Bipartisan Criminal Justice Bill Becoming Law


On Friday, some Americans may have missed out on the news that President Donald Trump signed into the law the bipartisan, landmark First Step Act. If you were enjoying ABC’s World News Tonight, you might have been one such individual as the broadcast ignored this example of a favorable legislative breakthrough, instead choosing to insinuate Rush Limbaugh is to blame for an impending federal government shutdown.

Of the “big 3” network night newscasts (ABC, CBS, and NBC), ABC was the greatest in continuing to use hyperbolic language about the shutdown. Weekend anchor Tom Llamas declared in a tease: “Tonight, chaos in the Capitol. The government shutdown hours away. President Trump digging in on his demands to fund the border wall. Can Republicans and Democrats strike a deal to keep the federal government running?”

Llamas reiterated the word “chaos” after the teases, including: “Without an offer, parts of the federal government shut down at midnight and hundreds of countless employees head into the vacations, worried about their paychecks.”

Senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce went to blaming Limbaugh and Ann Coulter for part way through her report while hyping a quote by outbound Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) that appeared to display smugness on how free speech works.

Speaking of CBS, the broadcast gave two minutes and 15 seconds to the First Step Act. Glor kept in mind that “President Trump today signed a sweeping criminal justice overhaul which had uncommon bipartisan support” and “reduced some drug sentences and expands rehabilitation programs for prisoners.”

Senior national reporter Jim Axelrod followed with different profiles of the Exodus Transitional Community in New York City that “aids launch post-prison lives with job searches and therapy” and previous GOP assistant Kevin Ring.

Axelrod included that there will be “sweeping change in how we punish thousands of well-behaved prisoners getting early releases, others seeing their sentences minimized, and drug wrongdoers getting treatment.”

He concluded that while it “covers only federal detainees, approximately nine percent of the country’s inmates,” “large-scale reform will be a matter of modification at the state and local level.” Glor noted that it’s “such a fascinating story” since “it makes you believe” about “2nd opportunities.”

NBC offered it one minute and 29 seconds with the section beginning with Holt calling it “a historical criminal justice reform bill” that was “an unusual bipartisan effort that will impact countless non-violent offenders in jails.”

Correspondent Ron Allen profiled prisoner Robert Shipp and efforts by sibling Veda Ajamu to get him given that he was given a sentence of life without parole “after a drug conviction.”

“The law uses only to federal prisoners, just 10 percent of the prison population. One reason they call it the First Step Act. For some families, a hard-fought 2nd opportunity,” Allen concluded.

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