But the networks were all more aggressive when the 2,000 mark arrived in Iraq on October 25, 2005. The Big Three networks devoted 14 morning and evening news stories to the death toll from October 24 through the end of October, and another 24 anchor briefs or mentions. They used the number to spell “disaster for this White House.”
CBS offered five reports and ten additional briefs or mentions of the 2,000 figure. David Martin filed a sad story on the 2,000 mark in both wars, the only sign of consistency among the networks. (The 2012 Martin report aired in the last five minutes of the program and never included the word "Obama.") As Brent Baker reported in 2005:
An overwhelming 79 percent of Iraqis, who risked their lives just over a week ago to cast their ballot, voted in favor of the nation's new constitution, but you'd have missed it if you sneezed during Tuesday's CBS Evening News or ABC's World News Tonight.
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer delivered only this single sentence -- "Iraq's government announced today that voters did approve the country's new constitution in this month's referendum" -- before moving on to a full story about the 2,000th death of U.S. servicemen in Iraq, a piece he could not resist introducing without adding this snide aside: "More than 90 percent of the 2,000 who died in the war have died since the President declared major combat was at an end in May 2003."
Days later, in a special report on Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, CBS reporter Bill Plante exemplified the hell-for-Bush tone that was standard operating procedure:
They've been working on this, trying to figure out how to get past the events of the last couple of months which have been really a disaster for this White House. The Hurricane Katrina failure, the failure of the Miers nomination, the landmark of the 2,000th US casualty in Iraq. All of these things have taken a toll, weighted this place down. There's a sense that nothing is happening, that the president is going nowhere.
ABC offered nothing to darken Obama’s day, but reported five stories and eight other briefs or mentions on the 2,000 count in Iraq.