MRC Study: The Real State of the Union, Big Three Networks Covering Up Obama's Failures

By many measures, Barack Obama has left the State of the Union in tatters, but the liberal media, led by the highly rated Big Three network (ABC, CBS, NBC) news shows, have attempted to cover up those holes in the Union by mostly ignoring the Obama administration’s greatest failings. From record numbers of people on food stamps, to the administration’s support of failed energy companies while rejecting an oil pipeline that would result in thousands of jobs, the Big Three networks haven’t told their viewers the full story of Obama’s pathetic track record.

The following are just a few of the glaring examples of Obama’s failed administration and the coverage, or lack thereof, the Big Three networks on their evening news shows (ABC’s World News, CBS’s Evening News, NBC’s Nightly News), morning shows (ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show, recently re-titled This Morning, NBC’s Today) and Sunday political roundtable shows (ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press) have given them.

 

Record Number of People On Food Stamps


As of October 2011, the federal government reported that 46,224,722 persons were receiving food assistance payment (Food Stamps), down slightly from the record highs earlier in that year but still more than one out of every seven Americans (14.7% of the population). Yet network coverage of this human tragedy has been paltry -- just 15 mentions on ABC (3), CBS (2) and NBC (10) since January of 2011. For the most part, the President went blameless for this sorry state of affairs. In those 15 mentions, only twice did a network reporter link the Obama administration to the sad statistic:

On the August 14, 2011 edition of CBS’s Face the Nation, Norah O’Donnell brought up the stat in a list of problems that plagued the economy as she prodded Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “You have said repeatedly that we are in much better shape than we were when President Obama took office...13.5 million more people are on food stamps today. How are we in quote/unquote ‘much better shape,’ as you argue?” And on the December 7, 2011 Today show, co-anchor Ann Curry questioned former Obama White House press secretary Robert Gibbs: “This past year more Americans are on or asking for, applying for food stamps, than ever before. Why shouldn’t Americans hold President Obama accountable?”

 

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Underplaying Importance of Keystone Pipeline

Of course, a key way to get some of those Americans off food stamps is the creation of more jobs, something approval of the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada through the United States would have accomplished. According to the American Petroleum Institute an approval from the administration could have resulted in as many as 500,000 new U.S. jobs. However, the Big Three networks gave the Keystone decision very short shrift as from November 10, 2011 (when Obama initially delayed his decision) up through January 19, 2012 (a day after Obama officially rejected the move) there were a total of just five full stories on ABC (1), CBS (3) and NBC (1) with 25 other mentions on ABC (3), CBS (9) and NBC (13).  

The one full story on ABC is particularly galling since that network has a series called “Made in America” that encourages viewers to buy products made in America so as to keep and produce more jobs in the USA. As part of that series, on the January 19, 2012 Good Morning America and World News, ABC’s Jake Tapper followed the President down to the Magic Kingdom to promote Obama’s plan to boost American jobs through tourism and, as the MRC’s Scott Whitlock noticed: “managed to shill for both Obama and his parent company as that network found time to promote both the administration’s plan to create a ‘small world full of tourists who want to spend their money’ and Disney World.”



Ignoring “The New Solyndras”


A CBS News investigation, headlined “The New Solyndras,” aired on the January 13, 2012 edition of This Morning, revealed the controversial government loan to now-bankrupt Solyndra wasn’t an isolated incident. CBS This Morning reporter Sharyl Attkisson explained, “We identified 11 green energy companies beside Solyndra that, together, got billions of tax dollars then declared bankruptcy or are suffering other serious financial issues.”

Total Big Three network number of stories or mentions of these other budding Solyndra scandals, aside from the original CBS This Morning report: 0    

U.S. Falling Behind the Rest of the World in Economic Freedom

On January 13 the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal released their 2012 Index of Economic Freedom that, “measures economic freedom in 10 specific categories: labor freedom, business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights and freedom from corruption.” The U.S. was ranked at (#10), behind such nations as Hong Kong(#1), Switzerland(#5), Chile(#7) and Ireland at (#9). The U.S. finished just slightly above Denmark(#11).

Number of Big Three network stories devoted to that embarrassment for the Obama administration: 0

When viewers watch the Big Three networks’ coverage of Obama’s State of the Union address, the question has to be asked: How many of these scandals and failures will they cover or cover up?

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.