ABC, NBC, CBS give Biden a pass on border fentanyl crisis, study shows

Morning and evening newscasts have only spent 30 seconds tying Biden to the fentanyl crisis in 2022

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EXCLUSIVE -- ABC, NBC, and CBS have given President Biden a pass when covering the ongoing fentanyl crisis, according to a new study from the Media Research Center. 

Scott Whitlock analyzed the broadcast network morning and evening newscasts from January 1 through September 15 and found that the fentanyl crisis was covered for nearly 40 combined minutes, but only 30 seconds were devoted to Biden or his role.

"In eight and a half months of fentanyl stories, ABC, CBS and NBC allowed just two mentions — totaling 30 seconds — of the man in charge of the immigration policy leading to this drug crisis," Whitlock wrote. 

ABC, NBC and CBS have given President Biden a pass when covering the ongoing fentanyl crisis, according to a new study from the Media Research Center.

ABC, NBC and CBS have given President Biden a pass when covering the ongoing fentanyl crisis, according to a new study from the Media Research Center. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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Since the beginning of the year, Whitlock found that CBS covered the crisis for over 29 minutes – a significant advantage over NBC and ABC. 

"NBC came in a distant second at six minutes and 54 seconds and ABC managed a scant two minutes and 57 seconds," Whitlock wrote. 

A bag containing approximately 1 17,500 fentanyl pills. 

A bag containing approximately 1 17,500 fentanyl pills.  (Phoenix PD)

The MRC noted that "much like other crises" during the Biden administration, such as the border, gas prices and the baby formula shortage, ABC, CBS and NBC all treated the president "as a bystander to these severe problems" plaguing America. 

Whitlock found a series of examples, such as the May 10 "NBC Nightly News" segment that failed to mention Biden. 

"Today is the first-ever national Fentanyl Awareness Day. It’s an effort by the DEA to spread the word about the synthetic opioid that now accounts for nearly two-thirds of all overdose deaths in the U.S.," NBC’s Lester Holt said without acknowledging Biden. 

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Another example came on May 11 when "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O’Donnell declined to mention Biden. 

"Today, the CDC shared a truly staggering statistic on drug overdoses.... Overdoses involved fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, topped 71,000, accounting for about two-thirds of all fatal overdoses in 2021," O’Donnell said.

Whitlock found that "even when the focus of the story was fentanyl and the border, Biden or the administration didn’t come up" despite the two issues occurring during his presidency. 

The 30 seconds when Biden was actually mentioned during fentanyl coverage mostly came on May 10 when O’Donnell interviewed Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Anne Milgram, according to Whitlock. 

Fentanyl pills intercepted at mailing facilities in Staten Island.

Fentanyl pills intercepted at mailing facilities in Staten Island. (DEA)

"The other example came with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it three second reference on the June 14 ‘Today,’" Whitlock wrote. 

Fentanyl has become the largest driver of the U.S. opioid epidemic in recent years, with seizures of the drug spiking nearly 200% at the southern border in July, the highest amount seized in at least four fiscal years.

Congressional candidate Cassy Garcia, R-Texas, running in Texas' 28th District against Rep. Henry Cuellar D-Texas, is the wife of a Border Patrol agent, and she said she wants voters to do what the media won’t and hold Democrats accountable. 

"The record number of illegal crossings are not just statistics for me. It’s hurting communities like mine and creating a humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, too many in the mainstream media would rather ignore the role that President Biden’s policies have played in fueling this crisis and scandal-ridden Henry Cuellar’s failure to address it," Garcia told Fox News Digital. 

"We need a strong and secure border, and voters will hold them accountable," she said. "Even if the media won’t." 

Conservative radio host Jason Rantz believes Biden’s name should be synonymous with the fentanyl crisis.

"The Biden administration -- and Democrats as a whole -- play a huge role on our fentanyl crisis. It’s disgraceful that the media gives them a pass," Rantz told Fox News Digital. 

"Biden’s open border allows fentanyl to flood into this country. Drug cartels have used the open border to poison Americans and get them hooked. Concurrently, you have Democrats who have effectively legalized drugs in democrat-run cities, counties, and states," Rantz continued. "Since we stopped charging for personal possession, cops can’t lean on addicts to leverage jail time for information on who is their dealer. It’s made drug dealers much more difficult to catch."

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Fentanyl accounted for nearly 75% of U.S. drug overdose fatalities in 2021, with the drug being linked to around 80,000 overdose deaths last year.

"You might think journalists would want to investigate what’s causing this exploding fentanyl crisis and the death it is inflicting across the country. But not the reporters at ABC, CBS and NBC. In order to protect Joe Biden, they won’t point fingers," Whitlock wrote. "After all, that might harm Democratic chances in the midterm elections."

Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed to this report.