Despite teasing the segment as NASA's "ClimateGate of its own," CNN's "American Morning" did its best to present global warming as the problem and discredit skeptics by misreporting their funding on Dec. 10.
Correspondent Jim Acosta reported that NASA's climate data "shows the earth is getting hotter and changing fast" and quoted NASA scientist Thorsten Markus, who claimed rising temperatures could lead to an "ice-free" summer in the Arctic.
Markus asserted that there is "no doubt there is global warming," which Acosta used to segue into his unfair treatment of climate skeptics.
Each year the Business & Media Institute looks back on the year's news and selects the top 10 worst economic myths. Here is our 2009 list:
10. CBS, NY Times Support Ecuadorian Shakedown of U.S. oil company 9. Media Fail to Scrutinize Obama's Job Claims 8. Government Stimulus is the Answer to Our Economic Problems 7. No Tax Increases for the Middle Class 6. The Recession was Over ... by July. 5. Cash for Clunkers was a ‘Success' 4. Reagan vs. Obama on Jobs: Same Rate, Different Story 3. Health Care Reform will be ‘Deficit Neutral' 2. Tea Parties aren't made up of grassroots protestors; they're just ‘Astroturf.' 1. ClimateGate
10. CBS, NY Times Support Ecuadorian Shakedown of U.S. oil company.
Media myth: Chevron is responsible for abandoned oil wells across Ecuador.
A South American country is trying to squeeze $27 billion out of Chevron for environmental cleanup from discarded oil wells - all with the help of the U.S. news media.
CBS "60 Minutes" and The New York Times took the side of "eco-radicals" at the Amazon Defense Coalition who have filed suit against Chevron, even though the government of Ecuador signed off on the company's cleanup actions more than 10 years ago.
If ABC, NBC and CBS's judgment is correct, Tiger Woods's infidelity is more important than a climate change scandal involving high profile scientists, potentially ‘manipulated' data, and censorship of skeptics among the scientific community.
How much more important? Over 15 times. Despite the impending Copenhagen climate conference, the networks ignored the ClimateGate scandal for 13 straight days on morning and evening news programs. Finally, they got around to mentioning it in four stories during the weekend of Dec. 4 - Dec. 6 as reported on Newsbusters
Even in those climate stories reporters made sure to inform the public that, despite the Climategate revelations, "the science is solid" and "the evidence is overwhelming that man is behind climate change." On ABC, Clayton Sandell mentioned the e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia Dec. 6, but without including any of the disturbing quotes about using a "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperature, or bullying scientific publications to keep skeptics' work from being peer reviewed.
It's been nearly two weeks since a scandal shook many people's faith in the scientists behind global warming alarmism. The scandal forced the University of East Anglia (UK) to divulge that it threw away raw temperature data and prompted the temporary resignation of Phil Jones of the university's Climate Research Unit.
Despite that resignation and calls by a U.S. senator to investigate the matter, ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programming has remained silent - not mentioning a word about the scandal since it broke on Nov. 20, even as world leaders including President Barack Obama prepare to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark next week to promote a pact to reduce greenhouse gases.
MRC's President Brent Bozell called the networks' silence a "cover-up" Dec. 2.
Other news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and Associated Press have deemed ClimateGate worthy of reporting, but the networks were too busy reporting on celebrity car accidents and the killer whale that ate a great white shark. Instead of airing a broadcast news segment that might inform the public about the science scandal, both ABC and CBS relegated the story to their Web sites. There was one mention of the scandal on ABC's Sunday talk show: "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
Members of the self-proclaimed fastest-growing union in North America have started fights at town hall meetings, share office space with ACORN and spent over $60 million to elect President Barack Obama.
The left-wing, 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its president, Andy Stern, spent much of 2009 campaigning for health care reform that would include a government-run insurance plan, and for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would make it easier to unionize. Critics of EFCA say it would result in worker intimidation (not something that would bother SEIU, if its recent history is any guide).
Well-connected, Stern was the most frequent White House visitor in the first six months of Obama's presidency.
But ABC, NBC and CBS haven't reported any of those things. In fact, a search of Nexis transcripts for all of 2009 only turned up one story mentioning either SEIU or Andy Stern. That was an Aug. 20 story from Jake Tapper of ABC which identified Stern as "a close ally of the President's and the leader of a major union."
On any other day, NBC "Nightly News" would be attacking coal for being a dirty pollutant and advocating reliance on other forms of energy.
