It wasn’t the embarrassing kiss-up debacle CBS’s Steve Kroft delivered a week ago from the White House, but CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, in his late afternoon pre-Super Bowl sit down with Barack Obama, hardly tackled the President.
He cued him up to elaborate on allowing women in combat and gays to take part in the Boy Scouts, in between prompting Obama to explain why tax revenue must be raised further and, instead of pressing Obama about the danger of ever-growing massive deficits, Pelley -- echoing Paul Krugman -- warned cuts could send the economy into a recession.
FX’s new series which debuted Wednesday night, The Americans, is centered around husband and wife KGB sleeper agents who live with their kids as ordinary Americans in suburban Washington, DC when Ronald Reagan becomes President. Joe Weisberg, the creator and executive producer conceded to TV Guide that “this series, to a large extent, is told from the perspective of the KGB and the Soviets. We’re making them the sympathetic characters. I’d go so far as to say they’re the heroes.”
Yet, in the 95-minute pilot aired January 30, there were scenes which should hearten conservatives who believe in Reagan’s righteousness and the superiority of the United States.
Last month, when the Republican Governor of South Carolina named GOP U.S. Representative Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate, the “first African American U.S. Senator from the South since Blanche Bruce of Mississippi in 1881” according to The State newspaper, thus becoming the only black -- Democrat or Republican -- in the Senate, ABC’s World News didn’t mention it.
Fast-forward to Wednesday night, and ABC anchor Diane Sawyer suddenly found it newsworthy that the Democratic Governor of Massachusetts appointed an African-American to replace new Secretary of State John Kerry, trumpeting: “Look closely at this picture. That is William ‘Mo’ Cowan of Massachusetts. He will be heading to Washington, DC soon and straight into the history books.”
The annual pro-life march, this year marking the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, drew tens of thousands to Washington, DC on Friday, but didn’t garner a syllable of coverage on Friday’s World News on ABC nor the CBS Evening News. Yet on Saturday night, both newscasts highlighted a pro-gun control protest in DC which CBS anchor Jim Axelrod pegged at drawing “close to a thousand people.”
The NBC Nightly News noted both protests and on Friday night also reported how a federal appeals court unanimously decided that President Obama violated the Constitution when he made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, a rebuke neither ABC nor CBS found newsworthy.
Mark January 23rd as the launch date for the news media’s fresh campaign to have Hillary Clinton replace Barack Obama in the Oval Office in 2017. ABC and NBC, and CBS to a lesser extent, on Wednesday night treated Secretary of State Clinton’s appearances before Senate and House committees not as an chance to explore Obama administration dissembling on Benghazi, but as an opportunity to boost Clinton’s supposed brilliant performance.
“The indignation. And then, the tears in her eyes,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer announced before trumpeting: “It was a valedictory that showed her indignation and emotion as she ends this tenure on the public stage. ABC’s chief global affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz, brings us the riveting encounter today.”
[See Update at bottom on how they caught up with reality the next night]
“Analysts on the left and the right are calling President Obama’s second inaugural address the most liberal speech he has delivered in office,” FNC’s Bret Baier announced at the top of Monday’s Special Report. Those on the left and right may, but that didn’t include the reporters on the ABC and CBS evening newscasts who scrupulous avoided applying a liberal description to Obama’s address.
On ABC’s World News, Bill Weir innocuously cited how Obana’s speech delivered “a theme of moving forward together,” before George Stephanopoulos asserted: “What you saw today, is the President gave a meditation on freedom and equality, was a President who also felt free.”
Conservatives have long joked that the national press corps see Barack Obama as the second coming of Jesus Christ. Today, Newsweek – at least what’s left of it, an online product for tablets and e-readers – made it official.
Next to a side shot of Obama’s head, the “Inauguration 2013” cover story pronounces: “The Second Coming.”
All three broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday night ran short items on the federal corruption indictments against the bumbling former Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, but skipped his party affiliation, a fact Reuters considered newsworthy – if not until their sixth paragraph: “Nagin, 56, and a Democrat...”
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer generously described Nagin as “the face of Hurricane Katrina...then the Mayor of New Orleans fighting for his city.”
Reflecting the typical Washington definition of a budget “cut” – in which a slight reduction in a projected increase is a “cut” and a measurable decrease in the rate of growth is a “draconian” cut -- on Sunday’s Face the Nation CBS’s Bob Schieffer despaired over how “to stave off these horrendous, these gargantuan cuts in defense and social programs” in the sequester?
