CNN's John Berman pressed White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Friday's New Day over President Obama's eyebrow-raising disclosure that "we don't have a strategy yet" to deal with ISIS inside Syria. When Earnest claimed that "we do have a comprehensive strategy for dealing with" ISIS, especially in Iraq, Berman shot back, "ISIS has been in Syria for quite a long time. How can you have a comprehensive strategy for dealing with ISIS at all if it doesn't include Syria?"
The anchor later wondered, "Did the President just announce to ISIS leaders that he has no intention to strike them with military action in Syria in the next few days or weeks?" Earnest asserted that Mr. Obama's remarks sent "a very clear message to everybody around the world." However, Berman wasn't buying his guest's spin: [video below the jump]
Sean Hannity confronted Anjem Choudary on his Fox News Channel program on Wednesday over the Islamist's unapologetic support of ISIS. The two repeatedly talked over each other, with the American talk show host hounding Choudary if he supported the terrorist group's genocidal campaign in Iraq and Syria.
The U.K.-based radical Muslim contended that the multiple account of atrocities by ISIS forces, especially against Christians and Yazidis in northern Iraq, were lies that were being used to discredit the Islamist group: [video below the jump]
Mark Litke hyped the "population explosion – what some are calling a crisis" in the Philippines on Sunday's PBS NewsHour Weekend, and played up how poor "families in Asia's most Catholic country...have had little or no access to contraception or family planning advice." Litke confronted a retired Catholic archbishop on his Church's teaching against birth control: "If the people of the Philippines are in support of...contraception...why would the Church oppose any of that?"
The former ABC correspondent later lamented how the Supreme Court of the Philippines protected the religious liberties of Catholic institutions in the country as it upheld a "new reproductive health care law" that subsidizes birth control: [video below the jump]
On Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, Carol Costello refreshingly complimented Burger King's planned merger with Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons as a "very smart business move" that will "save the company money." Costello turned to CNN correspondent Christine Romans, who spotlighted how "corporate taxes are lower in Canada than they are in the U.S.," and that "the stock is up because everyone on Wall Street...thinks this is going to lower the tax bill for Burger King."
The anchor also brought on Curtis Dubay of the conservative Heritage Foundation, who underlined that "our tax code makes it uncompetitive around the world. And so, they're doing something to get out from under that burden. They're doing what's right for their shareholders and their owners....What has to be done is the tax code has to be reformed. We have to have corporate tax reform." This prompted Costello to lament that Congress probably won't do anything to reform the tax code: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday, outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins ran to the defense of the all-too-common practice of aborting Down Syndrome babies in a series of posts on Twitter. Dawkins endorsed the New Republic piece of fellow atheist Jerry A. Coyne, which slammed the Catholic Church for its "medieval morality" of opposing abortion, and added that "Ireland is a civilised country except in this 1 area....You'd think the Roman Church would have lost all influence."
When pro-lifers challenged his support for this form of eugenics, Dawkins replied, "Yes, it is very civilised. These are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings." He later asserted that such abortions are the only moral option (Twitter post below the jump):
On Tuesday's This Hour, Michaela Pereira endorsed guest L. Z. Granderson's take on the media's extensive coverage of the ongoing turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown. The liberal commentator pointed out that "this past weekend, we had over 30 people shot – seven of them died – in the neighborhoods in Chicago – many of them black and brown. None of that was covered." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Pereira replied to Granderson by asserting that "because of Ferguson, Chicago is sort of taking a back seat in the headlines. And Chicago's a very concerning thing, and we need to keep watching. We need to keep addressing what's going on there." One wonders if the anchor will criticize her own network, as CNN has only mentioned the violence in the Windy City twice over the past week. Back on the August 13, 2014 edition of The Lead, Jake Tapper cited a recent column by Jesse Jackson:
Vox's Max Fisher shamelessly invoked medieval history in a Monday post about Pope Francis. Fisher highlighted the pontiff's support for action against ISIS's "unjust aggression" in Iraq, and hyped that "there is good precedent for this...between 1096 and 1272 AD, popes also endorsed the use of Western military action to destroy Middle Eastern caliphates. Those were known as the crusades; there were nine, which means that this would be number 10."