But on Nov. 15, as it began the first of its "Our Planet" segments for green week, the network used coal power as part of the argument in favor of destroying manmade dams.
"This is what the dams harness: the power of the Elwha to generate electricity. Impressive, even vital 100 years ago. But today the dams are no longer needed. Now with coal, wind and solar power, repairing the dams is just too expensive," said chief environmental correspondent Anne Thompson.
Thompson has often attacked coal power on NBC. On Feb. 21, 2009 she offered viewers plenty of reasons why building a much needed coal plant in Nevada was a bad idea. She has also supported the idea of capping carbon emissions, which would increase the cost of coal power.
But in this segment, Thompson presented the destruction of hydroelectric dams as a positive thing, bringing rivers back "to their natural state" for the sake of fish.
According to Dimon, regulators should be given "authority to facilitate failures," wipe out shareholders and unsecured creditors, fire management and liquidate assets.
Dimon said this is better than the alternative: "This is challenging but worth doing. The alternatives, neither of which is acceptable, are to perpetuate the politically, economically and ethically bankrupt "too big to fail" idea, or to try to impose artificial limits on the size of U.S. financial institutions."
Capitalism may "offer" freedom, but it doesn't provide it according to British actor and liberal activist Ian McKellen.
McKellen was discussing his latest role as "Number Two," in AMC's reinvention of the Cold War show "The Prisoner." The liberal actor told Associated Press that his character embodies "the drawbacks of capitalism."
"Capitalism offers you freedom, but far from giving people freedom, it enslaves them. That's part of the show's message," McKellen said.
That's a very different message from the 1960s original British television series which pitted individual rights and freedom against collectivism and state control.
The media gave President Obama credit during the campaign for promising not to raise taxes on the middle class. He was on the trail in New Hampshire when he made a "firm pledge" not to raise taxes on any family "making less than $250,000 a year."
Obama is doing his best to break that promise, but the network news media haven't bothered to report it. On Nov. 6 when he endorsed the tax increase-laden health care reform bill that the House of Representatives passed on Nov. 7, Obama violated his pledge.
While Obama had offered broad generalities supporting various health care reform bills under consideration in the House and Senate, the Nov. 6 statement was the first time he threw his weight fully behind one piece of legislation.
Perhaps it was an early Christmas wish, but "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer and chief medical editor Tim Johnson shared some overly optimistic thoughts about the health care bill that narrowly passed the House of Representatives Nov. 7.
Sawyer kicked off the one-sided conversation with Johnson by asking him, "Well, if the president gets his wish and a bill either by the end of the year or the beginning of next year we had a simple question: What changes first in the lives of ordinary Americans?"
Sawyer's timetable is purely imaginary. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Nov. 8 that the bill is "dead on arrival to the Senate." Graham elaborated saying, "I hope and pray it doesn't [pass] because it would be a disaster for the economy and health care."
President Obama lobbied for government stimulus almost as soon as he took office. In order to gain passage of that $787 billion spending spree, Obama warned of economic "catastrophe" including double-digit unemployment.
Roughly 9 months later, we now have proof that those billions of taxpayer dollars spent didn't stop the unemployment rate from soaring to 10.2 percent. Still, that failure didn't prevent one CNN anchor from asking if a second stimulus might be needed.
CNN business correspondent Christine Romans announced the latest jobs numbers on Nov. 6 during "American Morning. She said, "The unemployment rate is 10.2 percent. It is worse than economists had been expecting - 10.2 percent - we have hit double-digits on the unemployment rate now and this is the highest since the early 1980s. The number of jobs lost: 190,000 jobs lost in the month. That is a little worse than we had thought."
Following Romans' report, CNN anchors John Roberts and Kiran Chetry consulted author William Cohan, a contributor to The DailyBeast.com and Bloomberg, and Diane Brady, senior editor of BusinessWeek magazine. Both guests were concerned about the rising rate of unemployment and Cohan said he didn't see "anything optimistic about these numbers."
Many industries rely on migrant labor, but that is no excuse for news networks to advocate a path to legalization for illegal aliens, or - worse - to excuse employers who simply look the other way.
Yet, CNN's Jason Carroll did both in a segment for "American Morning" Nov. 5.
"You hear it, not just in the farming industry, but in the restaurant industry as well and so many of these industries - the garment industry - you know, this is what these people are looking for," Carroll said after delivering his pro-immigrant report. "They're looking for immigration reform. They feel like their businesses will go under if someone does not find a way to make some of these people who are here working, who are undocumented, and get them into some sort of legal status."
