‘Big Three’ Continue to Ignore Report Saying Obama Briefed on ISIS for ‘At Least A Year’

For the second day in a row, the “big three” networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) all ignored a new report from a former Pentagon official which claims that President Obama received briefings on the terrorist group ISIS “for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer.” 

Following the “big three” ignoring the report on their Tuesday night broadcasts, on Wednesday, September 3, all three network morning shows continued to omit the revelation during their coverage of ISIS following the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff. While the networks continue to ignore this latest report, all three did their best to make the president look tough in going after the terrorist group. 

From the FoxNews.com report by Catherine Herridge, the network’s Chief Intelligence Correspondent:  

Obama, unlike his predecessors who traditionally had the document briefed to them, is known to personally read the daily brief. The former Pentagon official, who has knowledge of the process, said Obama generally was not known to come back to the intelligence community with further requests for information based on the daily report.


The president's team has publicly suggested that the group only recently gained in strength, accounting for why Obama earlier this year dismissed such extremists as akin to a “JV” team. 

While the “big three” have so far ignored the report, in 2002 the networks eagerly jumped on the news that President Bush had received vague information from the CIA about Al Qaeda’s desire to hijack planes in the United States prior to September 11th. 

As the Media Research Center documented in May of 2002, “both ABC’s Charlie Gibson and NBC’s Katie Couric opened their shows by provocatively asking: ‘What did he know and when did he know it?’.” The report goes on do show how ABC and NBC repeatedly jumped on the story as an opportunity to suggest that President Bush had fallen asleep at the switch:

Charlie Gibson predicted at the start of Good Morning America: “It may put the President under a lot of heat today as public learns that he knew, through his daily CIA intelligence briefings, that bin Laden had potential terror attack plans under way.” Gibson also cast doubt upon whether Bush was really surprised, telling Terry Moran: “It also calls into question what happened when Andy Card, Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, that morning went and whispered in the President's ear, as the President was talking to a group of school students in Florida. Was the President really surprised?”

On Today, Couric suggested Bush could have stopped the attacks, as she asserted that the revelation is “raising more questions about whether the attacks on America could have been prevented.”

Despite the media promptly playing up reports that the CIA briefed President Bush on Al Qaeda’s vague terrorism goals prior to 9/11, the same enthusiasm has not existed following the news that President Obama had been briefed repeatedly about the ISIS threat. Furthermore, given the president’s recent declaration that ISIS was a “JV” terrorist group, the network’s refusal to cover this report is a galling omission for the “big three.” 

Instead of doing its best to push the false narrative that President Obama is talking tough to ISIS, the networks should be providing its viewers with a more complete picture by acknowledging that he had received numerous briefings on the ISIS threat over the past year.   

— Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Jeffrey Meyer on Twitter.