In Midst of War Talk, Networks Have Only Mentioned Obama's Peace Prize Twice Since Election Day

Now that the Nobel Peace Prize winner has been announced, it’s a good time to notice which Nobelist doesn’t tend to get mentioned any more. With all the talk of war in Syria, after leading from behind in Libya, and approving the takedown of Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama’s Peace Prize is almost never mentioned on TV.

Is that embarrassment for Obama? It can’t be disaste for Obama. It might be embarrassment for the Nobel bureaucrats for the attempt at pre-emptive accolades. But a survey of ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS newscasts since the 2012 election shows only one news report – from Chuck Todd in June – acknowledged Obama won the Peace Prize, and one wisecrack from PBS NewsHour analyst David Brooks on September 13:

Brooks suggested that if Obama could solve Syria’s civil war,“if that happens, as I say, then Barack Obama will get another Nobel Peace Prize. They will give him three or four more. But I’m just a little skeptical.”

David Corn at Mother Jones suggests that indeed, Obama's actions on Syria's chemical stockpile should earn him a second Nobel Prize.

On the June 17 Nightly News, Chuck Todd reported from a presidential trip to Europe: “Once heralded as the anti-George Bush, Europeans even gave Mr. Obama a Nobel Peace Prize. Now he`s on the defensive over U.S. policies, including some he`s kept in place from the Bush era.”

It was more common in Nobel Peace Prize stories to mention other winners meeting with Obama without noting that both parties were Nobel winners. Todd this once on the the November 19, 2012 Today and then again on Nightly News: “Then [on Obama’s agenda in Myanmar] it was up to Aung San Suu Kyi`s house, where the Nobel Peace-prize winner and democracy activist lived under house arrest for years.”

CBS did this repeatedly:

– Bill Plante, November 19, 2012 This Morning: “In Burma the President embraced democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.”

– Scott Pelley, June 27 Evening News: “We learned today that the two men have met before. This photo surfaced from 2005, when Mr.  Obama was a junior Senator and Mandela was visiting Washington. The former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner is 94.”


– Jim Axelrod, July 6 Evening News in unrelated stories: “Confusion in Egypt tonight with state television saying a new interim prime minister has not yet been appointed despite earlier reports that the post is going to Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed El-Baradei. Meanwhile, funerals took place for some of the thirty-six people killed in clashes last night. In a statement late today, President Obama condemned the violence and denied that the U.S. was taking sides.”

-- Scott Pelley, August 28 Evening News: “After Dr. King`s speech, nothing was really ever the same. Within months, the Civil Rights Act was passed, followed the next year by the Voting Rights Act. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in `64. He was assassinated in `68. As President Obama praised peace today, he also prepared for war.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis