Running through the findings of a new CBS News/New York Times poll, on Thursday’s CBS Evening News Chip Reid highlighted how, after weeks of media hostility the Tea Party has lost popularity, as he also located people to illustrate how more wanted, and still want, taxes raised over spending cuts alone.
Reid ignored, however, how far more – Republicans, independents, and even Democrats – believe the spending cuts “didn’t go far enough” over “went too far.”
Framing a shortcoming in the debt deal as a liberal would and does, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley on Tuesday night regretted the how “the last time the President and the Congress compromised on a major spending bill, Republicans got tax cuts and Mr. Obama won an extension of unemployment benefits,” but this time “there are only budget cuts and no relief for those suffering in this economy.”
Two network anchors, 24 hours apart, cued up House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to despair from the left how the debt ceiling deal, presumably because of some future potential slight reductions in the projected rate of spending increases, will “hurt real people” as NBC’s Brian Williams asked her to confirm her “fear” that “the poor are gonna get hurt and the rich are gonna get by without harm.”
On Monday’s World News, ABC’s Diane Sawyer inquired (video below): “You think this is really going to hurt real people?”
Three noteworthy spins, charges and/or claims made on the Sunday morning interview shows.
> ABC’s This Week, with “ALL CUTS, NO TAXES?” on screen: George Stephanopoulos hit White House senior adviser David Plouffe from the left on how “this enforcement mechanism would not include revenue increases, would be just across the board spending cuts.” He fretted the deal “all but guarantee that the final product is all spending cuts and not the balanced approach the President wants.” Christiane Amanpour despaired President Obama “has moved all of the way to the language and the ideals that the Republicans espouse.”
> CBS’s Face the Nation: Bob Schieffer insisted “some people say that the Republican Party has been held hostage by the Tea Party” and he discerned “some truth” in an allegation he saw on Facebook that allowing House freshmen “‘to control this debate’” is “‘like letting the teenager in the family run the family budget.’”
The broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday night noted the very anemic second quarter GDP growth rate at 1.3 percent, but instead of stressing how it showed the weak economic state well before the debt ceiling showdown, they submerged it into warnings of how the delay in getting a deal is hurting the economy.
On ABC’s World News, Bianna Golodryga, aka Mrs. Peter Orszag, the wife of Obama’s former OMB Director, helped her husband’s ex-employer by failing to even mention the worst news of the day: the revision of the first quarter GDP down to a flat line 0.4 percent from the original 1.9 percent estimate. At least CBS and NBC considered that newsworthy.
Running a brief excerpt from his Sunday night Dateline special, “Taking the Hill: Inside Congress,” Brian Williams on Thursday evening showcased one and only one question he posed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He demanded: “Why shouldn't rich folks pay more?”
Williams insisted on NBC Nightly News that’s “a hot topic, no tax increase in any of these plans being discussed” in “what has become a big charge from the left that in any of these debt ceiling deals the poor are likely to get hit while the rich are likely to get a pass.”
Acting as if he were trying out for a MSNBC gig, Piers Morgan used his half hour of CNN’s prime time, following President Barack Obama’s 9 PM EDT speech on the debt ceiling and House Speaker John Boehner’s response, to hit his guests from the left, presuming Obama holds the reasoned moral high ground while Boehner represents an obstinate and selfish position.
“A lot of people blame the financial crisis on Bush tax cuts and expensive wars,” Morgan told GOP Senator Rob Portman of Ohio in repeating a liberal talking point, demanding: “Isn't it time you guys took one for the team, the team being America?”
Adopting the spin of President Barack Obama -- who on Friday insisted “one of the questions that the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is: Can they say yes to anything?” – on Sunday’s Face the Nation CBS’s Bob Schieffer demanded of Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl: “Is there a problem for Republicans that might emerge as just the party of no? The party that can't say yes to anything?”
House Republicans have a budget-cutting proposal that stands no chance of getting by President Obama while some Senators have a big tax-hiking plan which stands no chance of passage in the House, but CBS, in illustrating the larger media take, framed the conservative plan as a distracting waste of time while cheerleading the Senate’s “Gang of 33” plan in the name of “bi-partisanship.”
