Hours before ObamaCare's enrollment deadline, the networks provided an overall positive take on the law and allowed the White House to defend its signature legislation, leaving no room for a Republican response.
CBS highlighted the last-minute rush to sign up on the exchanges but when it reported that the final enrollment numbers would fall short of the White House's original prediction, it turned to President Obama who downplayed the shortfall. At least NBC and ABC noted that questions still need answering, like how many enrollees actually paid their first premium.
The network evening news casts have yet to report an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office that President Obama's proposal to hike the minimum wage would cost the private sector $15 billion and raise the deficit.
The CBO report came out on Wednesday, but as of Friday evening the networks have ignored it. As the Washington Free Beaconpointed out, the CBO says that Obama's minimum wage would raise the deficit by $5 billion over 10 years and cost private employers $15 billion.
To accompany ABC's tough interview of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Friday's Nightline quoted New Jersey Democrats slamming him as a vengeful "bully."
World News anchor Diane Sawyer noted that "critics remember the lure of Christie's brash personal style" before airing clips of Democrats pounding him. Sawyer pressed Christie repeatedly over New Jersey's bridge closure scandal, but she barely mentioned Benghazi in an October 2012 interview with President Obama, a month before the election.
All the networks gave positive coverage on Wednesday evening to President Obama's meeting with Pope Francis, but ABC left out the elephant in the room, the massive conflict between the Obama administration and the U.S. Catholic Bishops over the birth control mandate.
Each network reported a happy meeting; both ABC and NBC called it "historic." All the networks highlighted the consensus between the two men on fighting poverty, as ABC noted a "bond" between the two men.
In the latest of countless hate-filled smears, venom, and name-calling towards conservatives by his MSNBC colleagues, Ed Schultz accused right-wing radio on Thursday of launching a "jihad" against ObamaCare.
Announcing the new ObamaCare enrollment numbers, Schultz touted, "to me, I think this is amazing, when you consider the countless hours on right-wing radio, 600 stations across the country that basically did a jihad on Obamacare." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Without a hint of irony, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews savaged “flunker” Mitt Romney on Wednesday for his criticism of President Obama’s foreign policy.
“These Republicans, Romney, Rumsfeld, remind me of kids who flunked out of high school but come back to tap on the classroom windows,” Matthews sneered. “They're only there to get attention and otherwise disrupt those that are trying to learn. Got it? Dropouts. Flunkers.” [Video below the break.]
NBC was the only network to report on the Democratic mayor of Charlotte's arrest on Wednesday evening, but they left out his party affiliation.
Anchor Brian Williams reported that Mayor Patrick Cannon was "busted today by the FBI after a sting operation several years in the making" but ignored that he was a Democrat. This isn't the first time the networks have left out the Democratic party affiliation of a scandal-embroiled mayor.
Both ABC and NBC ignored the latest delay for ObamaCare on Wednesday evening's news casts, and CBS whitewashed any controversy until the end of its report.
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it would extend ObamaCare's enrollment deadline until mid-April for anyone who would have trouble signing up at the last minute. Not only was the administration changing its long-established deadline, but it would only use the "honor system" to verify those who had legitimate problems enrolling. CBS was the only network to report this big delay on Wednesday evening.
While on Tuesday evening the networks hyped President Obama "talking tough" to Russia and "belittling" them, only ABC pressed him on whether he was wrong about Russia during the 2012 campaign.
ABC's White House correspondent Jonathan Karl asked the President, "In the light of recent developments, do you think Mitt Romney had a point when he said that Russia is America's biggest geopolitical foe?" The World News aired the clip, as well as Obama's response that Russia is only a "regional power."
Monday's NBC Nightly News gave a nice shout-out to First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to China without mentioning the controversy that no press contingent was allowed to accompany her and her daughters.
Anchor Brian Williams warmly recapped the Obamas' trip abroad: "They have walked along a section of the Great Wall, they have visited the incredible Terra Cotta army at 6,000 strong. And the First Lady has jumped rope by local invitation."
With only a week to go before ObamaCare's sign-up deadline, the networks ignored the law entirely on Monday evening even though the latest estimate has the administration one million sign-ups short of its revised goal.
