ABC’s Diane Sawyer spent a solid four minutes of her interview with President Barack Obama, as excerpted at the top of Wednesday’s World News, channeling liberal angst over Obama’s debate performance – and that’s before she allocated more than a minute to cuing up Obama to denounce a Mitt Romney comment on abortion. She prompted Obama with a harsh assessment of Romney: “Is it a lie?”
“Libya” was not even uttered in the Sawyer-Obama segment. Viewers had to wait until the next story, by Jake Tapper, on the House hearing which laid out the administration’s dissembling on what happened in Libya when Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered. Then viewers got 20 seconds -- more than half of that consumed by Obama’s defense and assurance he’ll “fix” anything that wasn’t done properly.
Liberals, Peggy Noonan noted on Sunday’s This Week roundtable, want Mitt Romney “to be more specific so that you can rouse people against” budget cuts to any program. Indeed, earlier in the program, host George Stephanopoulos cited Romney’s wish to end the federal subsidy for PBS, pointing out how PBS “only takes about 1/100th of one percent of budget” and asking if “it a mistake to target” Big Bird?
On Friday night, NBC’s Brian Williams provided a full brief in defense of PBS’s subsidy, misleadingly suggesting the end of the federal subsidy would mean the end to children’s television programming and forwarding its small share of the federal budget as a justification for it, but if you can’t eliminate the small stuff how will you ever take on the big stuff?
Catching up with an item from Wednesday, add actor Henry Winkler to the long list in Hollywood of those wishing for President Obama’s re-election, taking a swipe at Mitt Romney in the process. “I hope that the man who actually cares about 300 million Americans as opposed to very few is re-elected,” Winkler told Nikki Schwab for the Washington Examiner’s “Yeas & Nays” column.
In DC to promote medical research on upper limb spasticity, Winkler informed Schwab that’s he’s never met Barack Obama, but “I would like to get his autograph one day.”
A revelatory humorous moment on Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO: A single member of his studio audience supports Mitt Romney. How’d he get in?
When Republican political consultant Frank Luntz predicted Barack Obama would win re-election, loud applause broke out from those in the studio at CBS Television City in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. “How many of you out there support Mitt Romney?” A single person clapping could be heard, prompting Luntz to quip: “That’s the sound of one percent.”
All Clint Eastwood wanted to convey at the Republican convention “is that maybe our government would be as fiscally responsible as he is,” comedian/actor Tom Dreesen, a friend of Eastwood’s, explained Friday night on CBS’s Late Show. “And that’s all he came to say.”
David Letterman asked Dreesen, who has a role in Eastwood’s new movie, Trouble with the Curve, about Eastwood’s much-ridiculed by the media monologue with an imaginary President Obama. Dreesen declared the acting icon “has more integrity than almost any man I’ve ever met.”
For the second week in a row, on Sunday morning CBS’s Bob Schiefer identified Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s problem as not that’s he’s been too timid in laying out an alternative to President Obama but, in the tired media mantra of many election cycles, that he’s too conservative. He pressed guest Newt Gingrich: “Do you think that Mitt Romney’s got to move a little bit more toward the center here as we come toward the election?”
Last Sunday, in discussing Romney’s challenge in connecting with voters, Schieffer wondered: “Does any of this go back to the fact that what if, in the beginning” he “had said, ‘Look, I’m a moderate. You know, I know we have conservatives in this party and I know we have the Tea Party, but the fact is I’m a moderate...’”
Demonstrating that he would have made the same news judgments hostile to Mitt Romney as those who succeeded him at ABC News, in an address Thursday night to students at Quinnipiac University, Charles Gibson declared “the Republican Party has done Romney no favors by forcing him so far to the right that he may not be able to scramble back by November 6th,” castigated Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge as “absurd, absolutely absurd” and denigrated as “silly” the point that 47 percent don’t pay federal income tax.
He fretted, yet “it becomes a legitimate subject for debate for a lot of people who are Governor Romney supporters.”
Repeating a common mythology that a person’s federal income tax rate equals the effective tax rate they actually pay after deductions, ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Friday night forwarded the canard that Mitt Romney’s 14.1 percent rate is lower than what a $75,000 earner pays. NBC’s Peter Alexander, however, correctly noted “the average middle class American family pays roughly 13 percent.”
On World News, Karl reported that Mitt Romney “made $13.7 million last year and paid nearly $2 million in taxes. His effective tax rate, 14.1 percent.” Then, without citing any source, Karl asserted: “That’s a lower rate than an auto mechanic who made $75,000 in pay.”
Mitt Romney on Wednesday put into play newly uncovered video of Barack Obama in 1998 advocating redistribution of wealth, but of the broadcast network evening newscasts, only the NBC Nightly News bothered to inform viewers of the display of Obama’s far-left economic philosophy. And that only came inside the newscast’s first of two stories on media-fueled fallout from Romney’s observation that 47 percent don’t pay income taxes.
“These are tough days for the Romney campaign,” NBC anchor Brian Williams led his program, declaring: “Inside 50 days to go now until the election, and they are dealing with something of a public relations disaster.”
