Over the last two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued six major rulings that touch on issues ranging from gay rights to religious freedom. And amid those events, the decisions of some of the justices went ways that those invested in the outcomes didn’t expect. But one truth was constant throughout the over two-week period: the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) celebrated wins for the left while completely keeping wins for the right hidden from their viewers.
Of those six major decisions, three were victories for the left, and three were victories for the right. And as a Media Research Center study discovered, the broadcast evening newscasts only focused on the wins for Democrats. Those wins were on gay rights in the workplace, keeping Obama's executive order on illegal immigrants who arrived as children, and striking down Louisiana abortion law requiring hospital admissions privileges. In all, they gave the liberal wins almost 25 minutes (24:55) of airtime.
Contrast that with the rulings the networks completely blacked out: quick deportations for failed asylum seekers (June 25), executive branch control over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (June 29), and religious freedom via school choice (June 30).
And by dissecting how much time each network gave to each issue, it shows us who they prioritized in the left’s identity politics hierarchy.
On gay rights, one of the points the liberal networks reveled in was conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch siding with the liberal justices, even writing the opinion. Each network gave their win a full report. ABC’s World News Tonight dedicated two minutes, one second; CBS Evening News gave it two minutes, 39 seconds; NBC Nightly News had two minutes, 12 seconds.
It was similar with DACA as Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberals in the majority. ABC’s report lasted three minutes, 55 seconds; CBS had two back-to-back reports that ate up six minutes, nine seconds; NBC had the least with two minutes, 18 seconds. And as NewsBusters noted at the time, the networks first celebrated the DACA decision as a “big blow” to President Trump before saying it was a win for the so-called “Dreamers.”
While the networks cheered for conservative justices joining the liberals in narrow decisions, they ignored the 7-to-2 ruling, which saw liberal Justices Breyer and Ginsburg join conservatives in approving quick deportations for asylum seekers who failed their initial round of screening.
The Supreme Court striking down Louisiana’s protections for mothers and the unborn got the least amount of airtime out of their wins, but still received full reports from all three. ABC gave it one minute, 47 seconds; CBS clocked in at two minutes, six seconds; and NBC inched out ABC with one minute, 48 seconds.
The abortion ruling was released the same day the court ruling striking down the unconstitutional nature of the Obama-era CFPB was released, affirming the president had the right to appoint its director. But all of the networks refused to cover it.
And on June 30, in another close 5-4 decision, Roberts joined conservatives to approve of the use of state tax credits on religious private schools. “A state need not subsidize private education. But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private school solely because they are religious,” he wrote for the majority.
The math was simple: three wins for liberals and three wins for conservatives. But only one batch was even noted, let alone celebrated by the broadcast networks.