If you’re going to do a cover-up, might as well go all the way with it.
Newsbusters noticed that ABC’s nightly news program last night devoted not a moment of airtime to Robach’s bombshell admission that the network had the Epstein story three years ago and buried it. And that’s understandable — cowardly, but understandable. Newsrooms don’t typically report on their own failures, do they? What was anchor David Muir supposed to say? “And now, a shocking story of how our news team suppressed an expose of child sex trafficking by a billionaire pedophile with a host of famous friends”? That’s a story for other networks to cover, not ABC.
In the 24 hours since Project Veritas released the video, Fox News is the only cable news network to cover the story both on their website and on the air, according to a review of their footage using Grabien, a television clipping service. Each of Fox News’s programming from 5:00 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday featured coverage on the Robach story, except Special Report with Bret Baier.
Comparatively, CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, and CBS News all failed to cover the Robach story on the air. NBC News is the only one of those outlets to have a story about the incident on its website. However, it was published by the Associated Press.
A CNN spokesperson pointed the Washington Examiner to CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter’s nightly newsletter when asked about their decision not to report about the story.
Why wouldn’t other networks be interested in this story? Is it because they’ve buried their own Epstein scoops in the past? Or is it simple guild loyalty?
It’s true that Stelter mentioned the story in his newsletter — presenting the media as the victim of dastardly right-wingers:
Stelter outdid himself.
He found the real villains of ABC spiking the Epstein story – Commenters on the right. pic.twitter.com/xQdp01f0vL
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) November 6, 2019
The worst-case scenario for why ABC buried the Epstein story is that it’s a corrupt favor done by the network to maintain access to Epstein’s powerful associates — the Clintons, the Saudis, Prince Andrew. Robach herself said in the clip that the British royal family threatened the network, to the point that ABC feared it wouldn’t be permitted to interview Prince William and Kate Middleton if it went ahead with the story. The “best”-case scenario, I guess, is that ABC wanted to run the story but got cold feet at the thought of how many legal heavyweights might be retained to hassle them if they ran it. That may be what Robach meant in the clip when she claimed that executives complained to her that no one knew who Epstein was as of 2016. If ABC was going to make serious legal and political trouble for itself by running a story about rich pedophiles, the target had to be better known than him.
If that’s what happened then a child abuser who had used expensive legal firepower to avoid serious accountability in the criminal justice system also used it to avoid accountability in the court of public opinion. Had ABC aired Robach’s story, the wheels of justice might not have turned any more quickly for Epstein but at least attendance at his get-togethers with the rich and powerful would have fallen off.
Probably. Maybe? I’m afraid to peer into an alternate universe where ABC exposed Epstein years ago to see how many of his rich buddies would have shrugged at it and kept right on flying the “Lolita Express.”
Anyway. Reporter Yashar Ali reached out to ABC this morning and asked when they would finally begin addressing the substance of what Robach said on the air. Answer: Never.
2. It's rather extraordinary that the news division of one of the three broadcast networks is not going address a major controversy involving a huge story by either having someone read a statement on air but more importantly with having one of its reporters cover it as a story
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 6, 2019
4. It appears that ABC News is trying to sweep this controversy under the rug by refusing to address this matter on-air and by declining to cover it as a news story.
They have not denied the legitimacy of the video.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 6, 2019
Robach and ABC each issued statements yesterday after the Project Veritas video emerged, so if you’re one of the one percent of the one percent that reads online political media regularly you’re already aware of their comments. If you’re among the other 99.9 percent — the sort of person who won’t encounter this story at all unless it makes the evening news — well, you’ll remain blissfully ignorant.
For awhile, at least. Ronan Farrow’s probably looking around for a subject for his next book. Here it is, on a silver platter: ABC’s conspiracy of silence around Epstein.
In the meantime, I hope ABC makes it up to Robach by letting her interview Meghan Markle’s favorite butler or whatever sort of treacly garbage the network prioritizes over meaningful news. By the way, via Newsbusters, you’ll be somewhat comforted to know that NBC *did* mention the ABC scandal at one point during their programming yesterday. It was by … Mario Lopez, on “Access Hollywood.” To find out that a top American news bureau spiked an expose of a well-known pedophile, you need to watch the gossip shows.