The former Washington Post journalist immediately set the tone with the title of his post: "News from 1096 AD: Pope endorses military force to destroy Middle Eastern caliphate." Fisher continued in this vein in his lead paragraph:
On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, Dr. Gail Saltz blasted Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow for his jab at Michelle Obama's weight: "To be criticizing people, kind of, willy-nilly is – I don't think meets the Hippocratic Oath." She played up how Dr. Ablow previously hinted that Vice President Biden might have dementia, and claimed that the psychiatrist violated "American psychiatric guidelines, which is not to diagnose someone that you have ever met." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Host Brian Stelter wondered if there's "this urge to be entertaining; to be provocative; to be outrageous." Dr. Saltz asserted that she tries "very hard every day to resist that," and that "any professional wants to express their opinion that has nothing to do with medicine, they have to carefully take off their doctor hat, and make it clear that they're doing so." The CNN guest should take her own advice, as she diagnosed conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as a "bully" in October 2009:
NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast on Friday to cover ISIS's ongoing rampage against non-Muslims in northern Iraq. Chris Jansing filed a full report on the heartbreak for a Yazidi community in Nebraska, who have lost family to the Islamist group's campaign of terror. By contrast, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both found time to air news briefs on the historical gaffe in a photo promoting the new season of PBS's Downton Abbey.
Jansing interviewed several Yazidis for the segment, who detailed the atrocities that ISIS is inflicting on their minority community: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out for zeroing in on the plight of Catholics in China, as it covered Pope Francis's trip to South Korea. Seth Doane noted the Pope's overflight of the communist country, and pointed out how "that's significant, because the last time a pope wanted to fly through Chinese airspace was in 1989, and Beijing refused the request." The Pope at that time, St. John Paul II, took a vocal stance against the communist regime in his native Poland.
Meanwhile, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today touted the Pope "making history" with his trip, as he is the first pontiff to visit South Korea in 25 years. Both newscasts also hyped the temporary Popemobile – something that CBS This Morning left out of its coverage: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Wednesday failed to notice the Obama administration's latest revelation about ObamaCare: that more than 300,000 people who signed up for health plans under the controversial law could lose them because they failed to prove they were legal residents of the U.S. Instead, ABC's World News aired a full report on a "beauty queen's" insurance scam, while CBS Evening News gave 19-second news brief on the Perseid meteor shower.
Elizabeth Hartfield detailed the federal government's admission in an online report for CNN.com's Political Ticker blog on Wednesday. CNN anchor Michaela Pereira summarized this reporting during a 18-second news brief on Wednesday's New Day: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, with the assistance of the conservative organization Judicial Watch, filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Servies on Friday, seeking records related to the ObamaCare website, HealthCare.gov. Attkisson announced the lawsuit on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon: "I'm suing the federal govt for http://healthcare.gov docs but not optimistic since they now say some are lost... "
Before she parted ways with CBS, the journalist filed two reports in late 2013 about the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov. On the November 4, 2013 edition of CBS Evening News, Attkisson spotlighted how the Obama administration launched the website without proper security protocols:
CNN's Jim Acosta ran to the Obama administration's defense in a Monday post on Twitter. Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, replied to Acosta's previous Tweet reporting that Vice President Joe Biden "called Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi to congratulate him." Fleischer wondered, "Why is Biden making these calls? It's POTUS's [President of the United States] job..."
The journalist complimented the Bush administration alumnus for his "good question," and continued by emphasizing Biden's supposed expertise with the Middle Eastern country: [Twitter post below the jump]
The Big Three networks steered clear of labeling the Islamist group ISIS "terrorists" on their evening newscasts on Friday. Instead, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News labeled the genocidal radicals "militants." NBC Nightly News used the more benign "rebels" in their coverage of the group's latest attacks on the Kurdish part of Iraq.