Barf. “We sometimes forget just how in the tank much of the press is for Obama,” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto observed last week in catching an effusive, to put it mildly, love letter to Barack Obama published in the August edition of Hearst’s Esquire magazine.
“2011 is the summer of Obama,” gushed Stephen Marche, genuflecting “‘I am large, I contain multitudes,’ Walt Whitman wrote, and Obama lives that lyrical prophecy.” More sophistry: “Barack Obama is developing into what Hegel called a ‘world-historical soul,’ an embodiment of the spirit of the times. He is what we hope we can be.”
A couple of Sunday interview show hosts again forwarded White House talking points about the necessity to include taxes, I mean “revenues,” in any debt ceiling increase deal with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour focusing on a single poll she highlighted for ammunition the public is on her side while ignoring how, by two-to-one, the public opposes raising the debt ceiling at all.
CBS’s Bob Schieffer touted how President Obama has made “concessions” but, he sputtered, “I don't hear any concessions from people on the other side. They just say no taxes, and that’s their negotiating posture.” He demanded of Senator Marco Rubio: “Can you have meaningful reform here without increasing revenues in some way?”
In a relatively inoffensive interview with President Barack Obama for Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley implied the Tea Party (and maybe congressional liberals too) should be blamed for blocking a debt ceiling deal (“Isn't the problem that a large number of the Members of Congress will not follow your leadership or the Republican leadership?”) and fondly recalled how “it wasn't that long ago when compromise in Washington was considered a virtue, not a vice.”
Pelley touted how “Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they respected each other, they liked each other and they got things done.” That allowed Obama to use Reagan to scold conservatives: “If Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises?”
Two eastern European nations last week debuted commemorations to thank former President Ronald Reagan for playing an instrumental role in freeing them from communism. I only found sparse television coverage of the two “Reagan Centennial” events in Hungary and the Czech Republic, but thought I’d share what I located since the events didn’t earn much air time.
The accompanying video first shows a brief item on Wednesday’s Special Report where FNC played some video of a life-size statue of Reagan being unveiled in Freedom Square in front of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. Second in the video, a short item from MSNBC on Saturday morning about a block of a street in Prague getting named for Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Last Saturday night I introduced my new Saturday night humor posting drawn from the clips Bret Baier runs at the end of FNC’s Special Report which he selects from video montages picked up from the late night comedy shows.
Tonight, the second edition, taken from NBC’s Tonight Show, of some pretty funny confusion on a British newscast which played the wrong soundbites at the wrong time -- turning an unidentified blonde woman, and the network’s own weather woman, into the Nazi leader Rudolph Hess. Watch below the jump for what Baier played on his Monday, June 27 program.
“The problem is this issue with the House Republicans,” NBC’s Chuck Todd declared Wednesday night in naming the culprit blocking help to Americans whom anchor Brian Williams asserted “are hurting every day and hoping for a result to make their lives better.”
In a story on President Barack Obama’s press conference, Todd maintained Obama and the Senate could come together, but he blamed the conservatives for preventing a debt ceiling deal, fretting over “that new conservative, the Tea Party caucus” which rejects “anything that even remotely looks like a tax hike on anybody.”
All three broadcast network evening newscasts awarded full stories Monday night to Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign announcement, with ABC and NBC unable to resist pouncing on Chris Wallace’s “are you a flake?” question to frame their stories. ABC’s Jonathan Karl highlighted how she’s “been accused of being loose with the facts, saying, for example, that the President's last trip to India was costing taxpayers $200 million a day. That's why Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace says he asked her” the “flake” question.
On NBC, Kelly O’Donnell also played the Wallace clip before focusing on how Bachmann “has been embarrassed by a string of factual errors, like placing the battles of Lexington and Concord in the wrong state. She missed the mark again in our interview, bringing up an unrelated and incorrect claim about her hometown.” (That would be about John Wayne’s birthplace.)
On Sunday’s This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour repeatedly hit Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with the White House’s plea for “revenue raising” measures, often the new euphemism for tax hikes, but when she talked to Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn, the Assistant Minority Leader in the House, she failed to press him about agreeing to GOP spending cut proposals and instead only asked him about prospects for a deal.
