ABC Hypes Biden’s ‘Tough New Sanctions’, Ignores GOP Criticism

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With Russia on the brink of a full-blown war, and the Biden administration’s newly imposed sanctions causing Republicans in Congress to claim they’re too little too late, ABC World News Tonight quickly sought to hype the Biden administration’s sanctions and completely ignore any Republicans who beg to differ. 

World News Tonight anchor David Muir opened the Tuesday evening show announcing that “24 hours after Putin said he was recognizing two Russian-backed regions of Ukraine as independent” President Joe Biden called Putin’s actions “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.” 

Muir then hyped Biden “announcing severe sanctions on Russian banks and wealthy Russians” Muir repeated the President’s claims that they’re “just the beginning, if Putin takes another step, that there could be more.” 

In his report for Muir, senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell also boasted about the new sanctions claiming they are “significant new sanctions” that are placed against “Russian banks, business elites, and their families.” 

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Later in the segment, Muir returned and ended by repeating that the Biden administration is  “targeting Russian banks and Russian oligarchs, wealthy Russians in these sanctions.” Ending his report proclaiming “President Biden today said that he could target Putin himself, he has said that in recent weeks, that there could be stricter sanctions, but so far, we know that has not happened.” 

Nowhere in this report did ABC give voice to Republican concerns that the Biden administration isn’t acting tough enough towards Russia. 

Thankfully, both CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News did give airtime to both sides. 

Over in CBS, senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang reported that “some Republicans called for tougher actions now” before playing a soundbite of South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham:  

The Biden administration has misjudged Putin about as badly as anyone since the world misjudged Hitler. I want a sanctions regime from hell next week.

Over on NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander mentioned that “critics say the President’s moves don’t go far enough.” Alexander then read from a tweet by Senator Graham which said “President Biden is not seizing the moment, the sanctions outlined are woefully inadequate to deter Putin’s efforts to redraw the European map and dismember a neighboring democracy.” 

Alexander also aired a soundbite of former President Donald Trump from an interview with Rush Limbaugh’s successors Clay Travis & Buck Sexton: 

I went in yesterday, and there was a television screen. And I said this is genius, Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. This never would have happened with us. Had I been in office, not even thinkable.

This segment from ABC omitting any Republican criticism of Joe Biden was brought to you by Liberty Mutual. Their information is linked. 

To read the relevant transcript of each segment click “expand”:  

ABC World News Tonight 
2/22/2022
6:32:23 PM EST

DAVID MUIR: And we begin tonight with these major developments involving Russia and Vladimir Putin’s moves involving Ukraine. 24 hours after Putin said he was recognizing two Russian-backed regions of Ukraine as independent, tonight, President Biden before the American people calling it the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The President saying Putin is planning to essentially carve out a big chunk of Ukraine. President Biden now announcing severe sanctions on Russian banks and wealthy Russians, warning it’s just the beginning, if Putin takes another step, that there could be more. America’s allies tonight united,  acting quickly. The EU imposing sanctions of its own. And late today, we learned Secretary of State Antony Blinken has now canceled that meeting planned with the Russian Foreign Minister that had been set for this Thursday. That wasn’t a surprise, but one more sign tonight reflecting the seriousness of this moment. President Biden speaking to the nation late today, calling Russia’s actions a flagrant violation of international law, saying “Who in the lord’s name but does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries?” A unanimous vote for sanctions from all 27 countries of the European Union. Germany delivering one of the sharpest blows, halting certification of that gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, from Russia to Germany. President Biden saying this unity is something Putin hasn’t been counting on. 

(…)

IAN PANNELL: Tonight, President Biden condemning Vladimir Putin after the Russian leader recognized two Russian-backed separatist states in Eastern Ukraine and ordered his forces to move in.

(…)

PANNELL: Biden then imposing significant new sanctions against Russian banks, business elites and their families. 

(…)

MUIR: President Biden imposing those first sanctions last night after Putin announced he was recognizing those two separatist regions in Ukraine as independent. And then today, tough new sanctions. The President declaring Putin has now begun an invasion of Ukraine, targeting Russian banks and Russian oligarchs, wealthy Russians in these sanctions. And President Biden today said that he could target Putin himself, he has said that in recent weeks, that there could be stricter sanctions, but so far, we know that has not happened.

CBS Evening News 
2/22/2022
6:35:11 PM EST

WEIJIA JIANG: At home, some Republicans called for tougher actions now. 

LINDSEY GRAHAM: The Biden administration has misjudged Putin about as badly as anyone since the world misjudged Hitler. I want a sanctions regime from hell next week.

NBC Nightly News
2/22/2022
7:03:54 PM EST

PETER ALEXANDER: But critics say the President’s moves don’t go far enough. Republican Lindsey Graham tweeting President Biden is not seizing the moment, the sanctions outlined are woefully inadequate to deter Putin’s efforts to redraw the European map and dismember a neighboring democracy. Former President Trump also blasting President Biden while praising Putin’s justification for his move.

FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I went in yesterday, and there was a television screen. And I said this is genius, Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. This never would have happened with us. Had I been in office, not even thinkable.

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