The closest that a journalist at ABC, CBS, or NBC got to using the "terrorist" label was Scott Pelley's teaser at the very top of CBS Evening News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
As of Tuesday morning, ABC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Associated Press report that revealed the Obama administration's covert program in Cuba that attempted "recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism" on the communist-dominated island. The AP outlined that "over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development...sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba."
By contrast, both CBS This Morning and NBC's Today set aside air time to the scoop. NBC's Natalie Morales gave a 32-second news brief on the clandestine program: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry program on Saturday, Dean Obeidallah injected race into the debate inside the U.S. over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict: "You saw a poll last week, young people 18 to 29: only 25 percent think it's justified what Israel is doing; 50 percent said, no. People of color, same numbers...It's really the Obama coalition versus white conservatives. That's the only group saying – the majority saying what Israel is doing is justified."
During the same panel discussion, American University's Hillary Mann Leverett made a very peculiar assertion about anti-Jewish sentiment in the Middle East – that from a historical perspective, European anti-Semitism was supposedly much worse than Islamic anti-Semitism: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
As of 5pm ET on Friday, August 1, CNN has yet to cover the investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over his possible obstruction of a commission trying to expose political corruption in the Empire State's government. Instead, New Day, the network's morning show (which is co-anchored by the governor's brother, Chris Cuomo) has covered seemingly more important stories, such as the controversy surrounding the NFL's two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
The New York Times broke the Cuomo investigation on July 23. Since then, the only Big Three morning or evening newscast to cover the story has been CBS This Morning. The morning show aired a full report on Friday about the possible witness tampering. Fox News Channel's Carl Cameron also covered the scandal on Friday's Happening Now: [video below the jump]
Carol Costello badgered Congressman Matt Salmon on Thursday's CNN Newsroom over Congress choosing to go into recess instead of dealing with issues like illegal immigration: "Congress is again the butt of jokes on late-night TV. Rome burns and lawmakers go on vacation....Why don't you guys just stay in Washington and deal with problems like immigration?"
Costello later hounded the Arizona Republican for the House of Representatives' vote to sue President Obama, and wondered, "Why didn't Republicans vote to impeach the President then?" She also rattled off a list of GOP politicians who had raised the specter of impeachment in the past: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC's World News stood out as the sole Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to not cover the release of Lois Lerner's e-mails, where the former top IRS official slammed conservatives as "a**holes" and "crazies." Instead, the news program devoted full reports to the water main that burst on the campus of UCLA and the controversy over usage charges on cell phone bills.
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Wednesday both set aside about two minutes each of air time to Lerner's "salty language," as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell put it: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams left out a key detail from his news brief about his network's upcoming live production of Peter Pan. Williams noted that "Allison Williams will play the role of Peter Pan," but left out that the actress is his first-born child.
During the 37-second news brief, the anchor mentioned that the younger Williams is "currently in the cast of Girls on HBO," and included a detail about his daughter's childhood: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
CNN's Anderson Cooper targeted former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura in a Tuesday post on Twitter, after a jury awarded the ex-governor of Minnesota over $1.8 million in damages in a defamation lawsuit against the estate of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, is the executor of her deceased husband's estate.
In the Tweet, Cooper expressed his disbelief over the lawsuit, and wondered what was wrong with Ventura: [post below the jump]
Tuesday's CBS This Morning broke out the kid gloves for Laverne Cox, and zeroed in on how the Orange is the New Black actor is "the first openly-transgendered woman ever nominated for an acting Emmy." Charlie Rose spotlighted how "there are people contacting you saying, my God – thank God for you being there, because they've been struggling with identity. And all of a sudden, you give them hope."
When Norah O'Donnell touted how her guest's Time magazine cover was "second to the Pope, in terms of interest online," Cox underlined the apparent divine plan behind this success, but then asserted that his biological identity was foisted upon him: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the dire situation of Christians in Iraq, particularly after ISIS's takeover of the key city of Mosul. The Islamic extremist group drove most of the Christians out of the city, and issued an ultimatum to those who remained: covert to Islam, pay a hefty tax, or face death. Refreshingly, the New York Times spotlighted the crisis in a Thursday op-ed, and noted that the Christian community in Mosul has lived there for nearly 2,000 years.