In fact, as Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University pointed out, “without a sequester,” by 2021, “federal spending would increase $1.7 trillion (blue line). With a sequester, federal spending would increase by $1.6 trillion (red line).”
Minutes before being crowned Miss America on Saturday night, Miss New York, Mallory Hytes Hagan, matched the attitude toward guns espoused by her very liberal Governor, Andrew Cuomo. Asked by judge Sam Champion, the weather-reader for ABC’s Good Morning America, about putting armed guards in schools, Hagen condemned the concept, insisting: “The answer is not to fight violence with violence.”
As if law enforcement officers carrying guns fuels violence.
Tonight, viewers of CBS-owned Showtime will be treated to the ninth of ten installments of Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, which has attacked U.S. leaders – from FDR to Ronald Reagan – from the far-left while hailing the virtues of communists.
Last Monday’s installment, on Carter and Reagan, offered a representative sampling of Stone’s worldview, an hour which included displaying a woman holding the Media Research Center’s “Don’t Believe the Liberal Media” placard as he fretted over how President Reagan “enabled the growth of a right-wing media empire” which has “dramatically lower the standards of American political discourse and, in general, doom prospects for progressive change.”
Sounds like a personal vendetta ahead of genuine regret. CBS Late Show host David Letterman admitted to Oprah Winfrey, in an interview first aired Sunday night, that he backtracked after outrage erupted following a sex joke he told involving Sarah Palin’s then-14-year-old daughter Willow, not because it was highly inappropriate, but primarily so he could continue ridiculing Willow’s mother:
I’ll tell you why I apologized. I felt like Sarah Palin was somebody I wanted to continue to be able to make fun of and I felt like if I don’t apologize, if I don’t sincerely express my regret, I will not be able to go forward making fun of her.
Getting reactions to the “fiscal cliff” deal/postponement from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles – they of the much-cited “Simpson-Bowles Commission” – Meet the Press host David Gregory wistfully speculated on what might have been, had only Republicans agreed a year ago to raise income taxes.
He cued up Bowles: “Had Republicans conceded the point on revenue earlier, say, in 2011, could we have had a broader agreement along the lines that you think is necessary?”
Time magazine’s Joe Klein can’t get his basic biographic facts straight, but he’s sure the “fiscal cliff” impasse should be blamed on Grover Norquist on Rush Limbaugh for leading a conservative culture “removed from reality” and “extreme in the most egregious way.”
On CBS’s Face the Nation, after Peggy Noonan regretted how President Barack Obama allows “dreadful enervating dramas” while Ronald Reagan was big enough to make deals with Speaker Tip O’Neill, Klein sputtered: “When Ronald Reagan was President, Grover Norquist was in diapers and Rush Limbaugh was a disc jockey, I think, in St. Louis.”
ABC News had to wait two weeks to get on air Barbara Walters’ interview with the Obamas -- and then the network’s evening newscast decided to focus on her asking Barack and Michelle Obama about their sex life.
“An ABC News exclusive,” fill-in World News anchor David Muir teased, “Barbara Walters at the White House, asking Michelle Obama if she’ll run for office next. And a personal question, too.” Viewers were then treated to a clip of Walters with the Obamas: “How do you keep the fire going?” The two laughed as Mrs. Obama giggled: “That’s a good question!”
A humorous look at men versus women – as seen through how they tackle eating corn on the cob, a contrast caught by NBC’s Tonight Show and shown by Bret Baier at the end of FNC’s Special Report back on Tuesday, December 4.
Baier’s reaction to the guy’s method: “Ingenuity.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer described Robert Bork, who passed away Wednesday at age 85, as “an icon to conservatives” and NBC anchor Brian Williams called him a “conservative icon,” but CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley decided he was an “arch conservative.” He then played, without censure, a portion of Senator Ted Kennedy’s disgraceful attack and offered up an innocuous definition of “to Bork,” which Pelley asserted simply “means to attack a nominee for political reasons.”
On FNC’s Special Report, however, James Rosen more accurately conveyed: “So epic and nasty was the battle over Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the summer of 1987 that the process gave rise to the verb ‘to Bork,’ which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as ‘systematic vilification in the media to block a person’s appointment to public office.’”
