CBS, NBC link Mother-Of-All-Bombs to North Korea, ABC passes

A week after President Donald Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria, he authorized his military to drop the “Mother of All Bombs” on an ISIS stronghold in Afghanistan.

But what does this have to do with North Korea?

NBC and CBS used the president’s show of force to draw a connection to North Korea’s recent aggression, but ABC didn’t cover the story that night.

“Ground zero was Afghanistan, the Pentagon says the target was ISIS, but the impact could not have been lost on the young dictator of North Korea,” CBS’s Scott Pelley said on April 13.

CBS Graphic

NBC’s Lester Holt said, “A weapon designed as much for its psychological impact as its explosive punch could be sending a broader message as the U.S. keeps an eye on North Korea.”

NBC reported that the White House might consider a preemptive strike on North Korea if the nation moves forward with an “imminent” underground nuclear test. This latest test would coincide with the 105th anniversary of the nation’s founding.

NBC Graphic

President Trump didn’t personally authorize the Afghan bombing and later told reporters he wasn’t sure the bombing sent a message at all.

“I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not — North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of,” he said.

CBS correspondent Ben Tracy reported from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, but focused more on the country’s celebration and defiance of western sanctions than the Trump administration’s response to a nuclear test.

Instead, ABC dove straight into the Afghanistan bombing, providing an in-depth look into the mission and the bomb’s technology and omitted any reference to North Korea.

ABC Graphic

With military might making headlines, did ABC miss the Korean story? So far North Korea has conducted no tests. Did NBC and CBS make a mistake linking North Korea to Trump’s ISIS bombing?

Ken Auletta, the author of Annals of Communication and writer for The New Yorker, said CBS and NBC’s use of North Korea is solely speculative.

“I thought this assertion was scantily reported and a bit sensationalized. A few anonymous sources were cited, none with major standing,” Auletta said. “There is no correct factual response here. Based on his previous rhetoric, we know [Trump] likes to send messages.”

Auletta didn’t know why ABC didn’t report the Korea story and took issue with the networks leading with the bombing.

While the North Korean connection remains speculative, it’s possible the networks already had the North Korean stories and made the connection for the flow of the broadcast.

Alex Theriot

Alex Theriot is a senior multi-platform journalism major, minoring in global terrorism studies. Previously, Alex served as staff writer, style editor and webmaster for Unwind Magazine, the campus arts and entertainment publication. Alex has held communications internships at the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Department of Homeland Security. She completed her journalism internship at CNN. Upon graduation, Alex hopes to attend graduate school in the Washington, D.C. area, continuing to pursue a career in national security.

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