U.S. employers added a whopping 164,000 jobs in April as the unemployment rate sank to 3.9 percent – but viewers who rely on ABC’s “World News Tonight” might not have noticed.
“World News Tonight” spent only 15 seconds on the major story, despite the unemployment rate dropping to its lowest level since 2000, according to the Media Research Center.
Critics of ABC’s news division often point to its programs being used as promotional vehicles for parent company Disney -- and Friday’s newscast seems to back up those claims. May 4 is considered “Star Wars Day” by fans of the Disney-owned movie franchise and “World News Tonight” dedicated six times more coverage to the holiday than the jobs report, according to the MRC.
In an example of corporate synergy at work, “World News Tonight” even interviewed a group of fans who were building a life-size Millennium Falcon cockpit.
“Anchor David Muir made sure to note that ABC’s parent company Disney started selling tickets that day for its upcoming movie, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’” MRC assistant managing editor Julia A. Seymour wrote.
Fans call May 4 “Star Wars Day” in a play on the movie's famous phrase, “May the force be with you.”
Prior to April, the unemployment rate was at 4.1 percent for six consecutive months and experts view the falling rate as a signal of an increasingly competitive job market. ABC News barely covering the report should come as no surprise, as the network has become increasingly liberal and the unemployment rate would be seen by many as a victory for President Trump. ABC News’ “The View” attacks Trump on a regular basis and co-host Joy Behar recently came under fire for mocking Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith.
National Center for Public Policy Research general counsel Justin Danhof even confronted Disney CEO Bob Iger at a shareholder meeting earlier this year over what he considered a “liberal slant” at networks controlled by Disney.
Competitors gave more airtime to the positive report than the reliably liberal ABC News. According to the MRC, CBS covered the report for nearly two minutes and brought on business analyst Jill Schlesinger to break down the data while NBC aired a story with business correspondent Jo Ling Kent that also lasted nearly two minutes.
Schlesinger even noted that the unemployment rate is “amazing” during the CBS broadcast.
Skimping on coverage of the jobs report is nothing new for ABC, which has spent the least amount of time discussing the monthly report throughout the Trump administration than CBS or NBC. According to the MRC, “WNT” has spent 5 minutes and 3 seconds on the report since Jan. 2017 while NBC’s “Nightly News” has spent 11 minutes and 42 seconds and CBS’ “Evening News” has spent 15 minutes and 56 seconds over the same time period.
ABC News did not respond to requests for comment.
Fox Business’ Leia Klingel contributed to this report.