The three broadcast television networks that are criticizing Biden for the Afghanistan withdrawal gave Afghanistan 5 minutes of coverage last year.
ABC, CBS, and NBC Have Been Ignoring Afghanistan For Years
Out of a combined 14,000-plus minutes of the national evening news broadcast on CBS, ABC, and NBC last year, a grand total of five minutes were devoted to Afghanistan, according to Andrew Tyndall, editor of the authoritative Tyndall Report, which has monitored and coded the networks’ nightly news each weekday since 1988.
Those five minutes, which covered the February 2020 Doha agreement between the United States and the Taliban, marked a 19-year low for Afghanistan coverage on the three networks’ newscasts. They compared to a high of 940 minutes the networks devoted to Afghanistan in 2001, all of it following 9/11 and the subsequent U.S. intervention, as shown below.
If Afghanistan Was Such An Important Issue, Why Did The Networks Ignore It?
The reason why the media criticism of President Biden from DC elites rings so hypocritical and hollow is that the television broadcast media in the United States has ignored the issue for years.
They didn’t bother to report on Trump cutting down US troop levels while releasing thousands of Taliban fighters. They gave five minutes of combined coverage to Trump’s disaster of a deal that boxed Biden in on the US withdrawal.
The broadcast networks didn’t care about Afghanistan, but now they want you to believe that the withdrawal is a defining issue.
Most Americans Don’t Trust The Corporate Media Because Of This Sort Of Behavior.
The reality is that the Afghanistan withdrawal is drawing so much attention because it is August, which is the slowest non-holiday news time of the year. The media was going to pounce all over anything and beat it into the ground because they have a 24-hour news cycle that has to be filled with something besides Republicans refusing to get vaccinated and killing themselves with coronavirus.
Corporate news is an entertainment property that is expected to drive profits. Covering foreign wars is expensive, so once the initial interest has died down, the coverage fades away.
The corporate media didn’t care about the war in Afghanistan for decades, but they are trying to whip anger at the President for an issue that they have largely ignored.
No one should be fooled by their sudden interest in Afghanistan. The main drivers of corporate media coverage remain content and cash.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association