ABC, CBS Trumpet Mrs. Obama's 'Ping-Pong Diplomacy' in China; Omit Press Shutout

March 21, 2014 | 9:57 PM EDT

On 21 March 2014, CBS Evening News and ABC's World News both glowingly harkened back to a prominent past example of bilateral exchange between the U.S. and China, as they reported First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to the East Asian country. But they continued their blackout on covering the White House's ban of journalists accompanying Mrs. Obama. CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted the First Lady's "little bit of ping-pong diplomacy" during a news brief.

The ABC evening newscast surpassed their competitor, however, with David Muir touting "the images making headlines out of China... the Chinese president unexpectedly coming out to meet her – the whole thing reminiscent of those iconic shots of President Nixon in his groundbreaking trip to China." Jonathan Karl also raised the air of "ping-pong diplomacy," but noted the current First Lady's departure from her predecessors in her approach to the communist regime:

KARL (on-camera): Unlike Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, who both pressed human rights on their trips to China, the White House says that Mrs. Obama will shy away from issues that may be controversial with her Chinese hosts.