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GMA, Today Yawn at Christian Escaping Sudan, Death Sentence for Her Christian Faith

On Friday, both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today ignored the news that Meriam Ibrahaim, a Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for converting from Islam to Christianity and marrying a Christian man, fled Sudan with an Italian diplomat on an Italian jet to Rome Thursday and received a blessing from Pope Francis in a private meeting at the Vatican.

Meanwhile, CBS This Morning did cover the story and provided a 29 second news brief at the conclusion of the 7:00 a.m. half hour. Co-host Norah O’Donnell reported that: â€śAnd an extraordinary turn of events for a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death in Sudan. Well, she is now free and this morning, she's on her way to the United States after meeting with the pope. Meriam Ibrahim flew to Rome Thursday after being allowed to leave Sudan. She and her family had a private moment with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Ibrahim faced execution in Sudan for marrying a Christian. The decision was overturned last month. Ibrahim has in-laws in New Hampshire.” [MP3 audio here]

What CBS This Morning did not mention was how Ibrahim’s conversion from Islam was the basis of what Sudan charged her with as she was not complying with Sharia law. Even though she was raised by a Christian mother, her father was Muslim and therefore the form of Islamic law, which is practiced in Sudan, prohibited individuals from abandoning their father’s faith. Ibrahim married a Christian man named Daniel Wani from New Hampshire in 2011 and the couple have two children (one of which was born while she was imprisoned).

The coverage from CBS This Morning comes one day after all three major broadcast news networks refused to cover Ibrahim’s release on their Thursday evening newscasts. 

With that in mind, both ABC and NBC have inexcusably continued to not cover the plight of Ibrahim. When it was reported in June that her death sentence was overturned and she was released from prison, CBS This Morning was the only network to cover it, but only had a news brief on the matter during the 7:30 a.m. half hour on June 24. 

In addition, when Ibrahim was sentenced to death in May, CBS This Morning was the sole broadcast network newscast to cover the sentence with a full report from CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan.

ABC News and NBC News found space to publish stories on both their websites Thursday about Ibrahim, but did not have time to even acknowledge the news on air. Instead, Good Morning America dedicated time to a news brief on the invention of “device that fills 100 water balloons in one minute” while the hosts of Today discussed and joked about the do’s and don’ts for men over the age of 50.

The complete transcript from the segment on CBS This Morning on July 25 can be found below.

CBS This Morning

July 25, 2014

7:39 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Freedom For Faith; Christian Mother Meets Pope After Escaping Sudan]

NORAH O’DONNELL: And an extraordinary turn of events for a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death in Sudan. Well, she is now free and this morning, she's on her way to the United States after meeting with the pope. Meriam Ibrahim flew to Rome Thursday after being allowed to leave Sudan. She and her family had a private moment with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Ibrahim faced execution in Sudan for marrying a Christian. The decision was overturned last month. Ibrahim has in-laws in New Hampshire. 

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