World News anchor and long-time ABC journalist Diane Sawyer signed-off for the last time on Wednesday night. The host's final show included a music montage as she offered a behind the scenes look at how the program is created. Sawyer praised World News as "the flagship broadcast of ABC where Peter Jennings created a signature of such curiosity and courage."
Talking to viewers, Sawyer said of the people behind her show: "Determination and the certainty of purpose: They're doing it for you." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Sawyer joined ABC in 1989 and if there's been one constant during her long career, it's fawning, credulous reporting on dictators. On February 19, 2008, she cooed over Fidel Castro: "From a tiny island, a larger than life personality....Castro knew life is a stage and played the part of the dashing revolutionary, coming to New York, getting rock star treatment."
Wednesday's morning shows on ABC and NBC ignored the latest details of the growing scandal engulfing the Veterans Affairs department. Only CBS bothered to report on the story, allowing a scant 20 seconds. This Morning co-anchor Gayle King revealed, "USA Today says the VA scandal now includes obstruction of justice allegations. Ninety three health care facilities are being investigated by the VA's inspector general." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
She added that the "Justice Department and FBI are joining this probe." USA Today reporter Gregg Zoroya wrote, "The report by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General said 93 VA health care sites across the country are being investigated in connection with falsifying scheduling records to hide delays in veterans' health care and 'attempting to obstruct OIG (Office of Inspector General) and other investigative efforts.'"
It's not surprising that MSNBC's Chris Matthews would frame the racial unrest in Ferguson through a political lens. The liberal host on Monday brought on two prominent Democrats to plot strategy on how the fallout from the Michael Brown shooting could be appropriated. After pointing out that the teen's death "might have political implications this coming November," he wondered, "...Could anger over the Brown case motivate more African-American voters to turn up this November?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
To discuss this, Matthews, a former Democratic operative, brought on Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings and Democratic pollster Margie Omero. It wasn't hard to figure who he hoping the shooting could benefit. Highlighting past examples, the MSNBC anchor asserted, "So, if a member of Congress from a minority community wants to get people outraged -- they are outraged -- get them voting, it seems to me this would be a weapon to do that with."
MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson is no stranger to effusive, over-the-top lobbying for Barack Obama. But on Saturday, he went so far that even fellow liberal host Melissa Harris Perry couldn't believe it. Dyson called on the President to speak out more about the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, comparing, "I'm a Christian preacher and God finally said, 'look, I can't send nobody else. I got to go myself.'"
Dyson continued, "And I ain't saying that Obama is Jesus, but for many of his followers he is." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] This comment was too much for Perry. She started laughing and marveled, "I think we've got to go, Reverend Dyson, because you just made the sentence, "'I'm not saying Obama is Jesus' and I don't want to get written up for that."
NBC and CBS have ignored a questionable joke about Asian Americans by Harry Reid on Thursday. Only Friday's World News highlighted the "foot-in-mouth" moment from the Senate Majority Leader. Speaking to the Asian Chamber of Commerce, Reid quipped, "One problem I've had today is keeping my Wongs straight." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Looking at the comment critically, anchor Diane Sawyer wondered, " So, what did he say, and what's the line between a joke and a racist remark?"
Reporter Jeff Zeleny chided, "'Racist and disgusting' is what some are calling harry Reid's attempt at humor." Instead of covering the story, Nightly News and the Evening News on Friday made time for frivolous topics. NBC covered a blue lobster being caught in Maine. CBS highlighted a pink cookie being dropped from the menu at certain high schools.
The Washington Post on Thursday apparently discovered that Alaska is a sparsely populated state. In an online article, writer Philip Bump repeatedly complained about the small turnout in the Republican senatorial primary, making the same point over and over for seven paragraphs.
Regarding Republican Dan Sullivan's vote total, Bump worried that it was "just over 36,000 -- enough for him to have won just one other Senate primary: Hawaii's. Sullivan, in fact, received fewer votes than 20 Republicans who lost their Senate races." The journalist admitted, "This is not a mystery in the least; Alaska is not very populous." Still, he attacked the vote totals anyway.
CBS This Morning journalists on Thursday offered something Americans rarely see on network television: A thoroughly positive look at guns and the affinity women have for shooting. Reporter Jan Crawford told viewers that this is "completely removed" from gun violence. She enthused, "These women see their sport as this great American tradition that they hope their daughters and their granddaughters will continue and that others will go out and pick up those guns as well." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
For nearly five minutes, Crawford highlighted the rising trend of women using guns for sport. She even discussed how much "fun" it was to fire a shotgun. The segment was so positive, guest co-host Vinita Nair said of Crawford: "You looked great holding that gun. Pretty sexy."
