UPDATE: Nets Spend 30 Minutes on Lion; Censor Abortion Videos

Planned Parenthood video black-out in force.

The broadcast news shows covered Cecil the lion more in one day than they spent on the Planned Parenthood videos in two weeks – and that discrepancy only continues to grow. 

In two days, ABC, NBC and CBS have spent 30 minutes, 1 second on Cecil, a famed African lion shot by an American dentist. But anchors couldn’t spare nearly as much time for the videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of aborted baby parts. Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ first video two weeks ago, the networks have spent only 11 minutes, 13 seconds on the story. 

Not since July 21 have the networks mentioned the videos, which means they completely censored the third video unveiled July 28. The fourth video was released Thursday morning. 

But since Tuesday night, every news show from ABC, NBC and CBS has poured minutes into the story about Cecil.

On July 29, anchor Lester Holt noted the “anger” and “outcry” during NBC’s Nightly News, while host David Muir stressed the “outrage” for ABC World News Tonight.

For ABC’s Good Morning America on July 30, anchor George Stephanopoulos noted the dentist now “vilified across the internet.” (Speaking of the internet, the Planned Parenthood videos boast millions of views online …) 

That same day, both CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today recognized the “worldwide outrage.” 

During This Morning, CBS co-anchor Gayle King repeated the exact same words she used to describe the story July 29: “The more you about hear this story, the more upsetting it is.” 

Seems as if it’s the opposite is true for the story of Planned Parenthood workers laughing over “five-star” baby parts. 

NBC’s Today host Matt Lauer commented, “Dr. Palmer is getting it from every corner. The outrage is enormous. Social media, the front page of newspapers, celebrities weighing in.” 

Imagine if he could say the same about babies “picked” apart by tweezers

The anchors expressed similar sympathy in their coverage Tuesday night (July 28) and Wednesday morning (July 29). 

Here’s the breakdown of Cecil coverage by the network news shows: 

Tuesday evening: 5 minutes, 44 seconds

Wednesday morning: 8 minutes, 17 seconds.

Wednesday evening: 5 minutes, 26 seconds

Thursday morning: 10 minutes, 34 seconds 

Aside from the network news, others chimed in on the story, from a teary-eyed Jimmy Kimmel to PETA. “All wild animals are beloved by their own mates and infants,” the animal-rights group’s press release read, “but to hunters like this overblown, over-privileged little man, who lack empathy, understanding, and respect for living creatures, they are merely targets to kill...” 

British journalist Piers Morgan went one step further, saying, “I will sell tickets for $50,000 to anyone who wants to come with me and track down fat, greedy, selfish, murderous businessmen like Dr Palmer,” Morgan wrote, before adding “Then we’d calmly walk over, skin him alive, cut his head from his neck, and took [sic] a bunch of photos of us all grinning inanely at his quivering flesh.” 

After CMP released its first video, the liberal media raced to defend Planned Parenthood. In the first 9 hours and 30 minutes of news shows broadcast after the story broke, ABC, NBC and CBS, spent only 39 seconds on the first video. It took more than 24 hours before all three covered the story. In the week after the first video, the networks gave a mere 9 minutes and 11 seconds to the story (in contrast, the networks devoted more than three times that to the Susan G. Komen controversy, when the charity temporarily decided to defund the abortion giant). 

Similarly, the media stayed silent on the case of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell's trial, in which witnesses described baby abortion survivors “swimming" in toilets “to get out,” attracted a scant 12 – 15 reporters. Only after 56 days, multiple letters from members of the House of Representatives and a public outcry, did all three broadcast networks report on Gosnell.


— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.