As NewsBusters reported, the networks skipped the story on Monday morning as well. That continues their trend of shelving bad news for ObamaCare, including the low enrollment numbers among young people and the administration's latest delay that let many keep their current insurance plans that the White House once called "shoddy."
While the networks swooned over President Obama's mock interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis, only ABC noted Obama's appearance on Thursday's Ellen DeGeneres Show where he plugged ObamaCare.
And ABC focused only on the shallow, touting Obama's exchange with DeGeneres over her "selfie" at the Oscars. Interestingly, they left out the President plugging his health care law. Neither NBC nor CBS even mentioned the interview after all three networks touted Obama's interview with Galifianakis where he pushed for ObamaCare.
In an interview with Chelsea Clinton on Thursday's Tonight Show, comedian Jimmy Fallon told the audience "Go to Healthcare.gov" after Clinton prodded him to shill for the law.
"I told everyone to go there," Fallon said of his interview with Michelle Obama, and added "Go to Healthcare.gov." Clinton had teed him up as an "authority" on the issue and asked him to plug the website. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Comedian Jimmy Fallon isn't known for his animosity towards the Obamas, but he "burned" the President's health care law on Wednesday's TonightShow.
Impersonating Russian president Vladimir Putin on a mock phone call with Obama, Fallon took a swipe at ObamaCare after the President accused him of forcing Russian allegiance upon Crimea: [Video below the break. Audio here.]
None of the network evening news casts have yet mentioned President Obama’s delay of the individual mandate for anyone claiming "hardship," which reportedly would exempt millions from having to purchase health insurance for two more years.
As insurance industry expert Bob Laszewski put it to CNBC’s Larry Kudlow on Thursday, Obama “essentially said if you find health insurance unaffordable, you're not going to be mandated to buy it.” And as the Wall Street Journalreported last week, ObamaCare’s newest mandate delay allows for just that:
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow launched a crusade on Wednesday night against a Michigan measure that would prevent the public from having to cover abortion in insurance plans. Maddow joined state Democrats and called the bill the "rape insurance" bill.
"Your insurance cannot even cover you getting an abortion if you got pregnant because you were raped. That's why the law's opponents are calling it the 'rape insurance' bill," Maddow reported. "I continue to maintain that over the last few years, Michigan state government has become way more insane than anyone nationally gives them credit for." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
NBC ignored its own poll Wednesday evening that had President Obama at an all-time low approval rating.
Obama received just 41 percent approval and 54 percent disapproval in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, but NBC only reported the findings on Wednesday morning's Today show in a news brief. NBC ignored that ObamaCare's approval was also underwater.
After a Republican won a bellweather election in Florida on Tuesday night, the networks made no mention of it on Wednesday evening. That came after they gave a pittance of coverage to the victory on Wednesday morning.
CBS was the only network to report on the race Tuesday evening, but even they were nowhere to be seen the night after. Correspondent Nancy Cordes had made it clear Tuesday that the race had serious implications: "Both parties see this race as a referendum on the President's health care law."
CBS was the only network on Wednesday evening to report President Obama's plan to bypass Congress and force businesses to pay employees extra for overtime work. NBC and ABC both ignored the news.
Yet CBS reported the news in a positive manner, noting how "an estimated 10 million workers stand to benefit from the President's plan." White House correspondent Major Garrett said it was "part of President Obama's push to reduce income inequality."
On Tuesday evening, the networks continued relaying the White House's plea to young voters to sign up for ObamaCare, touting President Obama's mock interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis where Obama plugged for his own health care law. ABC's Diane Sawyer called it a "bold move" and both CBS and NBC hailed the interview as a success. CBS's Scott Pelley said, "it worked. The video became the number one reason people visited HealthCare.gov today."
The networks ignored, however, the bad news of the day for the law, that enrollment numbers for young people are still far below what is needed.
CNN anchor John Berman asked medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta Friday if just a "stroke of the pen" could "change this problem" and legalize medical marijuana.
