The three major broadcast networks—ABC, NBC and CBS—among them devoted more coverage time to the saga of the National Zoo’s baby panda twins in just three weeks than to the nine appalling Planned Parenthood videos describing the sale of human baby body parts over a seven-week period.
The study conducted by the Media Research Center, who combed through hours of news transmissions, found that from Aug. 12 to Sept. 2, the networks spent 28 minutes and 59 seconds on the baby panda story. Meanwhile, from July 14 to Sept. 2, ABC, NBC and CBS combined spent less than 24 minutes on the story of human babies torn apart in the Planned Parenthood videos.
The MRC also reported that in their news programs, anchors systematically referred to the pandas as “babies,” even before they were born, while calling the aborted humans “fetal tissue.”
The networks gushed over the new baby panda twins, with NBC correspondent Hallie Jackson saying, “It’s a lot of work raising twins, but falling in love with them? That’s as simple as black and white.”
CBS co-anchor Norah O’Donnell similarly rhapsodized over the “panda-monium” and “cubs double-header.”
“The really big news in Washington wasn’t made at the White House or the U.S. Capitol,” O’Donnell said during the Evening News Aug. 24. “It happened in the zoo.”
The very same day, tens of thousands protested Planned Parenthood, which went unreported by the three networks.
When one of the baby pandas died on Aug. 26, ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos bemoaned the “sad news from the National Zoo” during the broadcast of World News, while CBS cited a USA Today story and stressed that the zoo would perform tests “to determine just what went wrong.”
In comparison, the networks didn’t bother covering the aborted human baby twin in the fifth video exposing Planned Parenthood. In fact, the networks devoted no coverage whatsoever to the last five videos released by the Center for Medical Progress.
When it comes to babies, it seems that pandas trump humans, at least on network television.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome