Kyle Drennen is a Media Research Center news analyst and serves as a contributing writer to NewsBusters. He joined the MRC in 2007 after graduating from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science.

Latest from Kyle Drennen
December 7, 2010, 11:55 AM EST

Even with Monday’s deal between President Obama and top Republicans, no American’s income tax rates will actually decline on January 1 (although, if the deal passes, workers will notice a modest reduction in their payroll taxes in 2011). Yet throughout this debate, the broadcast networks have insisted on framing the debate as about “tax cuts” and “tax breaks,” not about forestalling a tax increase that could jeopardize the weak recovery.

MRC analysts reviewed all 23 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about the tax debate from the start of the lame-duck session of Congress on November 15 through December 5, just before the GOP and Obama struck their deal.

Network reporters used the phrase “tax cut” a total of 71 times to characterize the issue at hand. CBS’s Nancy Cordes, for example, talked about “the battle over the Bush tax cuts” on the November 15 Evening News. Two nights later, NBC’s Chuck Todd related a new poll showing how “49 percent say don’t give the wealthy these tax cuts” — as if the “the wealthy” would be getting some new gift from the government.

December 6, 2010, 4:10 PM EST

During Tuesday's 1PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Andrea Mitchell highlighted a new poll from the left-wing pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood that claimed that voters do not trust Sarah Palin on so-called "women's health issues": "A new poll suggests that she may have a tough time getting voters to trust her on at least one front....54% of registered voters do not trust Palin on those issues."

Later in the same segment, deciding to get in a few more shots at Palin, Mitchell claimed that the former Alaska governor's new book, 'America by Heart,' had not appeared on the New York Times best seller list: "All of a sudden, Sarah Palin, with a new book, is not on the list....unless there was something wrong with my edition of The New York Times, she's not on it, with a book that's just come out." Well, apparently there was something wrong with the Times' Sunday December 5 best seller list, because its December 12 list had Palin's book debuting at number two behind George W. Bush's 'Decision Points.'

December 3, 2010, 5:00 PM EST

On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed a potential deal between the Obama administration and House Republicans on maintaining current tax rates, declaring: "The Democrats are – their noses are out of joint about this." Political analyst John Dickerson agreed: "Very much so, because they want the President to stand up and fight."

Dickerson went on to detail liberal efforts to put pressure on Obama: "There are ads that are going to be running this weekend saying, 'Don't Cave, Mr. President.' They want Barack Obama to make a stand and say Republicans want tax cuts for the wealthy...and Democrats want tax cuts for the middle-class." He added: "But the President is making a deal and it doesn't look like it's going the way the liberals want and they are very angry."

December 3, 2010, 11:58 AM EST

On Friday, the CBS Early Show failed to make any mention of New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel being censured by the House of Representatives on Thursday for 11 ethics violations. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today did cover the historic punishment, but adopted a very sympathetic tone toward Rangel.

In a slightly extended news brief on Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos described the censure as "an unusual moment," seeming to lament that Rangel "had to accept the punishment." Correspondent Jonathan Karl remarked that Rangel "was defiant right to the end" and "told reporters this was a very political vote." Stephanopoulos concluded the report by praising such bitterness: "That's right. He fought it. He tried to get an alternative passed. But in the end, handled that apology with real grace."

December 2, 2010, 6:15 PM EST

In an article on CBSNews.com's Political Hotsheet blog, Lauren Seifert described a Thursday interview with political consultant Fred Karger who claims to be considering a run for the Republican nomination for president in 2012: "Karger insists he has strong Republican credentials....What's interesting is that this longtime Republican is openly gay and may also run for president in 2012."

Karger announced his possible White House run while talking to CBS chief political consultant Marc Armbinder on for the CBSNews.com webcast 'Washington Unplugged.' Armbinder is also a writer for the liberal magazine 'The Atlantic.' Karger explained his political involvement over the years: "I've worked for President Reagan as a senior campaign consultant in 1980 and 1984. I've supported President George H. W. Bush. I've worked on nine presidential campaigns and this would be my tenth." Beyond that, it wasn't clear why he would be serious contender or why CBS would treat him as such.

December 2, 2010, 4:30 PM EST

In a Wednesday interview on BBC World News America, liberal FCC Commissioner Michael Copps told correspondent Katty Kay: "I think American media has a bad case of substance abuse right now....we are going to be pretty close to denying our citizens the essential news and information that they need to have in order to make intelligent decisions about the future direction of their country."

As TVNewser reported on Thursday, after Kay asked about instituting a "Public Value Test" of media outlets, Copps replied: "What we've had in recent years is an aberration where we have had no oversight of the media. For years and years we had some public interest guidelines...they agreed to serve the public interest and that public interest to me right now is crying 'news and information, news and information, news and information.'"

December 2, 2010, 12:52 PM EST

Appearing on Tuesday's O'Reilly Factor on FNC, columnist Charles Krauthammer described his role on the political panel show 'Inside Washington': "...it's a very liberal show....it's tag team wrestling in which I don't have a team. It's three on one which I think the odds are rather good that way – for me....we do this exercise every week and it's a good workout."

