Baby formula crisis: ABC, CBS, NBC treating Biden ‘like a spectator’, says media watchdog

Baby formula crisis: ABC, CBS, NBC treating Biden ‘like a spectator’, says media watchdog

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The Big Three networks have provided extensive coverage of the infant formula crisis in their evening news broadcasts, but they are reluctant to blame President Biden, according to a new study.

The Conservative Media Research Center found that 54 evenings on ABC’s “World News Tonight,” “CBS Evening News,” and “NBC Nightly News” between May 9 and this week over a lack of formula sent parents into panic. Of the U.S. newscast stories, just 10 of them included “guilty or mention of blame for the Biden administration,” a rate of 19 percent.

ABC (22 Stories on the Baby Formula Crisis), CBS (17) and NBC (15) all considered Newsbusters’ research director Scott Whitlock sufficient coverage of the alarming story, but he told Fox News Digital that his analysis found that the networks were treating. Biden kind of a “bystander”.

A shortage of baby formula is seen on empty shelves at a CVS store in San Antonio, Texas.
(Getty Images | Reuters/Kaylie Greenlee Beale)

“They treat him like a spectator. We looked at gas prices this spring and in most of the stories we got there was really no sign of any blame for Joe Biden,” he said. “It was almost all Russia. And obviously Russia was a factor, but gas prices have been going up for a while. So we wanted to see how they were covering up this crisis.”

Commerce Secretary Raimondo puts pressure on Biden who looks ‘flat-footed’ on inflation, lack of baby formula

As an example, Whitlock pointed to the media’s intensely negative coverage of migrant children detained under the Trump administration, at one point illustrating his talk with photographs of youth in cages from the Obama years.

“And we know from Republican presidents, Donald Trump, and going back before him, that any time this type of thing happens, Republican presidents get a ton of blame whether they deserve it or not,” Whitlock said.

Some of the negative coverage of Biden in the segment included ABC’s David Muir asking on June 1 if he “should know about this too soon” and ABC’s Mary Bruce adding the White House’s lack of formula was “really convincing.” fought for”.

While the network made little mention of it, Biden was criticized elsewhere as looking flat on the issue, as the Food and Drug Administration came under fire for not alerting Americans to pending shortages and coming up with a plan. came in.

Rows of baby formula at a Costco in Tijuana, Mexico.  (Fox News Digital / John Michael Rasch)

Rows of baby formula at a Costco in Tijuana, Mexico. (Fox News Digital / John Michael Rasch)

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While the Big Three evening newscasts no longer dominate television alone as they did a generation ago, they still reliably draw a combined 15–20 million viewers a night, which still makes them the subject of interest in the MRC. .

“People are still watching them. People are still getting news from them. So I think it’s still important to pay attention to them,” Whitlock said. “They’re still really affecting a lot of people’s lives if you look at the millions of viewers they’re getting. And so it’s important to hold them accountable and say what you’re covering or not and How are you covering this up with the President and letting him get away with things?”

supply chain issues The COVID-19 pandemic led to limited availability of many products, including baby formula. The problem got worse when Abbott Laboratories, a top infant formula provider, recalled some products and closed a plant after an FDA investigation. Earlier this year, millions of grieving parents found themselves struggling to find formula for their babies, and empty shelves became another political sore spot for the Biden White House.

Moms ‘stressed right now’ because of lack of formula: ‘It’s so scary’

Mothers use formula instead of breast milk for their babies for a number of reasons, such as difficulty in breastfeeding or breastfeeding, lack of time to breastfeed with busy work schedules, and drug interactions, etc. .

CNN's Jake Tapper pressured Gina Raimondo about President Biden's appearance earlier this month

CNN’s Jake Tapper earlier this month pressured Gina Raimondo to make President Biden appear “flat-footed” over inflation and a lack of baby formula.
(Photo by Andrew Harnick – Poole/Getty Images)

Biden said earlier this month that he was unaware of a shortage of baby formula until April, with company executives saying they were aware of a “general impact” on US supplies immediately following the February shutdown of Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan production plant. Will have an effect.

As the crisis escalated, Biden took action, invoking the Defense Production Act to produce more formula domestically, drafting a consent decree with the FDA to reopen the Abbott Nutrition facility, and overseas. FDA issued guidance for importing millions of bottles of formula from ,

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Fox News’ Julia Musto, Shiv Sudhakar and Megan Meyers contributed to this report.

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