The Big Three networks certainly have their priorities straight. ABC,
CBS, and NBC's morning shows on Wednesday dedicated more time to
entertainment news than the results of the Wisconsin recall election. On
CBS This Morning, Disney's new ban on junk food ads from its
kids programming received a minute and a half more than the political
story. The same gap occurred on ABC's Good Morning America, but instead of junk food, the Miss USA pageant got the extra time.
NBC's Today, however, one-upped its competitors, as they
devoted over six minutes to former Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus
getting engaged, while Republican Governor Scott Walker's victory
received under four and a half minutes. Today also spent over five
minutes on the Miss USA story.
All three networks led their morning newscasts with the Wisconsin election results. CBS This Morning spent the most time covering the story, at five minutes, 45 seconds.
The relatively new program aired three full reports back-to-back from
correspondents Dean Reynolds, Bill Plante, and Jan Crawford on the
election at the top of the 7 am Eastern hour. However, an hour later, at
the beginning of the 8 am hour, they led with a report from Jim Axelrod
on the Disney junk food ban, followed by a panel discussion on the
issue, which together, lasted seven minutes and 14 seconds.
Good Morning America devoted the least amount of time to Governor Walker's recall, with just over three and a half minutes.
ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl reported on the story six minutes
into the 7 am Eastern hour, and news anchor Josh Elliot gave a brief an
hour later at the top of the 8 am hour. But in between, during the 7:30
half hour, the morning show spent almost five minutes on the court
battle between actors Kevin Costner and Stephen Baldwin.
Twelve minutes after Elliot's news brief, correspondent Paula Faris
gave a report on an accusation from a contestant that Miss USA officials
fixed the annual beauty pageant. Anchor George Stephanopoulos then
interviewed Donald Trump, who owns the Miss USA franchise. Overall, Good
Morning America devoted just over five minutes to the controversy, for a
total of about 10 minutes on the celebrity stories.
NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander gave the sole report on the
Wisconsin election just after the top of the 7 am Eastern hour of the Today show. News anchor Natalie Morales also gave two news briefs on Walker's victory during the four-hour broadcast, for a total of four minutes and 27 seconds of coverage. But like ABC, they spent over five minutes on the Miss USA story, which also included an interview of Trump.
Cyrus's engagement to actor Liam Hemsworth, however, was apparently
bigger than either Wisconsin or Miss USA. Morales gave a report on the
story during the 7:30 am Eastern half hour. Anchor Ann Curry then
brought on Kate Coyne of People magazine to discuss the entertainment
news. Together, the two segments lasted six minutes and 20 seconds, more than two minutes longer than all of the Wisconsin coverage.
— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.