Liberal MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz on Wednesday examined a viewer question as to why heartless Republicans "claim to be Christians" while, at the same time, being "mean" to the poor. The Ed Show host ranted, "Well, they are mean to the poor because they don't recognize the poor. They think if you're poor and economically challenged in this country, it's your own damned fault."
Schultz seriously entertained a Twitter question about conservatives. "Sue" wondered, "Why do Republicans claim to be Christians while being so mean to the poor?" Schultz assailed Christian conservatives: "Just look at the way they want to not support the budget and some of the social safety nets that are out there." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
What would you call an angry heckler who hurls insults at a Republican? According to the hosts of CBS This Morning, the answer is "a reporter." The journalists on Wednesday played footage of a protester sparring with Chris Christie over his use of Bruce Springsteen music at rallies. New Jersey resident Sandra Booket yelled, "I thought I heard that Bruce asked that none of his music was played at your events because he didn't believe in your politics."
Christie retorted, "No, you're wrong in, fact, I saw Bruce just a week and a half ago." He added, "If you're going to be cute, we should get the story right." The woman so impressed co-host Vinita Nair that she marveled, "[Booket] sounded like a reporter didn't she? She just kept going." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Ex-Time magazine editor Walter Isaacson declared in the August 25 issue that Barack Obama "can still secure his legacy" by aggressively lobbying for liberal causes. Isaacson worried, "Obamacare may be undermined if the Supreme Court guts subsidies for the federal exchanges. If so the sweeping nature of the reform will survive only if Obama mounts a rousing, state-by-state campaign to rally passion for protecting the new health benefits."
The Time editor cheered, "President Obama has scored two monumental achievements: helping to restore the financial system after the 2008 collapse and making it possible for every American to get health care coverage, even if they leave their jobs or have preexisting conditions." Isaacson's real complaints with Obama seem to be not fighting hard enough for liberalism.
After deluging Americans with two days of heavy coverage of Rick Perry's indictment, the network morning shows on Tuesday eased up. Only CBS This Morning offered a story on the Republican's vigorous defense. Reporter Jan Crawford noted that growing outrage against the indictment includes liberals: "Among those Democrats is President Obama's former adviser David Axelrod, who suggested the indictment was 'pretty sketchy' in a tweet over the weekend." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Crawford also made time for two clips of conservative Ben Ginsberg, a lawyer representing Perry. He railed, "This is an outlandish prosecution. I mean, it will never, ever, ever, stand." Ginsberg added, "It is unprecedented, it is outside the bounds. I think that's why you see so many people who are not Rick Perry supporters, who are Democrats, saying how wrong this indictment is." Of course, Crawford still found time to throw cold water on the governor's 2016 plans.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper was on the ground Monday night in Ferguson, Missouri as stun grenades and tear gas exploded around him. The journalist had been covering the standoff between protesters and police when the situation became chaotic. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Tapper and his cameraman had to make a hasty exit as the environment deteriorated. Later, CNN video captured a man on as he lay on the ground. "This is a photographer who got hit pretty bad by the tear gas." Earlier, an angry Tapper questioned the police presence: "Nobody is threatening anything. Nobody is doing anything. None of the stores here that I can see are being looted. There is no violence."
Rather than cover continuing developments in Gaza and in Ukraine, ABC's This Week devoted six and a half minutes to promoting transgender issues as the new civil rights movement. Highlighting the star of Orange is the New Black, Jon Karl trumpeted, "[Laverne] Cox's role is just one in a growing number reflective of the transgender community now coming of age in mainstream America."
This Week guest host Jon Karl hosted two segments on the topic and offered almost no voice to anyone who may disagree. An ABC graphic wondered, "Transgender Tipping Point?"
In just two days, the three network morning and evening shows deluged viewers with over 25 minutes of coverage (17 stories) on the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry. These programs made sure to speculate as to whether the controversy could "end any chance" for the Republican in 2016. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The indictment came afterPerry lobbied for Texas District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunk driving conviction.
From Saturday morning through Monday morning, CBS offered the most amount of coverage, five stories over nine minutes and 14 seconds. Over the same period, ABC produced six segments (or eight minutes and 48 seconds). NBC delivered six segments for of seven minutes and 37 seconds.
In an exclusive preview of his interview with Paul Ryan, CBS This Morning journalist Richard Schlesinger on Friday chose to highlight a shot at the "brown-noser" Congressman. The reporter recounted Ryan's high school career.