Carroll had interviewed Rob Valicoff, an apple farmer in Yakima, Wash., who owes thousands in fines because his workers' papers weren't in order. Valicoff said he checks their paperwork, but it's not a "guarantee."
Ford Motor Company took everyone by "surprise" Nov. 2, when it announced nearly a billion dollars in profit for the third quarter of 2009. The company also said it would be "solidly profitable" by 2011.
CNN repeated the announcement on Nov. 3 "American Morning," saying, "Turning now to the Big Three in Detroit, Chrysler extends its buyout offer to more than 20,000 employees while General Motors is still trying to restructure spending billions of bailout dollars, but Ford - which didn't take any cash from Uncle Sam - is back in the green again, posting a profit of nearly $1 billion for the third quarter."
The announcement was big news, but what should have caught more journalists' attention was the fact that Ford managed to turn things around without the help of a federal bailout - the very bailout reporters promoted in 2008 and 2009.
The Obama administration continues to push its "jobs created and saved" theme, taking credit for up to a million jobs on account of its $787 billion economic stimulus package (roughly a quarter of which has been spent). But some in the media remain skeptical.
Politico.com announced on Oct. 30 that White House officials planned a Friday afternoon announcement for the same day claiming "at least 1 million jobs" had been saved or created.
Other news outlets, including NPR and CNN, focused on a lower White House claim the same day saying that "more than 650,000 jobs have been saved or created" under the stimulus.
The higher claim of 1 million was based on extrapolation - the White House report examined the first $150 billion of $339 billion stimulus funds spent so far.
Apparently all it takes for CNN to realize the greatness of capitalism is to reminisce about childhood trick-or-treating.
CNN's "American Morning" condemned socialism and praised capitalism on Oct. 30. No, they weren't discussing big bailouts or entrepreneurs. They were talking about Halloween candy.
"Okay. This is the most, this is the most capitalist of holi- this holiday is so capitalist. It's about getting the most for the least amount of work right," exclaimed business correspondent Christine Romans.
Romans was telling anchors John Roberts and Kiran Chetry that Zillo.com tracks the best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating based on "how rich the neighborhood is, how drivable it is, its crime rate - so that you can teach your children to make sure they can get the most, best candy with the least amount of effort. I love that."
Remember the Cash for Clunkers (CARS) program the network media liked so much? Well, according to analysis from Edmunds.com the government spent $24,000 per car when you subtract cars that would have been sold even without the program.
CNNMoney.com reported Oct. 29 that only 125,000 vehicles sold under the program (out of 690,000) "would not have been sold anyway," according to Edmunds.
The government allotted $3 billion for the CARS program, but Edmunds' said that more than 80 percent of those cars would have been purchased anyway.
Despite misgivings from Anwyl and others, the network news media embraced the government giveaway. All three networks described it as a "victim of its own success" AFTER it ran out of taxpayer funding in its first week.
"Good Morning America" is at it again. The ABC program waged another battle against food companies Oct. 26 by focusing on an "eye-popping report" about cereal marketed to children.
Dan Harris introduced the segment saying, "This really is a scathing report. Not only does it accuse the food companies of pushing the least nutritious cereals to kids, but it also says the companies' promises to police themselves are hollow. What's more the study authors say they have proof for parents that kids will eat unsweetened cereals if they're offered."
But his two minute 58 second segment devoted a meager 21 seconds to defending cereal makers, and never mentioned the role of parental responsibility.
Harris complained that the Yale study from Kelly Brownell found the "average preschooler sees 642 cereal ads a year, the vast majority of them for sugary cereals: a marketing tsunami that is exacerbating the nation's childhood obesity epidemic."
When a UFO shaped helium balloon took off from Colorado, possibly harboring a 6-year-old boy, the broadcast and cable news organizations were transfixed. But when it turned out to be a possible "publicity stunt" the networks continued to give it enormous amounts of coverage.
That's exactly the opposite of the way the networks covered made-up quotes attributed to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh that had portrayed him as racist.
ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today" devoted 80 minutes and 55 seconds to the story of "balloon boy" Falcon Heene on Oct. 16, when it was clear the boy had not been in the balloon and even after the boy told CNN's Larry King that he was hiding because "we did this for the show."