NBC and CBS felt compelled Tuesday night to fact check Mitt Romney’s assertion “47 percent of Americans pay no income tax” and both had to acknowledge his accuracy, but then tried to undermine Romney’s point. Noting the statistic had become “Tea Party mantra,” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell allowed “it’s true that approximately 47 percent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes, as Mitt Romney said, but,” she quickly added, “not because they are living off of the 53 percent.”
Over on CBS, Anthony Mason relayed how “Roberton Williams with the non-partisan Tax Policy Center says, to be precise, 46.4 percent of Americans pay no federal tax. But,” Mason insisted, “it’s more complicated than that.”
President Barack Obama will appear on tonight’s Late Showwith David Letterman for the second time during his presidency. Below, a reprint of my short rundown of his first appearance on the CBS show back on Monday, September 21, 2009:
David Letterman, who still regularly ridicules former President George W. Bush – and has even accused him of committing “war crimes” and lacking “humanity” – didn't hide his affinity for Barack Obama during his Monday night Late Show interview of the President, while remaining unable to contain his disgust for Bush. “I can't tell you how satisfying it is to watch you work,” a beaming Letterman gushed to Obama at the conclusion of the program.
Once again serving as the broadcast arm of MSNBC, Monday’s NBC Nightly News devoted a full segment to the supposed outrage over what Mitt Romney said in a surreptitiously-recorded video promoted by the left wing Mother Jones magazine, remarks which Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow put at the top of their MSNBC shows. And CNN soon joined in the hysteria with Anderson Cooper 360 treating it as “Breaking News.”
Of course, Romney had simply provided an obvious assessment of the state of the electorate where many have an “entitlement” mentality and nearly half avoid the income tax.
“Listen for it,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley urged viewers Friday night in trumpeting what he hailed as “a remarkable moment of candor” from President Barack Obama “when he told us the sacrifices he makes being President wouldn’t be worth it except for one thing.”
Viewers soon heard from Obama how all the sacrifice he must suffer through as President, such as “the inability to just take a walk,” is all “worth it” when he hears about how an ObamaCare provision has saved someone from dying of cancer. Yes, it takes “remarkable candor” to tout yourself as magnanimous, but you’d think a journalist of Pelley’s stature wouldn’t be so excitedly gullible.
Mitt Romney was correct in his critique of President Barack Obama’s “Arab Spring” policies but, on the timing, The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes cautioned on FNC’s Special Report, Romney should have known the media would use it against him:
You knew the media were going to obsess on this and obsess on it they did. They’re so now fascinated by this process story, using this process story to beat up Mitt Romney rather than taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture question about the policies.
David Gregory teased Sunday's Meet the Press by highlighting a clip of himself pushing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to upset conservatives in getting a budget deal, presumably by agreeing to raise taxes. “We go behind the scenes and on the record with Governor Romney less than two months before the election to press him on how he will turn around the economy and solve the nation’s debt crisis.”
NBC then showed Gregory pressing Romney: “Are you prepared to cut a deal with Democrats that would cause conservatives to revolt? Is it that important to get a deal to get us away from this fiscal cliff?”
How would the media – which barely noticed the platform dispute at the Democratic convention in which the chair clearly didn’t get the required two-thirds majority from the floor to revise embarrassing platform gaps by adding a reference to God and identifying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – react if such an incident occurred at the Republican convention?
On FNC’s Fox NewsWatch, Jim Pinkerton (his Twitter) on Saturday outlined his theory of how the news media, particularly the Today show and the New York Times, would have jumped on such an event if it had happened to Republicans.
“Writers have been bowing to the ‘fact checkers’ as submissively as Barack Obama upon meeting some anti-American dictator,” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto quipped in a devastating take-down of the rise of the news media’s so-called “fact checkers.”
In “The Pinocchio Press: The bizarre rise of ‘fact checking’ propagandists” posted on Tuesday, the author of the daily “Best of the Web Today” noted “the usual conservative complaint about all this ‘fact checking’ is the same as the conservative complaint about the MSM’s product in general: that it is overwhelmingly biased toward the left.” But, he concluded, “the form amplifies the bias. It gives journalists much freer rein to express their opinions by allowing them to pretend to be rendering authoritative judgments about the facts.”
Last week in Tampa, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, both hit Ann Romney with a pointed political contention from the left, but tonight (Thursday) in Charlotte, neither challenged Michelle Obama with any political argument forwarded by conservatives.
Williams posed a long-winded question about the Obama daughters and cued up the First Lady to assess a New York Times reporter’s take that President Obama is “‘a proud yet humbled President, a confident yet scarred President, a dreamer mugged by reality.’ Does that resemble the man you know?”
“You don’t want to put delegates in a position where they’re booing God and Jerusalem, especially on videotape,” the Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes observed on FNC’s Special Report in citing a “basic rule” for conventions, calling it “a bad moment for Democrats” since “it has to be included in all the coverage of the convention.” Hayes, it turns out, was far too generous in his presumption about media professionalism – at least at ABC News.
