Looming Threat of Social Security Implosion Results in Just 72 Seconds of Network Coverage

Over a combined total of nine and a half hours of programming, CBS, NBC and ABC allowed a mere 72 seconds of coverage to the news, Monday, that Social Security will go bankrupt three years earlier than previously expected. ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News skipped the subject entirely.

The same networks that offered copious amounts of stories to a vague threat of future global warming disaster, found little interest in the coming problems of Social Security.  Scott Pelley briefly explained on Monday's Evening News: "Medicare will run out of money in 2024. Social Security retirement benefits run out in 2033. But Social Security disability benefits will be exhausted long before that, in 2016."

2016 is before the end of the next presidential term, so perhaps there's a reason why the big three networks showed little interest.

Good Morning America donated one news brief and 16 seconds to the story. News reader Josh Elliott explained the new bankruptcy date as a result of "the flood of retiring baby-boomers, longer life expectancy and the ongoing fiscal crisis."

On CBS, Charlie Rose allowed 13 seconds. Monday's Evening News had the most, 28 seconds. NBC's Today also spared time for just one news brief, a scant 15 seconds.

In 2005, a Media Research Center study looked at how journalists covered President Bush's efforts to reform Social Security:

The Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute studied 125 Social Security stories on CNN’s “Inside Politics,” “CBS Evening News,” “NBC Nightly News,” ABC’s “World News Tonight” and Fox News’ “Special Report with Brit Hume” between Nov. 15, 2004, and March 15, 2005. This time included Bush’s call for reform shortly after his re-election into his “60 stops in 60 days” campaign. Among the findings:

CBS and CNN Most Biased: On “CBS Evening News,” 56 percent of stories were liberal with just 20 percent conservative. CBS reports were loaded with extreme examples that played up liberal points.

The entirety of Monday and Tuesday's coverage can be found below:


GMA
04/24/12
7:05
16 seconds

JOSH ELLIOTT: Meanwhile, some new warnings about your retirement. The government now says Social Security will run out of money in the year 2033, three years sooner than expected. Thanks to the flood of retiring baby-boomers, longer life expectancy and the ongoing fiscal crisis.
           
CBS This Morning
04/24/12
7:17
13 seconds

CHARLIE ROSE: The Wall Street Journal reports the Social Security trust fund will run dry by 2033, according to a new government report. That's three years earlier than previous estimates. The government blames the bad economy and high energy costs.

CBS Evening News
04/23/12
6:33
28 seconds

SCOTT PELLEY: Here's another economic story. When will Medicare and Social Security hit empty? We got a new estimate today. The government said that if something isn't done to shore up the trust funds, Medicare will run out of money in 2024. Social Security retirement benefits run out in 2035. But Social Security disability benefits will be exhausted long before that, in 2016.

Today
04/23/12
7:06
15 seconds

NATALIE MORALES: Rising energy prices and a weak economy are hitting the Social Security program hard. The government says the program's trust funds are now set to run dry in 2033. That is three years earlier than previously expected.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org