In less than two weeks, voters head to the polls in midterm elections that seem certain to yield strong Republican gains, if not outright control of the U.S. Senate. Such a political sea change is big news, but a new Media Research Center study finds that, in contrast to their enthusiastic coverage of the 2006 midterms when Democrats made big gains, the Big Three broadcast evening newscasts are all but ignoring this year’s political contests.
On Tuesday, ABC and NBC made no mention of the upcoming midterm elections, which were two weeks away from Tuesday and include numerous Senate races that will decide whether Republicans or Democrats control the U.S. Senate.
ABC’s Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, NBC’s Today, and NBC Nightly News made no mention of the midterm elections in their evening newscasts while the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley ran not one but two segments on the topic during its Tuesday night broadcast.
All three networks on Tuesday hyped the return of Monica Lewinsky in the form of a speech on Monday, but ABC and CBS mostly glossed over connecting the embarrassing of Bill Clinton's role in the affair. Good Morning America kept the focus on the former White House intern and it was only at the very end of the segment that Jon Karl allowed: "Lewinsky's campaign against cyber-bullying just happens to be getting under way as we are about to start another presidential campaign featuring, probably, most likely, another Clinton."
Obama has been a champion of equal pay for women, at least according to his administration and the network news media.
The broadcast networks boosted his image on the subject throughout his presidency, from the first bill he signed into law in 2009 to a September 2014 speech mentioning “equal pay.” ABC said Obama waged an “assault” on the pay gap with an executive order over salary disclosures, while CBS said he “boosts equal pay for women.”
With the midterm elections two weeks away from Tuesday, the major broadcast networks on Monday night ignored gaffes from Democratic Senator Mark Udall of Colorado and Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis as both seek to make up deficits against their Republican opponents Cory Gardner and Greg Abbott, respectively.
On Monday night, ABC and NBC offered segments on Monica Lewinsky’s first public comments in years that came during a conference in Philadelphia for millennials by Forbes and explained how she was the first victim of cyberbullying during her affair with then-President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.
During the segment that aired on NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell declared that the “timing” of Lewinsky speaking out now (in hopes of becoming an advocate against cyberbullying) “couldn’t be worse for Bill and Hillary Clinton.
On Sunday, October 19, a panel on ABC’s This Week engaged in a highly contentious debate over the Obama administration’s handing of the Ebola crisis. Conservative Mary Matalin mocked PBS host Tavis Smiley for criticizing those who are calling for a travel ban on Ebola stricken nations. The former George W. Bush official argued that “the African leaders who have contained to five countries have done it on the basis of containment. Our CDC now stands for cannot do containment. The reason the president gets blamed for everything, Tavis, because he's responsible for it.”
During an appearance on Sunday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos did his best to deflect criticism away from President Obama’s decision to name Ron Klain, former Chief of Staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, as his Ebola czar. Speaking to weekend GMA host Dan Harris, Stephanopoulos insisted that “Ron Klain is an expert in communications, he's an expert in management. That's what the government needs right now.”
It's clear that the liberal media will latch on to any argument, even the most patently nonsensical, to oppose a travel ban on people from Ebola-affected countries. Take today's Good Morning America where co-anchors Paula Faris and Dan Harris accused Americans of "hysteria" over Ebola and concoted an anti-travel ban argument flying right into the face of the facts.
Speaking of flying, the oblivious duo asserted that a flight ban makes no sense since Ebola can only be passed via contact with bodily fluids. But surely Faris and Harris know that Thomas Eric Duncan had no such symptoms when he boarded a plane to the US, where he proceeded to infect at least two people before dying. Thus the only way to ensure that infected people don't get into the US is to impose a general travel ban: hello?
As of Thursday morning, NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the New York Times's front-page article on Wednesday about Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons stockpiles in Iraq, which were discovered by U.S. forces after the Iraq War. NBC was quick to cast doubt on the existence of these WMD's during the immediate aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion.
Houston’s attack on the religious liberty of five pastors created a nationwide uproar among conservatives. And not one second of attention from the broadcast news outlets.
Fox News broke the story on Tuesday about Houston’s extreme reaction to opponents of a new “nondiscrimination law.” “The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa,” according to The Christian Post. Many Christians have opposed it and had collected an estimated 50,000 signatures to bring it to a vote.
In the crucial weeks leading up to the midterm elections, the broadcast networks were obsessed with scandals, but not any of the Obama administration controversies that might influence how voters behave on Election Day. No, despite revelations in the Benghazi, IRS, Veterans Administration and Secret Service prostitution scandals it was the NFL domestic abuse scandals that captured the attention of the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS) networks.