But since the fictional Limbaugh quotes were exposed, the networks spent only 47 seconds discussing it. Only ABC addressed it at all - on "World News with Charles Gibson" Oct. 12 and re-airing David Muir's brief on "Good Morning America," the next day.
That included a comment from Limbaugh defending himself saying, "They have to go somewhere to find concocted quotes, which are now bordering on slander, libel, whatever it is."
National Public Radio is making a change and has sent out a "guidance" email to member stations on the issue.
NPR'S deputy senior supervising editor Joe Neel drafted an e-mail that was sent out Oct. 14 to member stations addressing the number of uninsured. The e-mail clarified proper use of Census Bureau statistics and advised staff to "avoid the construction '46 million Americans.'" That number has been a flashpoint throughout the health care debate.
The NPR e-mail said, "We are sticking with the 46 million number issued by the Census Bureau in September (for 2008). It's the number of people in the U.S. who lack insurance coverage at any point during the prior 12 months. It includes citizens, legal residents and undocumented immigrants."
Michael Moore makes propaganda movies and many in the news media embraced his latest screed against the free markets: "Capitalism: A Love Story." To NBC, hating capitalism makes Moore a go-to expert for Wall Street bashing.
"Today" interviewed Moore, along with MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan on Oct. 15, in a hit piece on Wall Street bankers and bonuses.
Moore reacted to the bonuses with condemnation of the capitalist system saying, "And I mean, I mean, Matt, these people, they burned down our economy. They completely crashed it. And now they're getting rewarded for it. It'd be like if I burned down your house today and then tomorrow you send me a check for it thanking me. I mean, it's, it's absolutely insane that we allow this to happen. But not surprising, because that's our capitalist system. They can get away with it because it's legal."
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, is a media darling now that she was the only Republican to break ranks and vote a health care reform bill out of the Senate Finance Committee Oct. 13. "Good Morning America" interviewed Snowe about health care reform on Oct. 14 and didn't challenge a misleading statistic about the number of medical-caused bankruptcies.
Snowe, who backed the $829-billion bill, claimed that "62 percent of all bankruptcies are a result of medical debt. I can't imagine that kind of anxiety. It's one thing to deal with an illness, quite another to deal with the fact you don't have the insurance to cover for it."
The senator did not mention the source of her claim or point out that respondents to the study she cited didn't even agree with that result. CNN.com reported on June 5 that the 62 percent figure came from a Harvard Medical School study that would be published in The American Journal of Medicine.
CNN attacked the practice of earmarking and criticized a few senators for doing it on Oct. 9, but the segment from Dana Bash didn't mention President Obama's campaign promises on the issue or his failure (thus far) to fulfill them.
"Earmarks," John Roberts teased as he introduced congressional correspondent Bash's segment. "We heard that word a lot during the presidential campaign last year. While they're perfectly legal, critics see them as conflicts for members of Congress and a troubling way to get deals done."
After an introduction like that it would have been natural to include what Obama said on the campaign trail about earmarks.
Unemployment rose again in September, to 9.8 percent, with 263,000 jobs lost according to Bureau of Labor Statistics release. That followed months of positive economic coverage from the networks and begs the question: how with the network news spin that tonight?
The network news media have been manipulating bad jobs reports in Obama's favor since March as the unemployment rate rose from 8.1 percent in February to 9.7 percent in August. Reporters have found rehired people "doing backflips," in 2009, but the last time unemployment was that high network journalists found people living under bridges and plenty of "hopelessness." That was under President Ronald Reagan in 1982. But when Reagan was facing a similar rising unemployment rate the networks attacked him with it, month after month.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson illustrated how dramatically different the network coverage of Reagan and Obama really were by covering the exact same numbers in totally opposite fashion.(Watch video)
Unemployment is currently at a 26-year-high of 9.7 percent and expected to continue rising. The last president to govern with such high unemployment was President Ronald Reagan.
But in 1982, when unemployment was rising similarly to the way it has in 2009 the network news media were merciless quoting attacks from Democrats, union leaders and the unemployed to attack Reagan's "sadistic" fiscal policies.
2009 was a different story, for a different president. Even though unemployment has shot up from 8.1 percent since February, network reporters looked for "hopeful signs" of an economic turnaround in their jobs report.
The Business & Media Institute just released a Special Report: Networks Flip Flop on Jobs that exposes that double-standard of unemployment coverage from 1982 and 2009 (See video below). The full report is available here, but here are some of our major findings:
Millionaire Michael Moore says capitalism is evil and that the entire system should be thrown out for one that is "democratic" and "fair."