He noted that the Representative was named prom king and added, "Along the way, he picked up another title -- brown-noser. And that he doesn't talk about too much." Schlesinger prompted, "You proud of the brown-noser title?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America has a history of ignoring the spasms of bloody violence that rock Rahm Emanuel's Chicago. The city's little league baseball team prompted ABC to mention the problem. Correspondent Lara Spencer on August 15th noted the appearance of the Jackie Robinson West squad in the Little League World Series and reminded, "The victory bringing a much needed moment of pride to a city riddled with violence with 82 shootings occurring over fourth of July weekend alone." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Back on July 8th, the weekend after the mayhem occurred, GMA reporter Dan Harris allowed a scant 11 seconds to recapping the crimes. Mentioning Emanuel on Friday, Spencer enthused, "...Even Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel attending [baseball] watch parties across the land of Lincoln." ABC hasn't shown much interest in mentioning Barack Obama's former chief of staff in relation to his city's death toll.
The journalists at the CBS Evening News on Wednesday investigated whether Rick Perry is "using" the immigration crisis to increase his profile for a 2016 White House bid. Talking to the mayor of Rio Grande City, Manuel Bojorquez said of the move to send Texas National Guard to the border: "A lot of people have criticized his decision by saying that it's pure politics, that he's looking to make a point on the national stage because he wants to run for president."
In a tease for the segment, anchor Scott Pelley insisted that Perry is "upping the political ante." The journalist wondered, "Is he using the crisis to raise campaign money?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Liberals are shifting their focus from the unpopular Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 bid and even MSNBC anchors are getting into the act. Hardball guest host Steve Kornacki on Tuesday played up Clinton's criticism of the President as a possible overture to the Republican Party. According to The Atlantic, Clinton dismissed the Obama motto of "don't do stupid stuff" as "not an organizing principle" for governing.
Talking to former GOP Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, Kornacki wondered, "Is there a message here you see Hillary Clinton sending to those Republicans, saying, 'yes, there is room on my bandwagon for you'?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
What's more important? The ongoing slaughter of refugees in a rapidly deteriorating Iraq or the December 2015 Star Wars film? According to the journalists at Good Morning America, the answer is Star Wars. The ABC program on Wednesday devoted 55 seconds to discussing a film that is 16 months away from being released, but only 33 seconds to the desperate situation in Iraq.
News reader Amy Robach quickly mentioned that more U.S. troops are arriving in the troubled country, adding, "The 130 military advisers are working to help rescue thousands of religious minorities who are stranded by Islamic militants." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] She sped through this story: "Thousands of refugees are stranded after militants took over their villages. Heartbreaking images show the refugees desperately trying to hang on to rescue helicopters."
MSNBC's "women in politics" web page almost exclusively promotes Democratic candidates and the cable network is now shilling for the site with cable ads. With peppy, upbeat music, the ad featured liberals politicians such as Wendy Davis, Alex Sink, Sandra Fluke, Nancy Pelosi and MSNBC cable hosts like Melissa Harris Perry. [See video of the commercial below. MP3 audio here.]
The cable channel's website looks more like something out of a Democratic National Committee production. Headlines include: "Lucy Flores, 21st century Democrat," "Grimes goes after McConnell's 'empty head," "Grimes receives big boost from Clinton" and "Wendy Davis 'a remarkable mom,' say daughters."
According to an expose in the August 18 Weekly Standard, the New York Times hates critical comments and won't print letters to the editors that challenge NYT facts. Writer Kenneth L. Woodward detailed a behind-the-scenes battle to get thepaper to correct inaccurate information by Maureen Dowd.
After dealing with an editor, Woodward recounted, "In sum, the Times was telling me that they will accept letters that offer a different opinion, but those that challenge assertions of fact are relegated to the editors of the Corrections column, where minutiae like misspelled names and erroneous dates are corrected for the record."
Only CBS This Morning on Tuesday bothered to cover the heartbreaking video of Iraqi refugees rushing a helicopter in a desperate attempt to escape the violence of the terrorist group ISIS. NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America ignored the gripping video.
CBS reporter David Martin narrated the CNN-supplied footage: "Iraqi Army helicopters fly in at 100 feet in broad daylight to push pallets of food and water out the door. When one found a piece of ground level enough to land on, it was immediately rushed by men, women and children, desperate to escape the Sinjar Mountains." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
After reiterating her support for 9/11 conspiracy theories over the weekend, Rosie O'Donnell insisted she could work with a possible new co-host, despite ties to George W. Bush. Many 9/11 truthers smear the ex-president as having either orchestrated, or failed to stop, the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.
When asked if she could be civil with Nicolle Wallace, the former communications chief for Bush and a rumored new co-host, O'Donnell responded via Twitter, "i enjoy nicole - am reading her book right now - and i do not know who is to blame [for 9/11]." [See screen shots of tweets below.] The liberal host also offered her opinion on whether the moon landing was a hoax.
