been locked up 102 days.” 

During their first reference to Tahmooressi, CBS’s Jeff Glor explained: 

Meanwhile a U.S. Marine who says he carried guns over the Mexican border by accident is telling his story in court. Mexican customs agents arrested Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi more than three months ago. He appeared in a Tijuana courtroom on Wednesday. Prosecutors say Tahmooressi never told border officials he was carrying guns and ammunition. After the hearing the Marine said he’s optimistic that he’ll be cleared.

Back in May, the only other network reporting on Tahmooressi occurred when ABC’s Pierre Thomas detailed: 

After nearly two months in jail, for the first time, US Marine Andrew Tahmooressi will appear before a Mexican judge facing gun charges. He said it all was a simple mistake, that he was out for a routine drive home, accidentally took the wrong exit, left California and ended up in Mexico. He said he volunteered to Mexican authorities that he had legally registered weapons in his car, a loaded assault rifle, pistol and shotgun.

See relevant transcripts below. 


ABC

Good Morning America

July 10, 2014 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn to the U.S. Marine locked in a Mexican jail for more than three months finally had his day in court facing the charge that he brought guns into Mexico illegally. ABC’s Reena Ninan has the story.

REENA NINAN: This morning U.S. Marine reservist Andrew Tahmooressi is back in a Mexican jail. The 25 year old ordered by a judge overnight to remain in custody on gun charges near Tijuana where he's been locked up 102 days. 

JILL TAHMOORESSI: It’s been a grueling nine hours.   

NINAN: The evidentiary hearing lasted more than eight hours and was Tahmooressi's first chance to plead his case in court. The California native seen here arriving at the courthouse under heavy guard was arrested on March 31st after he says he got lost and crossed the Mexican border with three firearms in his pickup truck. 

ANDREW TAHMOORESSI: I crossed the border by accident and I have three guns in m truck and they're trying to process -- they're trying to take my guns from me.

UNKNOWN WOMAN: So you're in Mexico. 

TAHMOORESSI: Yeah. 

UNKNOWN WOMAN: There is nothing I can help you with then sir. I do apologize.  

NINAN: Though cameras weren’t allowed in court Tahmooressi's mother says she was able to spend 20 minutes with her son after the hearing. 

JILL TAHMOORESSI: He's very strong. He's very strong and positive and he's confident.

NINAN: The State Department is actively engaged in the case. Consular officers have visited Tahmooressi 13 times and 71 members of Congress have signed a bipartisan letter asking the judge for leniency. Tahmooressi’s newly hired attorney is hopeful.

FERNANDO BENITEZ: We feel the hearing was a success and we feel we are finally on the right track.  

NINAN: Still, there are doubts unlike American law, in Mexico one is guilty until proven innocent and the decision rests solely in the judge's hands. For Good Morning America, Reena Ninan, ABC News, New York. 

ROBIN ROBERTS: Many are watching that very closely. 

 

CBS

CBS This Morning 

July 10, 2014

JEFF GLOR: Meanwhile a U.S. Marine who says he carried guns over the Mexican border by accident is telling his story in court. Mexican customs agents arrested Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi more than three months ago. He appeared in a Tijuana courtroom on Wednesday. 

Prosecutors say Tahmooressi never told border officials he was carrying guns and ammunition. After the hearing the Marine said he’s optimistic that he’ll be cleared. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.