ABC’s evening news show World News Tonight failed to cover The New York Times’ report that President Donald Trump suggested deterring migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border by building a trench with snakes and alligators, making the border wall electrified, or shooting migrants in the legs.
On October 1, the Times reported that Trump “had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate.” He also “wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh.” And according to the Times, “after publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.” On October 3, The Washington Post backed up the Times’ reporting, independently confirming that Trump did make those remarks.
Media Matters looked at evening news shows after September 30 and found that NBC’s Nightly News and CBS Evening News both covered the story with a single report each on October 2. ABC World News Tonight did not cover the story or Trump’s comments even though the administration has a history of abusing immigrants and the president has previously said that the U.S. military will treat any rocks being thrown by migrants as firearms.
Methodology: Media Matters searched transcripts in the Snapstream video database for “Trump” within close proximity to any of the following terms: “alligator,” “snake,” “moat,” “spike,” “wall,” “shot,” or variations of “shoot” on NBC’s Nightly News, CBS’ CBS Evening News, and ABC’s World News Tonight after September 30.