Nets Ignore Controversy Swirling Around Secret Side Deals With Iran

July 23rd, 2015 11:19 AM

Despite the revelation on Wednesday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made secret side deals with Iran over nuclear weapons inspections and refused to disclose the details to the U.S. Congress, NBC, ABC, and CBS all ignored the story.

By contrast, Fox News’s Special Report led with the breaking news that evening as anchor Bret Baier informed viewers: “As President Obama continues to both court and mock critics of his legacy-shaping nuclear agreement with Iran, there is word tonight of a separate covert deal between the Islamic Republic and the U.N.’s nuclear team. Two of them, in fact, that are not going to be shared with members of Congress nor with you.”

Of the three broadcast networks, only NBC Nightly News even covered the Iran deal Wednesday evening. Anchor Lester Holt noted how “thousands turned out here in New York today to protest the Obama administration's recently completed nuclear deal with Iran” as he introduced a full report by chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel on the plight of American hostages who continue to be held by the authoritarian regime.

Engel explained: “On his way to sell the Iran deal to a skeptical Congress, Secretary Kerry was asked about Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, an American citizen arrested in Iran a year ago today....Rezaian isn't alone. Two other Americans are held in Iranian jails. Another went missing in Iran. Critics say their release should have been part of the deal.”

The report by Engel was also aired on the Today show that morning. Neither ABC nor CBS provided coverage of the hostages on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, only CBS This Morning mentioned the Iran deal at all, and then, only in a mere 27-second news brief. Co-host Charlie Rose reported:

Secretary of State John Kerry will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning to defend the Iran nuclear deal. Kerry held classified briefings on Capitol Hill yesterday to win over skeptical lawmakers. Among their concerns, the timing of sanctions relief and how to respond if Iran cheats. Thousands packed New York’s Times Square to protest the agreement. The demonstrators say the deal is a threat to global security.     

Both NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America skipped the story.