On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez turned to Eric Burns, the president of the left-wing organization Media Matters for America, to “fact check” Representative Mike Pence’s appearance on the program the previous day. Sanchez failed to mention the political leanings of Media Matters during the segment, and didn’t follow-up when Burns obliquely referenced his past occupation as a communications director for Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter.
Before introducing Burns, Sanchez played a clip of Representative Pence stating that he fought President Bush “on education spending. I fought my president -- was one of the 25 Republicans that opposed the prescription drug entitlement. I fought the earmarking culture and run-away spending under Republican control, and I’m going to keep fighting it as Democrats take us further down the road of deficit spending and debts.” The CNN anchor then made his introduction of the Media Matters president, omitting the left-wing stance of Burns’ organization: “Eric Burns is joining us now. He’s with Media Matters. His organization does the following -- you know what they do? They basically check to see if what politicians and people like me say on the air is truthful -- is accurate. When we make mistakes, they call us on it. I’ve been called.”
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty flat out admitted in a CNN.com commentary on Tuesday that he is “developing a crush on America’s first lady,” Michelle Obama: “Michelle Obama is more compelling than her husband. He’s good, but she’s utterly fascinating....Mrs. Obama has blown away the stale air in a White House musty from eight years of the Bushes. It’s like the sun came out and a fresh spring breeze began wafting through the open windows.”
Such high praise for a member of the Obama family isn’t something new for Cafferty. Almost a week earlier, the CNN commentator gushed over President Obama’s seeming calm in the midst of all the serious issues that the country faces: “...[O]ur president seems remarkably unruffled by all of this, serene in an inner confidence that he’s got what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight.”
CNN host D.L. Hughley turned to the standard left-wing tactic of playing the Nazi card against Republicans on his program on Saturday evening: “The tenets of the Republican Party are amazing and they seem warm and welcome. But when I watch it be applied -- like you didn’t have to go much further than the Republican National Convention....It literally look[s] like Nazi Germany.” He went on to say that blacks weren’t welcome in the party: “It just does not seem -- like not only are we not welcome -- not only are we not welcome, but they don’t even care what we think.” He later described the GOP as “reactionary.” [audio available here]
The stand-up comedian-turned-TV host made the remark during a segment with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Chuck D, a former member of the hip-hop group Public Enemy. Unfortunately, Steele did not verbally react to Hughley’s Nazi characterization. Chuck D, on the other hand, expressed his agreement with the host about blacks supposedly not being welcome in the Republican Party: “I covered the Republican convention in ‘96 for MTV...and -- seriously, their agenda was totally somewhere else, which totally -- you know, didn’t have black people or people of color in mind.” He then expressed his belief that there should be more major parties in the U.S.
CNN personalities Jack Cafferty and David Gergen continued the chorus of praise for President Obama on Wednesday evening for his first address to a joint session of Congress, twenty-four hours after he had given it. During his regular “Question of the Hour” segment on The Situation Room, Cafferty gushed that the Democrat “had that place in the palm of his hand for the entire time he was in that room” and, despite all the serious issues he discussed during the speech, that the president “seems remarkably unruffled by all of this, serene in an inner confidence that he’s got what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight.”
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s Rick Sanchez referenced New York Times columnist David Brooks and The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan as “conservatives” during a short segment about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s response to President Obama’s address before a joint session of Congress. Both men are known for their less-than-conservative stance on social issues, particularly on the issue of homosexual “marriage;” their sharp criticism of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during her bid for the vice presidency last year; and their sympathy for Obama.
The anchor cited the two writers a quarter of an hour into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program as examples of how Governor Jindal “hasn’t exactly been getting accolades from members of his own party” for his handling of the official Republican response to President Obama’s speech. Sanchez referred to Brooks as the “heralded conservative columnist for The New York Times,” and read a quote where he criticized the governor’s attack on big government: “It’s just a disaster for the Republican party. In a moment when only the federal government is actually big enough to do stuff, to say government is the problem -- it’s just a form of nihilism.” He then read an apparently sarcastic quote from “noted conservative” Sullivan: “This guy [Jindal] is supposed to be the smart one.”
CNN’s senior political analyst David Gergen was positively aglow after hearing President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening: “This was the most ambitious president we’ve heard in this chamber in decades. The first half of the speech was FDR, fighting for the New Deal. The second half was Lyndon Johnson fighting for the Great Society, and we’ve never seen those two presidents rolled together in quite this way before.” He later gushed over the agenda set by the executive during his speech: “I think we’re watching one of the greatest political dramas of our time” [audio available here].
Gergen made the remarks as he participated in a panel discussion during a special post-speech edition of the network’s Anderson Cooper 360. Eleven minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of the program, host Anderson Cooper asked the analyst for his immediate reaction to his speech. After making his lofty comparison, he underlined the apparent ambition of President Obama: “I think most people would have felt just trying to recover from this recession and stop the flow of blood, and get a recovery going would be enough for one president. He’s saying no, no, no -- we’re going to do health care reform this year....Do energy -- we’ll do education. Thankfully -- do national service, and we’re going to cut the deficit.”
