On Monday’s ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, the program not only spent the fewest time covering the democracy protests in Hong Kong than fellow networks CBS and NBC, but it spent nearly twice as much time gushing over the newest member of the Clinton family than the protests that now number in the tens of thousands.
ABC’s evening newscast ran a news brief on the Hong Kong protests for greater electoral independence from Communist China that lasted for a scant 15 seconds, while two teases plus a mention during the program’s “Instant Index” segment totaled 32 seconds. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Just prior to a commercial break, anchor David Muir said that following about what is transpiring in Hong Kong:
And one more image to show you tonight, this one from Hong Kong: Protests in the Digital Age. Tens of thousands of demonstrators calling for more independence from Chinese rule. Police using pepper spray and look, each light in these images, an iPhone capturing the chaos and the confusion there.
Each of the two commercial before the actual brief on the Chelsea Clinton’s daughter featured a tease from Muir on what was still to come on World News Tonight with one lasting for 9 seconds and the other for 12 seconds.
When it was time for the “Instant Index” segment (which highlights watercooler-type stories), Muir exclaimed to viewers: "[B]reaking now, Chelsea Clinton leaving the hospital, just moments ago, with her new baby, Charlotte. Dad right there, and so are the newly minted grandparents. The beaming Clinton family right there tonight."
Meanwhile, an article posted on The Washington Post’s website described the Hong Kong protests this way:
Swelling crowds of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong on Monday plunged Asia’s normally staid financial hub into a tense standoff with Beijing that strikes directly at China’s expanding political grip in the former British colony.
The rapidly escalating protests are aimed at forcing Beijing’s Communist leaders to abandon newly declared powers to weed out any candidates in upcoming Hong Kong elections. Yet many on the streets proclaimed they are fighting for something even bigger: preserving a vision of Hong Kong promised 17 years ago when it reverted to Chinese rule.
The mere 15 seconds of coverage on ABC’s evening newscasts paled in comparison to the full reports offered on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News. In terms of airtime, the report on the CBS Evening News was one minute and 51 seconds while one tease and report each on NBC Nightly News totaled 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
World News Tonight’s covering of this story followed in the footsteps of network coverage since Saturday in its obsession with the birth of the Clinton family’s newest member (as my colleague Jeffrey Meyer has noted on two occasions).
The full news brief on the protests on Hong Kong that aired on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on September 29 is transcribed below.
ABC World News Tonight with David Muir
September 29, 2014
6:44 p.m. Eastern
DAVID MUIR: And one more image to show you tonight, this one from Hong Kong: Protests in the Digital Age. Tens of thousands of demonstrators calling for more independence from Chinese rule. Police using pepper spray and look, each light in these images, an iPhone capturing the chaos and the confusion there.
The relevant portions of the transcript dealing with the Clintons on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on September 29 can be found below.
ABC World News Tonight with David Muir
6:45 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]
DAVID MUIR: Also, the new pictures coming in. Chelsea Clinton with her new baby just leaving the hospital. A couple of broud – proud grandparents, I should say, right there behind her.
6:49 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]
MUIR: When we come back here, breaking now, Chelsea Clinton just leaving the hospital with her new baby. New pictures coming in.
6:52:39 p.m. Eastern
DAVID MUIR: Our “Instant Index" and breaking now, Chelsea Clinton leaving the hospital, just moments ago, with her new baby, Charlotte. Dad right there, and so are the newly minted grandparents. The beaming Clinton family right there tonight.