Media Research Center: Big Three Networks Blamed GOP for Shutdown

Thursday, 17 Oct 2013 03:41 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Republicans took the brunt of the blame for the government shutdown in the evening news broadcasts on the big three television networks, a study finds.

The Media Research Center (MRC) tracked 124 stories on the government shutdown that were aired on ABC, NBC, and CBS from Oct. 1, when the government shutdown began until Oct. 15, the day before Congress reached a deal to reopen it, and found Republicans were blamed for the impasse in 41 stories.

The nightly newscasts blamed both parties 17 times, but there were no stories that put the blame on the Democrats.

"This current showdown and this current government shutdown traces its history back to a determined core of GOP House members who are vehemently against Obamacare and were willing to shut down the government because of it," said Brian Williams, anchor of 'NBC Nightly News' on Monday.

The alleged bias during the shutdown was similar to the coverage leading up to the shutdown from Sept. 17-30 when 21 stories blamed Republicans, four blamed both sides, and none blamed Democrats.

According to MRC, nightly news anchors featured dramatic stories about the effect the shutdown was having on furloughed workers as well as the national memorials, parks, and other landmarks that were closed down.

"No one was more lonely on this second day of the partial government shutdown than the President — President Lincoln," said Scott Pelley, anchor of 'CBS Evening News.' "His memorial, one of the many national park sites, forced to close."

However, MRC notes that Pelley did not mention that the Lincoln Memorial was open when the government shut down during the Clinton administration or question why the monument was closed this time.

More than 20 million Americans tuned in to watch the government shutdown coverage on evening news programs on ABC, NBC, and CBS, all of which showed an increase in viewers compared to the same week last year, Mediabistro reports.

"As the shutdown neared its end, the networks' polls found the American public more critical of the GOP than either Democrats or the White House," said Rich Noyes, MRC Research Director.

"While some blame can perhaps be assigned to Republicans' lack of a unified conservative message, the incessant drumbeat of hostile, and slanted, media coverage surely took its toll as well," he added.

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