ABC’s GMA Devotes Only 22-Second News Brief to Shooting Death of Rookie Virginia Police Officer

On Sunday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America chose to devote only a tease and scant 22-second news brief on the tragic shooting death of a rookie police officer in a Washington D.C. suburb and instead devote over half the hour-long newscast to previewing the Oscars later that day on ABC. 

When the opening credits ran, one of the stories previewed was the death of Prince William County, VA police officer Ashley Guindon and, typically, that means that the program will devote a full story and/or make it a main focus of the entire show. Unfortunately, that was not the case. 

Fill-in host Sarah Haines provided the tease following one on the latest 2016 news, but the shooting death of an officer who had been sworn in only a day beforehand then fetched a pathetic 22 seconds from weekend newsreader Ron Claiborne: 

We begin with news of a rookie police officer in Virginia who was shot and killed just one day after being sworn in. Officer Ashley Guindon responded in Woodbridge, Virginia, that’s south of Washington, D.C., responded to a call about an altercation at a home when shots rang out. This was on Saturday. Fatally wounded Guindon and wounded two others. Police say a suspect has been arrested. 

In contrast, NBC’s Today gave far more time to this latest act of violence against law enforcement to the tune of a one-minute-and-55-second segment from weekend newsreader Sheinelle Jones.

Fill-in co-host Jeff Rossen turned to Jones and noted that they had “[s]ome tragic news to report overnight” as “three officers shot, one of them killed, while they were pursuing a suspect in Virginia.”

Jones explained how Guindon was sworn in the day before and the original dispatch came at 5:30 p.m. for a domestic-related shooting that would tragically result in her death and two fellow officers sustaining injuries.

Also unlike ABC, Jones played clips from local NBC affiliate WRC of neighbors and a Prince William County Police Department official plus alluded to Guindon’s previous service to our country as a U.S. Marine and “family members in law enforcement.”

While Good Morning America and Today air on Sundays, CBS This Morning does not and the news magazine program CBS News Sunday Morning airs. Prior to the slew of long profiles that makeup the show, Sunday Morning does include a short news round-up near the top and one such brief from interim host Jane Pauley did allude to Guindon’s passing.

As my colleague Mike Ciandella wrote on January 13, the subject of alleged police shootings of suspects totaled over 13 hours on the network evening newscasts of the course of 2015 versus “just 109 minutes — less than one-seventh the airtime — to cases where police officers died in the line of duty.”

The transcript of the tease and brief from ABC’s Good Morning America on February 28 can be found below.

ABC’s Good Morning America
February 28, 2016
8:00 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking Overnight; In the Line of Duty]

SARA HAINES: Breaking overnight — in the line of duty, a police officer in Virginia shot and killed on her first day on the job. Two other officers wounded. What went wrong on that seemingly routine call? 

(....)

8:09 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking Overnight; Rookie Virginia Police Officer Killed; Cop Shot First Day on the Job]

RON CLAIBORNE: We begin with news of a rookie police officer in Virginia who was shot and killed just one day after being sworn in. Officer Ashley Guindon responded in Woodbridge, Virginia, that’s south of Washington, D.C., responded to a call about an altercation at a home when shots rang out. This was on Saturday. Fatally wounded Guindon and wounded two others. Police say a suspect has been arrested. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center