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ABC, CBS and NBC have largely moved on from the Taliban taking Afghanistan back following the botched withdrawal of U.S. troops last August, as coverage on evening newscasts dropped to a measly seven seconds in July, according to a new study.
Last week, NBC’s “Today,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “CBS Mornings” failed to recognize that it was exactly one year since the Aug. 26, 2021, terror attack outside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan left 11 Marines, one Army soldier and a Navy corpsman dead. But skipping the somber one-year mark of the suicide bomb that killed 13 Americans isn’t the only thing that indicates broadcast networks are moving past Afghanistan coverage.
The conservative watchdog Media Research Center analyzed evening newscasts on ABC, NBC and CBS and found a staggering decline in coverage in a study headlined, “CHAOS: One Year of the Networks Hiding Biden’s Afghanistan Disaster.”
ABC’s "World News Tonight," "NBC Nightly News" and CBS’ "Evening News" spent 409 minutes and 12 seconds on Afghanistan in August 2021 and the number evaporated to a mere seven seconds in July 2022, according to Media Research Center findings. (AP Photo/Ahmad Halabisaz)
ABC’s “World News Tonight,” “NBC Nightly News” and CBS’ “Evening News” spent 409 minutes and 12 seconds on Afghanistan in August 2021 and the number evaporated to a mere seven seconds in July 2022, according to the MRC findings.
“It’s not as though life under the Taliban suddenly became peaceful and quiet once the President removed U.S. troops. For instance, January 2022 saw a mere six minutes and 31 seconds of evening newscast coverage. But the reality on the ground was chaos, suffering and death. When journalists bothered to cover Afghanistan, they actually seemed to notice the severity of the disaster,” MRC research director Scott Whitlock wrote.
Whitlock noted the networks quickly moved on from the ongoing story, as it was only covered for 16 total minutes in October of last year.
“It’s also important to note that when there was Afghanistan coverage, the words ‘Joe Biden’ were often missing from the stories,” he added.
ABC, NBC and CBS rarely tie President Biden to chaos in Afghanistan, according to the Media Research Center. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The MRC reported that NBC anchor Lester Holt even referred to it as a “crisis in Afghanistan” in January 2022, but the network only spent about six minutes on the story that entire month and has softened President Biden’s role when the story is mentioned.
“The first two months of summer 2022 saw almost a complete collapse of coverage. In June, just three minutes and 31 seconds. July was even worse: A shocking low of just seven seconds and all of that came from ‘World News Tonight.’ In an otherwise unrelated story on veterans, one service member noted, ‘Everyone I knew in the veteran community had a mental breakdown when Afghanistan fell,’” Whitlock wrote. “That was it for the month. No utterances of the name Joe Biden and no stories on Afghanistan.”
Even as interest in the story “picked up” in August 2022 because of one-year anniversary retrospectives, networks “continued to downplay Joe Biden’s role in overseeing the debacle,” according to the MRC.
“When it comes to the media, history is often a guide. With autumn and the 2022 midterms coming, journalists will likely go back to ignoring the perilous situation in Afghanistan. After all, Joe Biden is a Democrat and he must be protected. Even if that means ignoring chaos, suffering and death in a dangerous Afghanistan,” Whitlock wrote.
Brian Flood is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @briansflood.