Yes, the newscasts were dominated by the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, yet the NBC Nightly News managed to squeeze in 24 seconds to note Scott’s historic appointment.
[UPDATE, 3:10 PM EDT Dec 18: On Tuesday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America spiked the news of Scott’s appointment, yet had time for far more frivolous matters, while CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today squeezed in very short items, though Today’s didn’t air until the third hour of the program.]
In a colorful demonstration of the Washington press corps’ disdain for Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge, on Sunday’s This Week, a flustered ABC News/NPR veteran Cokie Roberts blurted out: “It’s...politically smart to cut the knees out from under Grover Norquist. I mean this guy is, you know, who is he? He’s an unelected lobbyist.”
She soon urged that “a certain amount of saying ‘the emperor has no clothes’” about Norquist is helpful. “To say that, I think is very useful.”
Demonstrating once more how the NBC Nightly News has become the big audience outlet for MSNBC’s left-wing angst, Brian Williams couldn’t even keep such silliness out of what should have been a light-hearted story on Mitt Romney’s lunch with President Obama. ABC and CBS managed to do that.
On NBC, however, reporter Kristen Welker charged “there was an awkward backdrop to this snap shot” of Romney and Obama shaking hands in the Oval Office. She cited “Romney saying President Obama won because he gave gifts to key constituencies” as well as Romney adviser Stuart Stevens daring to suggest Obama “was a charismatic African-American President with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical.”
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and correspondent Jonathan Karl on Monday night salivated over Republicans breaking Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. “We did see a sign the paralysis may be ending,” Sawyer relayed over “Tax Revolt?” on screen, touting “a Republican mutiny against a man who had convinced them to take a pledge.” She soon trumpeted the “new sign of flexibility.”
As if that’s a bad thing, Jonathan Karl fretted “the pledge is the biggest obstacle to any deal that would raise taxes.” But he saw hope ahead in how “with a budget crisis on the horizon and a re-elected President insisting on tax increases, some Republicans are now thinking the unthinkable: Ditching the pledge.”
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so it’s hardly shocking that the children of a journalist would prefer President Barack Obama’s re-election, but instead of being embarrassed by such stereotype-confirming views, Al Neuharth embraced them and decided to follow their advice in casting his vote – as if there were any doubt.
In his weekly column back on Friday, November 9, the 88-year-old founder of USA Today recounted how his six adopted kids, ranging in ages from 12 to 21, all supported Obama, including “Rafi, 12,” who “said Romney wants to ‘take from the poor and give to the rich’” and “Ariana, 14,” who “said if Romney wins, she wants to leave the USA and move to her second favorite country -- the Netherlands.”
Two ABC News stars have proven, once again, the media’s obsession with raising taxes over any effort to cut a cent of spending. Two days after the election, anchor Diane Sawyer repeatedly pushed House Speaker John Boehner to move away from a conservative position and agree to President Obama’s wish to hike income tax rates, but on Sunday’s This Week, Martha Raddatz refused to press House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about getting Democrats to shift from their position and accede to any reduced spending.
Instead, she quizzed Pelosi about getting Republicans to accept a tax hike and how to get around such intransigence: “Have you seen any indication that the Republicans are open to raising rates?”
Tonight, CBS-owned Showtime will debut a ten-part series: Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States. Ronald Radosh, in last week’s Weekly Standard, determined it offers “not an untold story, but the all-too-familiar Communist and Soviet line on America’s past as it developed in the early years of the Cold War.”
Sunday’s Meet the Press featured a panel of five, none of them conservative (Congressman-elect Joaquín Castro, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, author Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and NBC’s Chuck Todd), to assess why Mitt Romney lost and “the future of the GOP.” And they agreed conservatives are the problem.
Todd, NBC’s political director, decided the GOP has become “a coalition of special interest forces” and fretted “the leaders in Washington can’t control the special interest groups” as Republicans, like Democrats in the past, “succumbed to their base.”
A fresh insertion of leftist politics into prime time entertainment television. On Sunday night’s The Good Wife on CBS, which is set in Chicago, a judge strode into court and observed: “I hope you’re staying cool today on this unusually hot November day.” He then declared, “I hope you don’t mind me saying: Global warming 1, skeptics 0.”
He next insisted, in a case of a contractor who supposedly assaulted a soldier in Afghanistan, “I have great respect for all those in uniform, no matter how our government sees fit to employ them.”