Rosie O’Donnell, the past and future co-host of The View, on Friday reaffirmed her support of the 9/11 truther conspiracy theory. When askedby this writer if she continues to reject the idea that Muslim terrorists flew planes into buildings, O’Donnell tweeted in response, “i still do not believe the official story.” [See below for a screen shot of the tweet.]
O’Donnell left The View in 2007 after battling with conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck. On March 29, 2007, she promoted trutherism, saying of September 11th: “I do believe it is the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel. I do believe that it defies physics for the World Trade Center Tower Seven, building seven, which collapsed in on itself, it is impossible for a building to fall the way it fell without explosives being involved…” ABC invited O'Donnell to return as a View co-host for the fall 2014 season.
According to speculation by theDaily Mailon Friday, Nicolle Wallace, a liberal Republican who worked on John McCain's 2008 campaign and famously feuded with Sarah Palin, has been selected to fill the "conservative" seat on ABC's The View. The rumor comes a day after the producer of the left-wing Rachel Maddow Showwas hired to run the ABC chat show.
Daily Mail writer Topper Toussaint claimed, "Commentator S.E. Cupp was also considered, but clashed with Rosie [O'Donnell]." He added, "'Rosie told her that her approach was just like Elisabeth Hasselbeck, which did not sit well,' according to the show insider." If the reports are true, Wallace will hardly be a conservative counterweight to the very liberal O'Donnell.
Despite a combined eight available hours of programming on Friday, all three network morning shows avoided the news that a scandal-plagued Democratic senator from Montana dropped a reelection bid. This move leaves the seat as a likely Republican takeover in the 2014 midterms. But viewers wouldn't know that on ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today and CBS This Morning.
John Walsh left the race on Thursday, two weeks after the New York Times reported that the Democrat plagiarized extensive sections of his master's degree from the Army War College. With the networks avoiding the story, it was left to CNN's New Day to offer a brief amount of coverage. John King wondered if the seat will "most likely" go to the GOP. Maggie Haberman of Politico retorted, "Oh, yeah...I mean, most Democrats that I talked to believe Montana is not winnable anymore." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC's Cycle hosts on Thursday brought on liberal author Rick Perlstein to pine for the greatness that was the 1970s. Perlstein appeared to promote his new book on the '70s and the transition from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan. Allowing that the decade was a "dark time," the writer enthused, "But to me, there's some nostalgia to that period. Because Americans proved they could look our problems in the eye like grownups and face them." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Remember, this was the decade of Vietnam, gas shortages, American hostages in Iran and inflation, to name a few problems. Perlstein attacked Reagan's sunny optimism during the period, complaining, "One of the problems with Reagan, one of the things we need to reckon with, is he gave us absolution from doing that hard work as citizens."
ABC journalist Jon Karl dared to push Barack Obama on his use of executive power, demanding to know if the commander-in-chief is an "imperial president." But Karl's own network ignored the question, declining to air it on Wednesday's World News and Nightline or on Thursday's Good Morning America.
It wasn't until the little-watched America This Morning, a program airing at 4am on ABC, that the question came up. At the August 6 news conference, Karl pointed out: "When you were running for president you said, quote, 'The biggest problems we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that's what I intend to reverse.'" [See video below of the question. MP3 audio here.]
The author of a harsh expose on "nasty" Hillary Clinton appeared on MSNBC, Wednesday, and made his charges against the Democrat. TheCycle hosts grilled Ronald Kessler about his claim that Secret Service agents think Mrs. Clinton is "the worst." They also ignored his allegation that Bill Clinton is having an affair with a mistress known as "the energizer."
Promoting his book The First Family Detail, Kessler proclaimed, "Behind the scenes, [Hillary Clinton is] so nasty to her own Secret Service agents, who are there to protect her and even lay down their lives for her, that, she – being assigned to her detail is considered the worst assignment detail in the Secret Service." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added an assertion not often heard on liberal MSNBC: "That's something people should consider as well as track record when they elect a president."
One liberal journalist praised another liberal journalist on Monday's CNN Tonight. Former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein appeared along with Dan Rather to discuss the 40th anniversary of Watergate. Host Alisyn Camerota played a 1974 clip of the ex-CBS anchor sparring with Richard Nixon.
After the then-president jokingly asked Rather at a news conference, "Are you running for something," the reporter retorted, "No, sir, Mr. President. Are you?" Sitting with Rather, Bernstein marveled, "How did you come up with that? Do you have any idea what clicked in your mind?" The Post journalist continued, enthusing, "It was so brilliant, such a great comment." An irony-free Rather, who left CBS in disgrace for using fake documents, said with of the Nixon question: "And I have no -- plenty of regrets, but not about that." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]