Broadcast Nets, Especially ABC and NBC, Deliver Upbeat View of Iraqi Election

The three broadcast network evening newscasts, particularly ABC and NBC, led Thursday night with glowingly positive spins on the election in Iraq. ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, the only anchor in Iraq, celebrated in her tease: “So much pride. So much joy. The chance at a better future.” She then led World News Tonight with how “millions of Iraqis went to the polls in unprecedented numbers. They did so to elect a parliament which will write a new constitution and elect a new government.” Remarkably, she pointed out how “the Bush administration set this process into motion nearly three years ago with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.” Campbell Brown, filling in for Brian Williams, teased NBC Nightly News: “A huge turnout. Millions casting their votes on a peaceful and historic day." She began her program by trumpeting: “It has been quite simply a remarkable day in Iraq, one that could have a real impact on the U.S. mission there. Millions of Iraqis all across the country lined up to cast ballots in today's historic elections. Even among Iraq's Sunni Arabs, as well as Shiites and Kurds, the turnout was heavy.”

Bob Schieffer suggested surprise at the success as he teased the CBS Evening News: “Iraq held an election and millions voted. It really happened, but what happens next?” Schieffer then delivered a positive, yet more muted than ABC or NBC, lead in which he described “one of the largest turnouts for a free election in the history of the Arab world.” (Transcripts follow.)

Below are transcripts of the December 15 broadcast network evening newscasts teases on Iraq and the introductions to the lead stories, compiled with the help of the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

# ABC's World News Tonight:

The tease from Elizabeth Vargas in Iraq:
“I'm Elizabeth Vargas in Iraq, where millions of Iraqis went to the polls today. So much pride. So much joy. The chance at a better future. Tonight, what's next for Iraq? The American General and the Senator who says the important thing is what the U.S. leaves in Iraq, not when.” [The Senator: Lindsey Graham]
Vargas opened:
"Good evening from Iraq. The country has never seen a day like this one before. Millions of Iraqis went to the polls in unprecedented numbers. They did so to elect a parliament which will write a new constitution and elect a new government. The Bush administration set this process into motion nearly three years ago with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. We do not know what kind of government will rule Iraq tomorrow, but today people here had a chance to have a say in the future."


# CBS Evening News:

Bob Schieffer's tease:
“Good evening, I'm Bob Schieffer. Iraq held an election and millions voted. It really happened, but what happens next? We'll start there tonight.”
Schieffer led:

"Well, it was, by any measure, one of the largest turnouts for a free election in the history of the Arab world. Literally millions voted today in Iraq to choose a parliament which will form a government. Lara Logan heads our coverage of election day and the big turnout. Kimberly Dozier is with U.S. forces and will gauge the impact of the vote on them. And Sheila MacVicar is in Saudi Arabia to report on how the election is being seen throughout the Arab world. We're going first to Lara in Baghdad."




# NBC Nightly News:

Campbell Brown's tease:“Election day in Iraq. A huge turnout. Millions casting their votes on a peaceful and historic day.”

Brown began:

"Good evening. It has been quite simply a remarkable day in Iraq, one that could have a real impact on the U.S. mission there. Millions of Iraqis all across the country lined up to cast ballots in today's historic elections. Even among Iraq's Sunni Arabs, as well as Shiites and Kurds, the turnout was heavy. And attacks by insurgents were light. The success of today's elections is critical to the U.S. plan for drawing down the number of American troops on the ground. It could be weeks before we know the outcome of today's elections to elect the 275-seat parliament. We begn tonight with NBC's Richard Engel in Iraq."

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center