Nightline, the show born out of a crisis in the Middle East, has devolved into a superficial, tabloid-heavy program that has hardly bothered with the growing crisis in Syria and Barack Obama's handling of it. Since August 21, the program has allowed a mere four segments (18 minutes and eight seconds).
In contrast, Nightline has devoted over 24 minutes to light-weight topics such as the Amish Mafia TV show, a full report on the best summer songs of all time. Other stories include a look at "color runs" (a "fun" race in which joggers have paint thrown at them.) Another segment profiled James Dyson, the man who made vacuum cleaners "sexy."
The earliest Syria report, on August 21, 2013, featured a seven minute and 12 second segment on the chemical weapons attack. Co-host Dan Abrams intoned, "Today could go down in history as the day that changed everything in a war that's already killed over a 100,000 people."
Yet, it wasn't until August 27 that the program returned to the supposedly historic story. Bill Weir wondered, "Show of hands, who's up for another American war in the Middle East? Your probable revulsion to that very thought is a big reason the White House has no easy answers when it comes to Syria tonight."
That story only lasted for two minutes and 36 seconds. On August 29, Nightline featured to the topic for a mere 30 seconds. It wasn't until a seven minute and 50 second story on August 30 that the show's hosts again devoted serious time to the chemical weapon attack and whether the United States Congress would okay Obama's plan to bomb Syria.
In contrast, Bill Weir hyped sexy summer songs on August 31:
BILL WEIR: All right, time to push some emotional buttons now. You remember the first time you heard "Satisfaction" by the Stones, or "Every Breath You Take,""by the Police, how about "When Doves Cry," "Baby Got Back," or the "Macarena"? Yes, based on your age and taste, just the opening notes of any one of those is bound to bring a flood of rum soaked, sunscreen lather and mosquito bitten memories, for these are summer songs. And as summer of '13 winds down, we set out to find what makes the quintessential top down, school's out, memory maker and learn your favorite of all time.
That story lasted six minutes and 18 seconds. Four minutes and 57 seconds were given to the pressing subject of "color runs" on August 29. Over five minutes and 51 seconds, Rebecca Jarvis breathlessly hyped James Dyson and his "reputation for making the vacuum cleaner sexy."
Finally, the Amish Mafia were touted for a whopping seven minutes and 16 seconds.
Nightline was created in 1979 during the Iranian hostage crisis. Yet, with another Democratic President in the White House, the modern version of this program is more interested in celebrity fluff.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.