Host Bill O'Reilly brought up a recent discussion on the broadcast in which Krauthammer called out his liberal colleagues: "You were surrounded by a liberal panel and they were talking about Sarah Palin, which as you pointed out is their obsession, okay?" He then observed: "It was proof that, look, you know, you stack the deck, you're all a bunch of liberals and that's the way it is. I believe that's true and I think most of my viewership does, too." O'Reilly explained that Krauthammer was the sole "token conservative" on the show.

December 1, 2010, 4:56 PM EST

During Wednesday's 12PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer attacked those who want to maintain the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy: "...the Marine Corps and Catholic chaplains, who say they support the policy on moral grounds. It doesn't make a lot of sense...if it's homosexuality that they have a problem with – they're basically saying, 'Yeah, just keep lying about it.'"

Later in the hour, Brewer interviewed Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman about his support for repealing the policy. She labeled Arizona Senator John McCain as the villain preventing repeal: "So John McCain has been one of the most formidable foes when it comes to repealing this policy....Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen support repealing this policy. Have you talked with Senator McCain? Is he willing to give?"

December 1, 2010, 12:14 PM EST

At the top of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill fretted over Republicans pledging to focus solely on economic issues in the lame duck session of Congress: "Gridlock alert. Just one day after promising to work together while meeting with President Obama, GOP leaders may now put a halt on cooperating with Democrats on Capitol Hill. So will Washington find itself at a standstill?"

Moments later, co-host Harry Smith lamented how "the spirit of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats after yesterday's White House summit seemed to fade quickly." In the report that followed, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante solely blamed the GOP for the division: "There are new questions this morning about just how sincere the spirit of cooperation in Washington really is. CBS News has confirmed that Senate Republicans have collected signatures on a letter which pledges to block everything unrelated to tax cuts and spending during the lame duck congress."

November 30, 2010, 2:42 PM EST

A major staff shakeup has occurred on the CBS Early Show. Starting January 3, current co-hosts Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez, along with weatherman Dave Price, will all be replaced. Saturday Early Show co-host Chris Wragge and the broadcast's current news reader Erica Hill will take over for Smith and Rodriguez, while former ABC weather person Marysol Castro will take the place of Price.

Associated Press television writer David Bauder reported the changes on Tuesday, noting: "CBS News is completely overhauling 'The Early Show' to give the broadcast team a fresh look." The network morning show has long trailed in the ratings, consistently coming in a distant third compared to NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America.

November 30, 2010, 12:16 PM EST

On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante scolded Republicans for not being willing to work with Democrats in an upcoming White House meeting: "President Obama made a point of raising expectations for Republicans, who up to now have united against him....The newly empowered Republicans...seemed in no mood to compromise."

Plante went on to cite a Washington Post op ed by Republican congressional leaders as evidence of their resistance to compromise: "...sure to aggravate the Democrats, with language like this: 'Our friends across the aisle have clung for too long to the liberal wish list, including a job-killing health care law. Now we have a real chance to move away from the misplaced priorities of the past two years.'" While touting raised expectations for the GOP, Plante also highlighted Democratic efforts to lower expectations for themselves: "The White House spokesman is trying to keep expectations for today's meeting low. Probably a good idea in light of what the Republicans had to say in their op-ed in today's paper."

November 29, 2010, 12:30 PM EST

In a softball interview with retired liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Sunday's 60 Minutes, correspondent Scott Pelley touted Stevens's opposition to the court ruling on the 2000 presidential election: "He thinks [Bush v. Gore] is one of the Court's greatest blunders....There were many people in this country who felt that the Supreme Court stole that election for President Bush."

Pelley introduced the segment by proclaiming that Stevens "has shaped more American history than any Supreme Court justice alive" and made "decisions that have changed our times." The decisions Pelley focused on were the Justice's most liberal: "It was Stevens who forced a showdown with President Bush over the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and Stevens who tried to stop the court from deciding the presidential election of 2000."

November 22, 2010, 1:20 PM EST

On Monday, all three network morning show's eagerly highlighted former First Lady Barbara Bush voicing opposition to a Sarah Palin presidential run while suggesting the former Alaska governor has spent too much time in the public eye. As Harry Smith proclaimed at the top of CBS's Early Show: "It's all Palin all the time. But could the most famous family from Alaska be on the verge of overexposure?"

Later on the Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante noted: "But there are critics. In an interview with Larry King, former First Lady Barbara Bush weighed in on the possibility of a President Palin." A clip was played of Bush: "I think she's very happy in Alaska and I hope she'll stay there." On NBC's Today, correspondent Norah O'Donnell declared: "Nothing like some controversy to help sell a book, right? Just as Palin gears up for her national book tour and a possible presidential run, Barbara Bush says she likes Palin, but hopes she stays home." Finally, on ABC's Good Morning America, correspondent John Berman announced: "Sarah Palin seems to be everywhere. But, not everyone approves. Why Barbara Bush and other Republicans are saying enough."