"Can't they change this? Can't a stroke of the pen change this problem?" Berman asked of the government. Dr. Gupta, a medical marijuana advocate, agreed: "you say the same thing that I do. This is baffling to me." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Thursday's OutFront, CNN's Erin Burnett teed up Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings to call for Rep. Darrell Issa's ouster as chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
After a hearing where former IRS chief Lois Lerner dodged questions on the scandal she is at the center of, CNN joined NBC in focusing its outrage instead on Issa, who cut Cummings' microphone when the latter began railing against the proceeding. Burnett called that a "new low" for Congress on Wednesday, and then on Thursday she relayed the call for Issa's removal from the Congressional Black Caucus. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
MSNBC's Chris Matthews compared CPAC to the cantina from Star Wars in a bizarre rant on Thursday's Hardball. Matthews trashed the gathering and took aim at "the Joe McCarthy imitator" Sen. Ted Cruz.
Matthews couldn't get the event name right, though: "Do you remember the bar scene in Star Wars with all those wild-eyed creatures from every part of the solar system? Well today here in Washington the whole tapestry of weirdness was reenacted at the annual convention of something called CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee [sic]." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
After being the lone network to report ObamaCare's newest delay on Wednesday morning, CBS dropped the story on Wednesday evening's newscast. Both NBC and ABC reported the news -- very briefly -- but only NBC provided criticism from Republicans.
"The White House announced late today that some will now be able to keep their plans for another two years before they have to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans immediately cried foul, calling it a political move to prevent cancellation notices from showing up in the mail just before the mid-term elections this fall," reported NBC's Brian Williams on the Nightly News.
Although President Obama's former IRS chief refused to answer questions about the IRS scandal she is at the center of, NBC's Brian Williams instead lamented the behavior of GOP congressman Darrell Issa at Wednesday's hearing.
"In Washington today, a public and startling example of the kind of behavior Congress has become known for and Congress has become gridlocked over," Williams began. NBC played a clip of the fiery exchange between Issa and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Mary.) where Cummings cried foul over the hearing followed by Issa cutting his microphone.
President Obama will be enacting yet another delay for ObamaCare, but the networks were silent about the prospect of it on Tuesday night. The administration is set to allow insurers to keep offering health plans that don't meet ObamaCare standards, and the delay will be tailored around the November Congressional elections.
The Hillclearly saw the move as political – "easing election pressure on Democrats" – since it would avoid the "firestorm" of many health plans being cancelled right before the November elections. CBSNews.com reported the news, but none of the network evening news casts touched the story on Tuesday.
On Tuesday evening, ABC again skipped its own poll showing voter disapproval of both President Obama and Senate Democrats up for re-election.
Obama's approval rating was underwater at 46 percent, while voters preferred Republican senate candidates to Democrats 50-42. The poll noted that "Anti-incumbent sentiment is largely economic in nature; as such, while there's dissatisfaction with both parties, it's pointed more at the Democrats, given their control of the big chair at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave."
Once again, TheDaily Show rolled out its conservative-hating schtick and mocked opponents of ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion in a simplistic liberal attack on Thursday.
Correspondent Al Madrigal put it point-blank to Ashley Landess, who opposes the expansion in South Carolina: "It's hard not to seem like a total [bleep] when you're saying this stuff to people. When this guy has asthma, and he's all (wheezes), you know, it's hard to argue that," he said of a subject who needed the access to Medicaid to get tests for his asthma. He treated supporters of the expansion with kid gloves; opponents like Landess were vilified. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In a clear double standard, CNN was in an uproar on Thursday and Friday over an Arizona GOP legislator's racist jokes about Latinos but has yet to report a Florida Democrat's gaffe about immigrants.
"As if lawmakers in the state of Arizona didn't already have enough negative national attention, there is this," Anderson Cooper piled on. He played state representative John Kavanagh's "racist roast" of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and added that his jokes "set off a firestorm in the Latino community." Yet a few days ago, Florida Democrat Alex Sink emphasized the importance of immigration reform because of the need for landscapers and hotel workers and CNN has said nothing.
All three networks boosted President Obama's image on Thursday evening by touting his new program for young minorities and his "personal and emotional" testimony at its launch.
"A personal and emotional event at the White House for the President today, as he spoke before a star-studded East Room audience and launched a program aimed at giving young men of color a shot at success," NBC's Brian Williams reported on the Nightly News. [Video below the break. Audio here.]