ABC, NBC Yawn at Crackdown on Hong Kong Democracy Protests; CBS Offers 20 Seconds

CBS This Morning was the sole Big Three morning newscast on Thursday to report that the police in Hong Kong cleared out the main camp of pro-democracy protestors in the former British colony. Anchor Charlie Rose gave a 20-second news brief on the government's crackdown on the demonstrators. [video below] BBC News reported that "more than activists have been arrested...after police cleared the main pro-democracy protest camp."

Meanwhile, ABC's Good Morning America aired a two-plus minute report on Angelina Jolie's "tattoo trouble" regarding her kids asking her and husband Bratt Pitt about their many tattoos. Jolie revealed in a recent interview that she feels "hypocritical" about saying no to them if they want their own. GMA apparently deemed this celebrity story more important than the latest development on the Hong Kong protests, as the morning show didn't cover it.

NBC's Today also spent over two minutes on frivolous topic – a viral video on YouTube showing how to wrap a Christmas present in 12 seconds. Anchors Tamron Hall and Natalie Morales tried to copy the method during the segment, but both were unsuccessful.

The Big Three have inconsistently covered the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong since they began during the summer of 2014. In July, NBC ignored the beginning of the protests. ABC and CBS covered them, but failed to label the mainland Chinese government communist. Two months later, ABC spent almost twice the amount of air time on the birth of Chelsea Clinton's baby than they did on the "tens of thousands of demonstrators calling for more independence from Chinese rule."

NBC's Today stood out on November 19, 2014 as the sole Big Three morning or evening newscast to cover the Hong Kong government clearing out part of the protesters' encampment. By contrast, GMA devoted over two and a half minutes to a music video out of China that might be the next "Gangnam Style," and CBS This Morning gave an 18-second news brief on the planned tallest roller coaster in the world.

The transcript of Charlie Rose's news brief from Thursday's CBS This Morning:

CHARLIE ROSE: Police in Hong Kong this morning are clearing the main camp used by pro-democracy protesters. They removed barricades, broke down tents, and arrested people who would not leave. The protests began two and a half months ago. Demonstrators are angry about the government's involvement in choosing election candidates. A protest organizer says the fight for open elections is not over.

— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.