Amanpour began with how reasonable President Obama and Democrats, who “need revenue,” are acting: “Democrats are saying they’re not putting, for the moment, tax hikes on the table, but they need revenue, they’re talking about closing loopholes, subsidies for wealthy corporations. Is that out of the question for you, or are you willing to entertain that?”
At the MRC’s “DisHonors Awards” last month I got a pretty good reaction to a compilation of those humorous clips Bret Baier plays at the end of his FNC show, usually drawn from funny takes and edited news video produced by the late night comedy shows. (For that “funny clips” compilation, scroll down on this page.)
So, I thought I’d bring the concept to NewsBusters with occasional weekend postings of the “best” of Baier’s choices. For this inaugural edition, I went back to Baier’s June 15 program for Jimmy Kimmel’s mash-up of a certain term used over and over during CNN’s June 13 Republican presidential debate, a mash-up which ends with a different phrase from Herman Cain. Watch below the jump. It’s short and funny.
The ABC and NBC evening newscasts have focused stories on Billy Bulger, the long-time Massachusetts Democratic political hack who is the younger brother of just-captured reputed mass-murdering Mobster Whitey Bulger, but both refused to identify Billy Bulger’s party affiliation. (The CBS Evening News has, so far, not even mentioned Billy.)
“While Whitey Bulger was running a gang, his brother was a celebrated star of Massachusetts politics,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer trumpeted on Thursday night. On Friday night, NBC forwarded MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to vouch that Billy had no information about the whereabouts of his fugitive brother while Jeff Rossen marveled: “Just as investigators say Whitey was ordering hits, his brother, Billy Bulger, was rising in state government, President of the Massachusetts state senate and later President of U Mass.”
Baier informed viewers of how, in NBC’s look at the reaction to the NBC Sports “omission of ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance during the U.S. Open golf coverage,” reporter Mike Taibbi “went on to reference the Obama impersonator who was pulled off stage early” during a GOP event “and Jon Stewart’s appearance on Fox News Sunday.” With the quoted words on screen credited to NewsBusters, Baier noted:
One conservative media watchdog said NBC was, quote: “Trying to submerge its own network’s ‘under God’ censorship into a greater narrative.”
On Tuesday night, NBC decided to highlight a series of stumbles by Republican presidential candidates, none of them all that significant (Romney having $100 bills in his wallet and Perry referring to Twitter as “tweeter”), before later in the newscast showing White House-produced video of a baby which stopped crying when handed to President Obama. “The White House would probably love for us to believe this next piece of videotape is evidence of special healing powers,” Williams announced, feeling obligated to make clear he realized “it isn't, but it is amusing.”
Looking at the announcement by Jon Huntsman, Andrea Mitchell cited his “faulty sound system,” how the press pass misspelled Huntsman’s first name and how “the press corps was first directed to a plane bound for Saudi Arabia instead of New Hampshire,” but “even there geography was a problem.” After a clip of Huntsman saying “we’ve just come this morning from New York where we announced in front of the Statue of Liberty,” Mitchell pounced, complete with a big map on screen: “Except he wasn’t in New York, it was New Jersey.”
Trying to submerge its own network’s “under God” censorship into a greater narrative, Monday’s NBC Nightly News managed to combine into one disjointed story, pegged to “a tough slog” over the weekend “when it comes to the campaign to get along in our public discourse,” the NBC Sports decision to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in its opening montage for the U.S. Open golf tournament, “distress” by “Republicans at a leadership conference over an Obama impersonator’s racially tinged jokes,” how “on conservative network Fox News, anchor Chris Wallace and liberal comedian Jon Stewart went at it” and that “Texas Governor Rick Perry won the loudest applause with this line.”
The awful remark, which NBC aired as its last example in a story which carried “BAD DECISIONS” as the on-screen tag: “Let's speak with pride about our morals and our values. Let's stop this American downward spiral!”
Put the lie in your lead and the truth deeper into your story, Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney relayed on Sunday in passing along advice he got from his late father. A few pages away, Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton seemed to take that advice as he led his Sunday column, “The truth about the Sarah Palin e-mails,” by asserting: “If you read the mail to the ombudsman last week, you would think The Post organized a vigilante mob to burn Sarah Palin at the stake. That interpretation is complete balderdash.” He also insisted: “Nor was this a biased, one-sided effort to dig up dirt on Republicans and not Democrats.”
