ABC, CBS, NBC Skip Conservative Victories in Australia and Norway -- But Find Time for Junk News Mentions

John Fund at National Review has written about three recent elections that show “Liberals In Retreat,” but only one is domestic: the Colorado gun-rights recall. The other two liberal defeats were in Norway and Australia.

A quick Nexis search demonstrated that ABC, CBS, and NBC all skipped the conservative victories in Norway and Australia -- but all three found time for news briefs in 2007 when Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd was elected in Australia on an anti-Iraq war platform. Meanwhile, lighter-than-air "Good Morning America" on ABC did find "news" Down Under when it came to trickle-down celebrity updates on Michael Jackson's daughter:

ALEX PEREZ, September 2: Katherine Jackson [Michael Jackson's mother] revealing for the first time her granddaughter's secret struggles, confirming in an interview with "60 Minutes Australia" what was once reported as an apparent suicide attempt by Paris Jackson in June was, in fact, real.

Australia's Channel 9 made a "donation to the Jackson family charity" for that scoop.

ABC also found a less-than-newsworthy reason to mention Norway.  Lara Spencer celebrated the latest viral pop hit featured people dancing in fox suits on Monday: "And finally, this one's kind of weird, so just get ready. Dogs bark, cows moo, well, what about the fox? What does the fox say? That's the question being asked in what can only be described as Norway's 'Gangnam Style.'"

On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams had Norway news: “Well, the world is now getting its first glimpse of a long missing painting by Vincent van Gogh completed in 1888, two years before the artist`s suicide. It`s been sitting in an attic in a house in Norway assumed to be the work of another painter.”

Now look back at 2007. ABC’s Good Morning America news anchor Ron Claiborne reported on November 24: “Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his conservative party were voted out of office today after dozen years in, a dozen year in its power. Howard was a staunch ally of the United States and had said if re-elected he would keep Australian troops in Iraq. The new prime minister, labor leader Kevin Rudd says he will withdraw those forces.”

NBC Nightly News substitute anchor Peter Alexander reported that evening:  Australia's voters have elected a new leader, rejecting the fifth-term bid of one of America's staunchest allies. Conservative Prime Minister John Howard was beaten soundly and may also lose the parliamentary seat he has held for the last three decades. Voters backed labor party leader Kevin Rudd, who promised to withdraw troops from Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. That would make the United States the only industrialized nation not part of that pact.

On the next day, CBS Sunday Morning anchor Charles Osgood completed the trio: “Kevin Rudd, a liberal who wants to pull his country's forces out of Iraq, becomes Australia's prime minister later this week. He'll replace conservative John Howard, who could lose his own seat in Australia's parliament. Rudd also plans to sign the Kyoto Protocol on limiting greenhouse gas emissions; that would leave the United States as the only industrialized country not to sign on.”

In Australia on Saturday, Tony Abbott's Conservative Party won in a landslide. In Norway on Monday, it became apparent Erna Solberg's Conservative Party put together a winning coalition of four center-right parties. "Today, voters have given the Conservatives our best Parliament election results in 28 years," she said in a Wall Street Journal story.


 

PS: NPR prides itself as the most internationally-focused news in America, but it offered no story on Norway's elections -- at least those that turn up in Nexis. (The data-retrieval service does not keep track of the hourly newscasts, only the features.) NPR did offer a story on Australia's elections on the September 5 All Things Considered, noting a hot issue was illegal immigration.

STUART COHEN: Tens of thousands of so-called boat people - often refugees from war-torn areas like Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka - have arrived on Australia's shores this year alone, usually coming by way of Indonesia in rickety and overcrowded fishing boats. For residents in Husic's electorate, like Eddie McCackley, the migrants are using up valuable social services and public housing.

Cohen interviewed Sydney Morning Herald political editor Peter Hartcher to provide the NPR point of view that illegal immigration shouldn’t be a controversy at all, they concluded:

COHEN: Polls show Australia's conservatives, led by Tony Abbott, are likely to win a majority, ending six years of Labor Party rule. Abbott has promised a raft of major changes, including an end to the country's tax on greenhouse gas emissions.

TONY ABBOTT: There's almost nothing at all wrong with Australia right now that wouldn't be improved by a change of government. We will scrap the carbon tax. We will get the budget back into the black. And we will stop the boats.

PPS: As for the PBS NewsHour, they also ignored the two elections. On August 26, they carried a soundbite of (now outgoing) Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd coming to Obama's side on Syria:  "We will do all within our power, all within our power to act with the international community to bring those responsible to justice." They also did a brief like NBC on the van Gogh discovery.
 

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