November 19, 2010, 6:24 PM EST

Displaying a clear conflict of interest during Friday's 12PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer did a story promoting electric car charging stations but did not disclose to viewers that the channel's parent company, General Electric, was selling the very same product. GE commercials for the charging stations have frequently aired on MSNBC in recent weeks.

Brewer began the segment, a part of NBC-Universal's "Green is Progress" week, by declaring: "Houston, the city known for gas pumps and oil gushers, is getting the nation's largest network of electric car charging stations." The company providing the charging stations was not General Electric, but rather NRG Energy. Brewer interviewed the company's president and CEO, David Crane.  

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November 19, 2010, 12:21 PM EST

On Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on leaked excerpts of Sarah Palin's new book, 'America By Heart,' claiming, "some of the topics she tackles may be surprising." One such topic was Palin's criticism of the media for promoting Levi Johnston: "It was disgusting to watch as his 15 minutes of fame were exploited by supposed adults taking advantage of a lost kid."

While Cordes found that comment "surprising," CBS, and the Early Show in particular, were chief among those who exploited Levi Johnston and his attacks on the Palin family. As has been detailed on NewsBusters, throughout 2009 and 2010, the CBS Early Show has featured six lengthy stories on Johnston, including three "exclusive" interviews.  

November 18, 2010, 4:20 PM EST

At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cheered the public trading of General Motors stock as evidence that Obama administration's bailout of the auto industry had worked: "GM's big comeback. In a stunning turnaround, General Motors begins to sell it's stock less than 18 months after the government's massive $50 billion bailout."

Smith even went so far as to ask: "Will American taxpayers make a profit on the investment?" Moments later, fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez praised the companies "amazing turnaround" and observed: "What a difference a year and a half makes....here we are17 months after a bailout GM is trading publicly again." Later in the show, Rodriguez remarked that she hoped the cost to British taxpayers for the upcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton "ends the way GM's is ending, with the taxpayers getting paid back."  

November 18, 2010, 11:47 AM EST

On Thursday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski declaring victory in her write-in bid for reelection and portrayed her as a victim of the GOP: "[She's] in a very unique position, not beholden to the Republican leaders who turned their backs on her when she decided to run and not beholden to the tea party, which did everything it could to defeat her."

In reality, it was Murkowski who turned her back on the Republican Party after losing the primary and continuing to run against GOP nominee Joe Miller. Cordes sympathetically declared: "This was a huge uphill battle for Lisa Murkowski, who was urged by Republican leaders not to wage this campaign after she lost her primary bid....It was a risky bid and the risk paid off."

November 17, 2010, 4:30 PM EST

In the November 22 issue of Newsweek magazine, Daniel Stone defended the Obama administration by blaming the institution of the presidency for failures rather than the chief executive himself: "The issue is not Obama, it’s the office....Can any single person fully meet the demands of the 21st-century presidency?" The same argument was used to excuse an overwhelmed Jimmy Carter 30 years earlier.

The sub-headline for the piece read: "The presidency has grown, and grown and grown, into the most powerful, most impossible job in the world." At one point, Stone explained: "Among a handful of presidential historians Newsweek contacted for this story, there was a general consensus that the modern presidency may have become too bloated." A January 13, 1980 Washington Post article made a similar conclusion about the beleaguered Carter administration: "Voters have lowered their expectations of what any president can accomplish; they have accepted the notion that this country may never again have heroic, larger-than-life leadership in the White House."

November 16, 2010, 11:26 AM EST

During Monday's12PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer helped promote the network's "Green is Progress" week by demanding greater government intervention to force people to follow an environmentalist agenda: "Until government says these are the standards that everyone has to aspire to, we're not really making progress."

Brewer made the comments while interviewing Practically Green CEO Susan Hunt Stevens and introduced the segment by touting the latest poll numbers on environmental awareness: "87% of Americans say they personally care about protecting the environment. 75% of Americans believe projects that protect the environment could also give us an economic boost....38% say the government should be most responsible for protecting the environment." However, she fretted people weren't making enough sacrifices: "...everybody says in a survey, 'oh, do you want to live greener? Do you personally care about the environment?' Yes. 'Are you willing to spend 25 cents extra in a federal gas tax that would definitely help improve the use of fuel?' Not so much."

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November 15, 2010, 12:36 PM EST

During an interview with former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush on CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Jim Axelrod wondered: "In terms of how you understand how you are perceived is there a liberal bias in the media?" Mrs. Bush quickly replied: "Yes. He doesn't have to answer, but I will."

Axelrod seemed surprised by her response: "Why do you jump in so quickly?" Mrs. Bush laughed and backed off slightly: "No, I'm only kidding. I really don't know." However, she observed: "I will say that I really do see for most Americans a great feeling of affection for George that you don't read about. Yes, I think there's sort a conventional wisdom that's put out by the press." Axelrod was still skeptical: "And that conventional wisdom tilts left?" Mrs. Bush replied: "Yes."

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