I mentioned this in the Williams thread and have been waiting for them to post the full episode online so that I can confirm it, but they’ve only posted the individual segments for the moment. Mark Halperin insists that it’s true, though, as do several commenters in the other thread. Plus, if you go the World News home page, you’ll see that the heat wave segment is listed first, followed immediately by that little matter involving the Attorney General being cited for contempt by a House committee after he refused to provide documents about the government’s gunrunning operation.
I hate to slag a network that has the good sense to employ Tapper — and as you’ll see, his segment on it is fine (apart from Sawyer insisting that the operation was “botched”) — but I can’t understand why they wouldn’t lead with it. It’s not simple partisan bias; they did cover the story, and their segment treated it with more gravitas than Brian Williams’s intro did on NBC. It can’t be that they’re letting viewer interest guide them either: If networks were in the habit of leading with the stuff that the audience was most curious about rather than the stuff that’s most important, the Kardashians would be the lead segment every night. So what’s the explanation? CBS was lame too in not leading with F&F, but at least they replaced it with a real story, not the standard “hey, have you been outside today?” wonderment that seizes newscasters whenever the weather is unseasonable.