The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church, Ignatius Yousef Younan III, along with Fox News Channel's Father Jonathan Morris, detailed ISIS's anti-Christian pogrom on Wednesday's Fox and Friends: [video below the jump]
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams reported the Apollo 11 astronauts' meeting with President Obama to mark the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, but failed to mention that only photo journalists were permitted to cover the event. Williams spotlighted Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins's visit to the White House, and how "with them in spirit in the Oval Office today was the late, great Neil Armstrong."
During his minute-long news brief, the anchor also pointed out a former NASA administrator's warning about the current state of the U.S. manned spaceflight program: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Wednesday's NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast to notice the criticism of the Obama administration banning U.S. airliners from traveling to Israel. Prominent politicians from both sides of the political spectrum, including Senator Ted Cruz and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have denounced this move by the FAA. Senator Cruz accused the administration of using the "federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel."
Anchor Brian Williams zeroed in on Bloomberg's blunt critique of the travel ban, as he introduced a report from correspondent Richard Engel: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Government Accountability Office's investigation of ObamaCare's sign-up process that uncovered that fraudulent documents were able to procure federal health plans and subsidies. On Wednesday, Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post reported that "undercover GAO investigators tried to obtain health plans for a dozen fictitious applicants....All but one of the fake applicants ended up getting subsidized coverage — and have kept it."
Brian Williams glossed over this GAO investigation on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, but set aside 21 seconds of air time to tout the latest enrollment numbers for ObamaCare: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Monday's CBS Evening News was the only Big Three morning or evening newscast to cover the conviction of Azamat Tazhayakov, who was found guilty of obstructing the investigation into the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Jurors also convicted Tazhayakov of taking part in a "conspiracy with his off-campus roommate to hide incriminating evidence in the days immediately after the attack," as reported by the Boston Globe on Monday.
Anchor Scott Pelley gave a 19-second news brief to the conviction of the former student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Sunday's Media Buzz, Senator John McCain brushed off Jon Stewart's latest blast at him over the Iraq War. Host Howard Kurtz wondered, "Is Jon Stewart fair to Republicans?" McCain bluntly answered, "No, but it doesn't matter really. He's a comedian." When Kurtz brought up Stewart's "sizable following among young people," the Republican contended that "he's a very entertaining and funny guy, but...when he says things...that are absolutely wrong, he gets away with it."
Earlier in the interview, the Fox News Channel host raised the conservative critique about the liberal media's deferential treatment of President Obama. Kurtz wondered if that was less true since his second inauguration: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday, Reuters's Carey Gillam underlined that the "embattled" Catholic bishop of Kansas City, Missouri is under "scrutiny," as she covered a former church employee's lawsuit against his diocese. The litigant, Colleen Simon, asserts that "she was wrongfully fired from her salaried position as a pastoral associate after her marriage to another woman was mentioned in a local newspaper."
Gilliam spotlighted how Simon filed her suit less than a year after an arbitrator ordered Bishop Robert Finn and his diocese to pay $1.1 million to the victims of a priest who sexually abused children:
The Catholic League's Bill Donohue blasted "sick man" David Letterman for his Wednesday night sketch making light about Pope Francis's recent remarks about priestly celibacy. The segment repeatedly featured a group of young women screaming ecstatically over the news that the Pope is "now thinking about lifting the celibacy requirements for priests." He also aired a fake CNN news report featuring the pontiff giving a sex ed lesson to bishops at the Vatican. [video below the jump]
Donohue's Thursday statement, titled "Letterman Should Avoid Sexual Jokes," underlined the CBS's host admission from nearly five years ago that he had sexual escapades with several of his female staffers (it should be pointed out that MRC President Brent Bozell serves on the board of advisors for the Catholic League):