World News on Wednesday evening devoted 12 minutes – more than half the newscast – to the Democratic conclave, yet spiked the embarrassing decision by Democrats, which drew boos from the floor (earlier NB item with video of booing), to revise their platform to add a reference to God and identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
CNN’s Brianna Keilar cued up Sandra Fluke, Obama’s poster girl for “free” contraception and forcing religious institutions to violate their beliefs, to tar Mitt Romney and all Republicans with a derogatory comment made by Rush Limbaugh: “I’m wondering, do you think that Rush Limbaugh – now he called you, and these are his words, ‘a slut.’ Do you think that his views represent Mitt Romney and the Republican Party?”
Fluke took advantage of the opportunity to deride Romney: “I don’t need Mr. Romney to stand up for me. But I do need to have a President who can stand up to the extreme voices in his party and that’s clearly not Mr. Romney.”
Playing to a crowd of Democrats in Charlotte cheering on Democratic operative Chris Matthews as he hosted his MSNBC program, Howard Fineman blurted “I survived Tampa and am now glad to be here in Charlotte,” before he derided the Republican gathering: “That convention was like dropping a bowling ball in a sand box.” (An apparent reference to the lack of a post-convention bounce in the polls for Romney.)
“I’m frankly, fed up, with the one-sided bias,” a frustrated Newt Gingrich asserted on Sunday’s Meet the Press, citing two blatant examples. First: “Where is the outrage over overt, deliberate racism” in Vice President Joe Biden telling a black audience “if the Republicans win you will be ‘in chains’”?
Second, President Obama “voted three times to protect the right of doctors to kill babies who came out of abortion still alive. That plank says tax-paid abortion at any moment, meaning partial birth abortion -- that’s a 20 percent issue,” a position which Democrats “couldn’t defend...for a day if it was made clear and as vivid as all the effort is made to paint Republicans.”
NBC News demonstrated again Thursday night it has become little more than the more-watched broadcast arm of MSNBC, advancing the same left-wing attacks on conservatives as first trotted out on the cable side. While ABC and CBS managed to refrain from airing entire stories and interviews aimed to discredit Paul Ryan, NBC did not.
In packaging Obama campaign talking points, however, Chuck Todd had to concede the accuracy of what Ryan asserted in his Wednesday night convention address, humorously leading Todd to conclude that “what he said many times was technically factual” but, “by what he left out,” he “actually distorted the actual truth.”
NBC anchor Brian Williams reprimanded Ann Romney for saying “I believe in my heart that Mitt is going to save America,” suggesting it would have been incendiary if Michelle Obama had made such a promise.
As the two sat in the NBC News booth at the Republican convention, Williams told Mrs. Romney the phrasing “jumped off the screen to me” and maintained, without identifying the supposed source, that “someone who knows you conceded that if Mrs. Obama used words like that...there’d be all kinds of hubbub.”
“A lot of women look at the Republican platform on abortion, contraception, a number of issues,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley told Ann Romney, “and ask the question whether Republicans have women’s best interests at heart?”
Pelley’s loaded question came just after he held up his smart phone so Mrs. Romney could see how the Obama campaign “is starting a tour called the ‘Romney-Ryan: Wrong for Women’ tour, and that’s the logo.”
Defending President Obama to guest Dennis Miller, Jay Leno admired Obama for how “he has compassion for regular people” that’s “missing” from the Republican Party which is carrying out “this sort of war on women.” When, on Monday’s Tonight Show, Miller mocked the idea of such a Republican “war on women,” Leno insisted: “I think it is.”
Revealing his true political views usually obscured by his monologue pokes at Obama, Leno proceeded to argue that Todd Akin is “an idiot but he was saying what the platform is. And that’s what many believe.” Mitt Romney, NBC’s late night host allowed, “is a a good guy and a decent man” who, Leno rued, has “had to go all the way right.”
“Some Republicans wonder whether Romney is too moderate for the increasingly conservative party,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley refreshingly asked Monday night in veering from the media portrayal of Romney as a far-right ideologue. However, Pelley soon delivered the usual media line that presumed the party is too conservative. “The platform does not allow for exceptions on abortion with regard to the health of the mother or rape or incest,” Pelley told Romney in relaying a Democratic talking point.
Pelley next fretted “this Republican Party that you’re leading is not your father’s Republican Party,” recalling how “he opposed Barry Goldwater in 1964” and was “a passionate advocate for government support for housing for poor people.” Pelley queried: “I wonder how you would explain this Republican Party to your father?”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos opened his Sunday show: “Good morning and welcome to This Week. Storms brewing. The GOP convention threatened by Tropical Storm Isaac and that political hurricane from Todd Akin...”
Over on CBS, guest Haley Barbour scolded Bob Schieffer who had wondered how Republicans get the focus “back” onto the economy? Barbour called Schieffer out for his obsession on Akin: “If your first four questions are about it [Akin], it’s kind of hard getting the subject back on the economy when you want to talk about Todd Akin.” Oblivious to his role in deciding what is newsworthy, Schieffer lamely pleaded: “I want to talk about the news.”
What happens when campaign donors get the chance to have dinner with President Obama and the check comes? NBC’s Tonight Show imagined one scenario in this video run last November – but it's still reflective of Obama’s deficit spending policies – at the end of FNC’s Special Report.