During its coverage of the Iran framework on Monday, NBC Nightly News touted the hopes of proponents and the Obama administration that the “details of a deal may be changing” the minds of “some” critics as President Obama and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz began selling the agreement in press conferences, interviews, and calls with world leaders. Lester Holt began by promoting Obama’s recent interview with NPR in which he said forcing Iran to recognize Israel’s existence as part of a final nuclear deal (as Israel has insisted) would be a “fundamental misjudgement.”
Government & Press
The favorable coverage of the agreed framework for future talks over Iran’s nuclear program continued on Friday morning as the network newscasts hailed the “legacy defining moment now within reach” for President Obama and compared Iranian “hardliners” to deal skeptics in the U.S. and Israel. Today co-host Savannah Guthrie began the program’s coverage by hailing the “landmark deal” with NBC's Peter Alexander fretting that “Republicans and the Israeli prime minister” are “clearly not on board” as “a legacy-defining moment” appeared “now within reach” for the President.
On Thursday night, ABC and NBC cheered the “historic” agreement of an outline for continued talks with Iran and declared that “the United States could be entering a new era in its relationship” with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reflected on the “18 months of tough negotiations” that “end[ed] with an all-nighter” with the possibility that “the United States could be entering a new era in its relationship with Iran and President Obama is telling critics this will make our world safer.”
Following five straight days where the network evening newscasts slammed Indiana for passing its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), Arkansas joined the barrage of criticism on Wednesday after Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson requested the legislature make changes to its own version. The CBS Evening News failed to mention how a small Indiana pizza parlor has been forced to at least temporarily shutter after receiving violent threats while NBC Nightly News only said that the shop closed after “so much criticism online.”
While all three of the major broadcast networks covered the indictment of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (N.J.) on Wednesday night, the CBS Evening News chose to largely downplay the news by spending just 22 seconds on the story and hailed Menendez as someone “who often seems to relish a fight.” Additionally, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC all made sure to mention that Menendez is a Democrat, but stopped there and declined to label him a liberal or progressive.
In a commentary masquerading as a news brief, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley took multiple shots at Indiana and its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) on Tuesday by complaining about the bill’s length and indirectly using the First Amendment to support opponents of the law: “We may have found the reason for all this confusion.” He complained it contains “eleven paragraphs, 62 lines, and 832 words” and then thumbed his nose at lawmakers by saying that “James Madison did more in 16 words” in writing the First Amendment.
On Tuesday night, ABC and CBS declined to cover the latest in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal as the House Select Committee on Benghazi requested a private meeting with the former Secretary of State while a separate deadline concerning her e-mail server approaches. Days after the committee requested Clinton turn her private e-mail server over to an independent party for review, the panel looking into the deadly 2012 terrorist attack in Libya wants Clinton to sit for a private interview in addition to a public hearing by May 1 at the latest.
On their Monday evening newscasts, the major broadcast networks kept up their attacks on the State of Indiana for having enacted a religious freedom law that aims to protect individuals from government infringement based on their religious beliefs. While ABC, CBS, and NBC mentioned that there are those supporting the law, their coverage continued to veer off in a slanted direction against the law by painting Republicans as being “in damage control mode” while the “avalanche of criticism” continues to grow.
After not covering on Thursday night a report that detailed how Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents attended sex parties paid for by Colombian drug cartels, NBC continued to show no interest in the multi-year scandal by making no mention of it during Friday’s edition of Today. While ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir also failed to cover this story on Thursday, ABC’s Good Morning America devoted a news brief on Friday morning to the issue that ran for a scant 17 seconds.
ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News ignored on Thursday night a scathing report that revealed how agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) attended so-called “sex parties” over a multi-year period while working in Colombia that were paid for by the very drug cartels that they were working to combat. Authored by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General (IG), the findings were part of a 181-page report into allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct across the various law enforcement agencies that fall under the purview of the DOJ.
In their coverage of desertion charges filed against U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the major broadcast networks on Wednesday night failed to mention that National Security Advisor Susan Rice had praised Bergdahl for serving “with honor and distinction.” Standing in sharp contrast to this glaring omission by the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC, the clip of Rice’s claim on the June 1, 2014 broadcast of ABC’s This Week was shown on CNN and FNC newscasts.
Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer appeared on the panel for Fox News’s Special Report on Tuesday evening and blasted President Barack Obama for refusing to directly comment on the Wall Street Journal report that Israel has been spying on the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear deal as well as the administration for acting as if Israel’s actions are unprecedented.