Not until the 17th paragraph of his lame 17 paragraph column did Pexton undermine his premise and let the truth out:
I think requesting the correspondence of public officials is a crucial tool for journalists. Sure, go ahead and get Obama’s e-mails from when he was an Illinois state senator. Why not? And I think crowd-sourcing is here to stay as a regular part of the future of this publication and others.
A gem of a letter appeared in the “Free for All” page of letters in Saturday’s Washington Post.
“Kindly let us know exactly where on your Web site we should go to participate in your ‘Let’s Get Obama’ project so we can interact with the objective mainstream media,” Michael Crawford, of Great Falls, Virginia, concluded.
Instead, on Friday night ABC offered a bunch of ways to describe Melaku , who caused a major incident when his car was found hidden in bushes near the Pentagon -- starting with anchor Diane Sawyer who identified him simply as a “Marine Lance Corporal.” Reporter Pierre Thomas referred to him as “the suspect” multiple times as well as a “Marine reservist,” “a 22-year old Ethiopian American” and a “lone wolf.”
Wednesday’s World News on ABC led with a report from the left-leaning Center for Public Integrity (Arianna Huffington is one of several liberals on the Board of Directors) documenting Barack Obama’s failure to meet his promise to “change” politics as usual and thus not sell access and give jobs to big donors, a report not touched by the CBS or NBC evening newscasts.
“Today,” Jake Tapper relayed, “the Center for Public Integrity issued a report concluding that, quote, ‘about one-third of Obama bundlers or their spouses joined the administration in some role,’ and ‘80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took “key administration posts” as defined by the White House.’”
Tapper zinged: “There is a difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration, according to the Center: The Obama administration is worse.”
The night after CNN’s debate in New Hampshire with seven Republican presidential candidates, Anderson Cooper brought aboard left-wing “comedian” Bill Maher to ridicule them. Asked if he “had to vote” for one of them, he named Ron Paul since “he's a cut from a different cloth than the rest of those people who are of course selling their souls to the corporate interests who back them and who have just horrible, society-killing ideas about America.”
Later discussing Anthony Weiner, Maher used it as an opportunity to deride one of the left’s favorite targets they never tire of vilifying: “Dick Cheney used to go out and shoot birds by the hundreds that were like in a cage. To me, that's a lot more psychotic than anything Anthony Weiner ever did.” Maher insisted: “He shot and killed an incredible number of birds for absolutely no reason than a blood lust.” (Audio: MP3 clip)Video below:
Previewing Tuesday’s Early Show town hall meeting with Republicans on the economy, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, who pushes his Face the Nation guests to agree taxes must be raised, hailed a Republican, Senator Tom Coburn, for expressing a willingness to include a tax increase in deficit negotiations.
After dismissing the Republicans CBS assembled -- Monday afternoon at the Newseum -- for how they “pretty much stuck to the Republican line: Low taxes and cutting the deficit will eventually lead to economic growth,” Schieffer championed: “But it was Coburn who may have won the prize for candor.” Viewers then heard Coburn declaring: “I’ll stand up as a conservative Republican, one of the biggest deficit hawks in Congress, and say ‘I'll negotiate on taxes’ -- because our country’s in trouble.”
Much of the media made fools of themselves with their excited obsession over the release of Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial e-mails, but NBC News went the furthest, sending, as did CNN, reporters to Juneau as the network uniquely led its Friday night newscast by hyping the non-news as a major event. “On the broadcast tonight,” anchor Lester Holt heralded, “mail call. Thousands of pages of e-mail from Sarah Palin's time as Governor. What we're learning about her tonight.”
Following a story from “national investigative correspondent” Michael Isikoff in which “MSNBC.com investigative reporter” Bill Dedman had the gall to complain “we waited longer for these records than Sarah Palin was Governor, almost a thousand days,” NBC’s David Gregory recognized, in an understatement: “As Mike and his team are finding, not a lot of bombshells here.”