Nets Cover ’22 Jump St’ More Than Two Times That Devoted to American Teen Abducted by Islamists

An American teenager, along with two Israeli teens, has been kidnapped in Israel. “[T]wo jihadist groups had posted claims of responsibility for kidnapping the teens,” according to The Washington Post. Israel is in an uproar as the government tries to find them.

But in America, the broadcast networks are breathlessly covering the new movie “22 Jump Street.” In fact, ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted more than 10 and a half minutes to the sophomoric slapstick movie comedy. That’s more than twice what they’ve given to the kidnapping.

Nearly all of that coverage was on CBS. ABC spent 27 seconds covering the kidnapping of the three teens. NBC devoted just 11 seconds to the story.

So a dual citizen American-Israeli seminary student is in the hands of Palestinian terrorists and Israel has launched a manhunt that CBS correspondent Charlie D'Agata said “has become a military operation” that has “further destabilized the region, clashes taking place in both the West Bankand Gaza.”

But the network morning, evening and news magazine shows have given a buddy comedy flick twice the attention.

On June 13, “GMA’s” Rachel Smith went with “22 Jump Street” stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill to a publicity stunt at a NASCAR track, and she quizzed the two with hard-hitting questions like “Who’s the better driver?” and “Who’s the frat boy?” ABC’s “Nightline” dedicated an entire segment to the “big-money bromance” on June 17.

It’s tempting to just question the priorities of the network “news” organizations and scoff at their preference for Hollywood fluff. But there is a pattern – most notably at ABC and NBC – of playing down, distorting and even ignoring Islamist and Palestinian terrorism.

In covering the recent abductions of Nigerian schoolgirls by the Islamist group Boko Haram, NBC mentioned the group’s Muslim affiliation just a third of the time, and ABC pointed it out less than a quarter of the time. In that case, as in the Israeli abduction, CBS was much better, identifying the group as Islamist in 70 percent of its reports.

By the same token, the networks are given to ignoring the plight of Christians in the Middle East, even though in some nations, Christian populations have been all but ethnically cleansed.

Back in February, when Syrian Christians were fighting for their lives against Al Qaeda-backed rebels, NBC was pre-occupied with whether gay athletes would be welcome at the Winter Olympic in Russia. When churches all over Egypt were burning, during the unrest there last fall, the networks were mostly silent.

Matthew Philbin
Matthew Philbin
Matt Philbin is Managing Editor of MRC Culture