ABC Spends Twice As Much Time on Hedgehogs Than New EPA Regulations

On Monday, June 2 the Environmental Protection Agency formally announced a slew of new regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions by coal plants by 30 percent over the next 15 years. 

Despite the potential damaging impact the new regulations will have on the economy, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer spend twice as much time on hedgehogs becoming popular pets instead of providing a full report on the new EPA regulations. 

In total, Sawyer provided a mere 45 seconds on the new EPA regulations and offered no quotes or soundbites from either side. The ABC News host did state the respective positions of environmental groups and the coal industry.

 Despite the brevity of the report, Sawyer managed to complain that “The president tried to get climate change in his first term with legislation but Congress was deadlocked and the new regulations do not require a congressional vote.” Nowhere in the 45 seconds did the ABC anchor mention that much of the opposition for the new regulations came from President Obama’s fellow Democrats.  

In contrast, ABC provided a full 1 minute and 40 second story on why hedgehogs are becoming popular pets in the United States. Sawyer gushed how “In this nation that loves our cats and dogs we wanted to introduce you to a trendy new pet. A hedgehog. ABC’s Nick Watt on the reason behind the popularity of the soft little ball of cute.” 

Reporter Nick Watt beamed:

These bristly little fellas are the pet du jour. Yup, hedgehogs..Social media is partly responsible for the fad. I mean, the pictures are adorable. Biddy the hedgehog has nearly 378,000 Instagram followers. Okay, plus points as pets; they are odorless. You can leave them home alone all day and they don't care. You can pet them -- well, only if they've been handled by humans from birth. 

It’s unfortunate that ABC deemed a meaningless story about the popularity of hedgehogs deserving of more air time than new EPA regulations that could hurt the entire economy including causing the price of electricity to skyrocket. 

See relevant transcript below. 


ABC

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer

June 2, 2014

6:38 p.m. Eastern 

DIANE SAWYER: And now we move to another big story tonight. Proposed new rules announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency marking the most significant step on climate change in the Obama presidency. The rules give states one year to come up with strategies to reduce carbon emissions from power plants and the reduction is supposed to be by 30% over 15 years including plants that burn coal . Environmental groups call it a historic move. Industry groups have called it it a job killer that will increase the price of energy. The president tried to get climate change in his first term with legislation but Congress was deadlocked and the new regulations do not require a congressional vote. Though the one year comment period is expected to be a political fire fight. 

 

6:56 p.m. Eastern 

DIANE SAWYER: In this nation that loves our cats and dogs we wanted to introduce you to a trendy new pet. A hedgehog. ABC’s Nick Watt on the reason behind the popularity of the soft little ball of cute. 

NICK WATT: These bristly little fellas are the pet du jour. Yup, hedgehogs.

ADAM GOLL [sic]: All of a sudden there was just a big spike of interest and I started getting about 20 to 40 a month. 

WATT: Adam Goll just quit his day job at apple to breed hedgehogs full time. 

GOLL: Nothing can beat a hedgehog. Either they're funny, they’re very playful, they’re very social. 

WATT: Social media is partly responsible for the fad. I mean, the pictures are adorable. Biddy the hedgehog has nearly 378,000 Instagram followers. Okay, plus points as pets; they are odorless. You can leave them home alone all day and they don't care. You can pet them -- well, only if they've been handled by humans from birth. This one has not. Okay, negatives. They like to run around their cage at night and the rustling might keep you awake. They're banned in six states. Oh, and they can carry salmonella. Is this a good pet? 

MARTINE COLLETTE: In terms, is this a dangerous pet ? No it is not a dangerous pet.  But what does he get out of this relationship? They're not animals like to be cuddled necessarily. 

WATT: Martine Collette runs a shelter for abandoned exotic pets. Yep, now including hedgehogs.

COLLETTE: You know you play with a puppy. You know, you can play with a kitten. You can talk to a bird. What are you going to do with him? 

WATT: Stare at him and tell him he's cute. Nick Watt, ABC News, Los Angeles.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.