That's the overarching message of Moore's new documentary, "Capitalism: A Love Story," which will be widely released Oct. 2. The film won two prizes at the Venice Film Festival and was lauded by critics there and at the Toronto Film Festival. Now Moore is being warmly greeting in softball interviews by television anchors and reporters - particularly on ABC.
ABC's "Nightline" ran an 8-minute long segment Sept. 22 interviewing Moore and showing clips of his film, an it received an additional five minutes on "Good Morning America" Sept. 23. ABC didn't include a single critic of Moore in those 13 minutes, and neither segment rebuked Moore for past lies in his movies.
The film has generated uncritical buzz among many other news outlets including MSNBC, The New York Times, Associated Press and "The Jay Leno Show." He is also scheduled to be a guest of "Larry King Live," "The Situation Room," and "The View" Sept. 23 and 24. Four networks, a wire service and three out of five major newspapers will have covered the movie in the span of a week.
The Labor Day holiday is almost upon us and the networks are likely to spend it talking about vacation, barbequing and holiday sales instead of examining the 2009 victories of the labor unions. In fact, all year they avoided talking about the many recent blessings organized labor has enjoyed.
The United Auto Workers (UAW), which donated more than 99 percent of its $25.4 million to Democratic federal candidates in the past 20 years, had a particularly good year, at least compared to other stakeholders as General Motors and Chrysler struggled and were forced into a government-managed bankruptcy by the White House.
Those auto company bailouts and bankruptcies were major stories this year, yet the network news media rarely discussed union causes of the car companies' inability to compete, and the high cost of union labor compared to non-union labor. In fact, in some cases the UAW was portrayed to evoke sympathy from viewers.
NBC's Lester Holt said that the UAW had "made major concessions," on May 29 which would save GM $1.3 billion a year. CBS described it as "swallowing a bitter pill." That's a surprising choice of words since, when all was said and done, the UAW's health fund ended up with 17.5 percent of GM shares and 55 percent of Chrysler shares.
What is it about consequences that the liberal media and government simply cannot grasp?
CNN "Newsroom" admitted Aug. 27 that new car prices are "expected" to go up as a result of the government Cash for Clunkers giveaway.
Heidi Collins told viewers, "The success of the Cash for Clunkers program may be pushing new car prices higher. Dealerships are expected to have lower inventory over the next few months, meaning higher prices for consumers. Around 700,000 people took advantage of the Cash for Clunkers program."
Collins' use of the word "success" to describe the program was consistent with the media's advocacy of the program. All three broadcast networks called it a "victim of its own success," after the initial $1 billion in funding ran out after just a week - instead of the 14 weeks projected.
The threat of a government-run public option plan in health care legislation was frightening enough to spur thousands of people to attend town hall meetings across the country and voice their dissent, sometimes angrily.
Now legislators and the national media are talking about a possible "compromise" that could replace the public option with health care co-ops. Conservatives are concerned that such an attempt will just be "government health care in yet another set of clothes," but national broadcast or print media have practically omitted that perspective.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stirred up those concerns July 9 when he said, "We're going to have some type of public option, call it 'co-op,' call it what you want."
According to Nexis, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, as well as the five major newspapers, ignored this admission from Reid. In fact, on the three broadcast networks Reid wasn't even mentioned in any of the 21 health care co-op stories. More than half of those stories (12) used the word "compromise" to discuss the co-ops and only 2 conservatives critical of co-ops were included.
CNN went searching for an example of health care reform without a public option on Aug. 20. Correspondent Jim Acosta found such a “model” in Massachusetts, but downplayed the state program’s flaws.
“What do you get when you take the public option out of health care reform? Well, according to some experts you get Romney Care,” Acosta said. “Three years after enacting its own version of reform, Massachusetts now has near universal coverage. Taxpayer watchdogs say it’s affordable … health care experts say it’s popular.”
Acosta included former Gov. Mitt Romney, Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation and Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health in his segment -- all supporting Romney Care.
The Senate stepped in to save Cash for Clunkers Aug. 6, giving it a $2 billion extension. But on Aug. 7, CNN.com found a big difference between independent analysis and government claims of which cars were most popular buys.
"The discrepancy is a result of the methods used. Edmunds.com uses traditional sales measurements, tallying sales by make and model. The government uses a more arcane measurement method that subdivides models according to engine and transmission types, counting them as separate models," Valdes-Dapena wrote.