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NBC, ABC Ignore Supreme Court Ruling Giving EPA Broad Power to Regulate Air Pollution

On Tuesday April 29, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate air pollution from power plants that cross state lines yet NBC and ABC failed to cover the story.

Despite the unprecedented ruling by the court, only CBS bothered to cover it, with Scott Pelley giving it a mere 22 seconds on the CBS Evening News on Tuesday night. Unlike the EPA ruling, all three networks provided extensive coverage of last week’s Supreme Court ruling that voters could decide whether or not they want to limit the use affirmative action in their respective state.

In total, ABC, CBS and NBC provided more than 11 minutes of coverage for the affirmative action decision including four full reports across six broadcasts. NBC and CBS both featured the same teenage activist supporting affirmative action without mentioning that he was an activist. In fact CBS even highlighted Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s “impassioned dissent” and ABC and NBC featured the same activist supporting affirmative action.

While CBS chose to highlight the dissent from a liberal justice it ignored Justice Antonin Scalia’s blistering criticism of the EPA ruling in which he said “Too many important decisions of the Federal Government are made nowadays by unelected agency officials exercising broad lawmaking authority, rather than by the people's representatives in Congress.

While Pelley was the sole network anchor to mention the EPA ruling, unlike Fox News’ Special Report, he failed to mention that the regulation is projected to cost power plant operators $800 million annually.

Here’s how Pelley described the EPA ruling:  

Today the Supreme Court handed down a major ruling in an environmental case. In a 6-2 decision, the justices upheld EPA  rules that limit power plant pollution that blows downwind into neighboring states. Polluting states say the rules are an unfair economic burden but the EPA says they are necessary to protect health.

— Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Jeffrey Meyer on Twitter.