A new study by the Media Research Center found the Big Three television networks gave 10 times more coverage to the U.S. Olympics swimming “scandal” than to the bombshell admission the U.S. gave $400 million in cash to Iran only after the release of four American hostages, as WND reported.
Thursday’s evening news shows and Friday’s morning newscasts on CBS, ABC and NBC pounced on the report Ryan Lochte and his teammates lied about being robbed in Rio, devoting a whopping 37 minutes and 31 seconds to the story.
In comparison, the “ransom” payment to Iran garnered only a scant 3 minutes and 46 seconds.
Swimmers: 16 minutes, 19 seconds
Iran ransom: 25 seconds
Swimmers: 7 minutes, 3 seconds
Iran ransom: 2 minutes, 9 seconds
Swimmers: 14 minutes, 9 seconds
Iran ransom: 1 minute, 12 seconds
Swimmers: 37 minutes, 31 seconds
Iran ransom: 3 minutes, 46 seconds
NBC, the broadcaster of the Olympics, covered the shenanigans down in Brazil for 14 minutes and 9 seconds. But the network’s “Nightly News” and “Today” show reported on the Iran developments for a mere 1 minute and 12 seconds.
“But officials insist the United States returning that Iranian money, from a decades-old account, was conducted separately from the negotiations over the detainees and the U.S. did not pay a ransom,” reported a seemingly defensive Lester Holt.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” totally skipped the Iran story on Friday, while the network’s “World News Tonight” on Thursday devoted just 25 seconds to it.
Anchor David Muir said the administration for the first time called the cash in the prisoner exchange “leverage.”
“The cash came from Iranian money frozen by U.S. authorities after the Iranian revolution, but the administration still denies that that cash was ransom,” Muir said.
ABC took the plunge to provide the most network coverage on the Olympics brouhaha involving the reportedly drunken swimmers.
“Breaking news as we come on the air,” declared GMA co-host Robin Roberts. “Two of the U.S. swimmers at the heart of the robbery scandal arriving back home moments ago.”
And CBS provided the least amount of coverage for both stories, although the “CBS Evening News” did deliver a full report on the Iran cash handoff.
“Today, for the first time, the State Department acknowledged there was a link between a $400 million cash payment to Iran and the release of four American prisoners. Republicans call that ransom, but the administration denies it,” said anchor Scott Pelley.