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ABC, NBC Ignore Grim Housing Report; Focus Instead on Selfie with Queen, 50 Shades of Grey Trailer

Both ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News on Thursday evening failed to mention a new, troubling report from the Census Bureau on Thursday night that sales of new homes decreased by 8.1% in June and that May’s originally reported double-digit increase was revised lower, from almost 19% to only 8%. 

The CBS Evening News did cover this story, but it only was in the form of a 12-second news brief from anchor Scott Pelley. Pelley grimly reported: “Today's report on the housing market is raising concerns about the economic recovery. Sales of new homes dropped sharply last month, more than 8%, and that's the largest decline in nearly a year.” [MP3 audio here]

According to an article published Thursday afternoon on USA Today’s website, the numbers in June combine with “newly updated figures for March, April and May” that “show the industry’s spring performance was weaker than previously estimated.”

The article further reported that: 

June sales hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000, the second-weakest pace of the year, Census said. May's level was cut to 442,000 from the 504,000 annual pace Census reported a month ago. Instead of rising nearly 19% from April, May's sales were only up about 8%. The magnitude of the change was a single-month record for new-home sales data, according to Census records on revisions that date to 1996. Economists were bracing for lower June sales, but they anticipated an annual sales rate of 480,000, based on the median forecast in Action Economics' survey. Sales fell from May in every region, led by a 20% decline in the Northeast. The falloffs elsewhere were 1.9% in the West, 8.2% in the Midwest and 9.5% in the South.

Instead of reporting on the depressing news regarding our nation’s housing market (which is a key indicator of any country’s economic state), ABC World News and NBC Nightly News had other ideas for what to fill their precious air time with. 

Both ABC World News and NBC Nightly News reported on the release of the trailer for the upcoming risque book-turned-movie Fifty Shades of Gray with NBC producing a full, two-minute-and-11-seconds segment by Today co-host Savannah Guthrie. In addition, both ABC World News and CBS Evening News thought it would be pertinent to cover Queen Elizabeth II’s recent move to sneak into a selfie being taken by two Australian field hockey players Thursday during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

The complete transcript from the news brief on the July 24 CBS Evening News is transcribed below.

CBS Evening News

July 24, 2014

6:52 p.m. Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: Today's report on the housing market is raising concerns about the economic recovery. Sales of new homes dropped sharply last month, more than 8%, and that's the largest decline in nearly a year.

— Curtis Houck is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Curtis Houck on Twitter.