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and CNN’s Rick Sanchez both poked fun of Fox News personality Sean Hannity for his on-air commercials for Stanford Coins and Bullion, which is part of the Stanford Financial Group led by Robert Allen Stanford, who has been in the news recently due to charges of fraud. It was the Huffington Post on Wednesday that pointed out the talk show host’s spots for Stanford. Olbermann named Hannity his “Worst Person in the World” on Thursday evening for the radio spots for Stanford.
Nineteen hours later, on Friday afternoon’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez gave the misleading impression that Hannity was still doing the live spots even after the news of the investigation into Stanford came out: “Sean Hannity unabashedly endorsed Robert Allen Stanford on the air to millions of potential customers -- the same Fox News host who calls President Obama a socialist.” An on-screen graphic during Sanchez’s segment indicated that his source for the story was the Huffington Post, while another graphic asked, “Who’s Your Friend, Sean?”
On Friday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Heidi Collins failed to mention ACORN’s role in sponsoring a rally against foreclosures in an Oakland, California neighborhood. During her brief, video clips from the protest clearly showed the presence of the group’s signs, name, and logo.
Collins characterized the rally as “[a]nger over the foreclosure crisis pouring out into the streets of Oakland, California -- protesters had a rally in a neighborhood where last month, more than 165 people lost their homes, or now face the possibility of foreclosure. They’re vowing to stop the banks from taking control of the properties.”
Local media in the San Francisco Bay area did a better job of covering the protest. A news brief in the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday mentioned ACORN by name: “Community group ACORN...is launching a campaign to encourage families in foreclosure to refuse to leave their homes. The group staged a rally...at the East Oakland home of Rosa Gonzalez, who has been foreclosed upon but not evicted. ACORN held similar events at foreclosed homes in Los Angeles, New York, Tucson, Baltimore, Orlando and Houston. About 100 ACORN members and local residents listened to speeches urging a moratorium on foreclosures.”
Amy Sullivan’s article on Time.com on Thursday, “The Catholic Crusade Against a Mythical Abortion Bill,” tried to downplay President Obama’s past and current support for abortion, and tried to use a technicality to “prove” that there is no chance of passage for the staunchly pro-abortion Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA): “...FOCA has also provided ammunition for those on the right who want to paint Obama as ‘the most pro-abortion president ever.’ It’s been less than a month since he took office, but so far the President has given social conservatives little evidence to back up that charge. He did repeal the Mexico City policy banning federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provide abortion referrals or services — but so did Bill Clinton.” In reality, the Obama adminstration’s record on the issue consists of much more than merely support for legislative proposals and signing executive orders.
Anchor Campbell Brown’s show on CNN is subtitled “No Bias, No Bull,” but the show displayed plenty of bias during a Wednesday night segment about Attorney General Eric Holder calling America “a nation of cowards” on race issues. Brown praised Holder for “cutting through the bull,” and a panel discussion was utterly unanimous: Gloria Borger, Soledad O’Brien, and Roland Martin all toed the liberal line and praised Holder for lambasting the nation. Martin wholeheartedly agreed with Holder’s characterization. Borger defended the first black attorney general, stating that he was “trying to be provocative on purpose,” while O’Brien thought the Obama appointee was trying to start a “honest conversation” on race.
As for ‘cutting through bull,’ Brown should have corrected O’Brien when she repeated the old radical line that somehow Black History Month is the shortest month on the calendar due to some racial slight, which completely mangles the facts. It began as “Negro History Week” and was founded by African-American historian Carter Woodson in mid-February to honor Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are on the 12th and the 14th respectively.
A discussion on The View on Wednesday about sin quickly devolved as the hosts reiterated common media myths about the Catholic Church and its teachings. Elisabeth Hasselbeck read a bogus list of seven “new” sins that the Vatican supposedly came up with, while Joy Behar misrepresented the Catholic Church’s teachings on papal infallibility. When Barbara Walters later asked what the “biggest sin” was, in their opinion, Behar and Whoopi Goldberg agreed that it was “intolerance.”
Goldberg began the discussion by bringing up how a “new study by the Vatican says that men and women sin differently. They said men are more likely to commit sins of lust and gluttony and sloth, and for women, it’s pride, envy, and anger.” She then prompted her co-hosts for their take on this. Barbara Walters joked, “Yeah. I mean, with men, it’s much more the sexual and the lust, and the women are angry that it’s much more the sexual and the lust....They cheat more.” It’s funny that the ABC veteran put it that way, since she admitted to having an affair with former Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke.
On Tuesday’s American Morning, anchor Kiran Chertry and correspondent Jason Carroll failed to mention the left-wing politics of filmmaker Michael Moore during a report about his latest project, which targets the financial industry, and included a sound bite from People Magazine’s Leah Rozen, who expressed a desire to “see Michael Moore spank Wall Street.” Carroll emphasized Moore’s credentials, and agreed with Chetry that many would rush to assist him: “They loved that ‘gotcha’ kind of filmmaking, and Michael Moore does it better than no one else and he’s about to do it again.”
The segment on Moore’s new production began with a clip from “Sicko,” his last movie, as Chetry announced that “the controversial filmmaker is setting his sights on Wall Street. He’s actively recruiting people who’ve worked in the financial sector to expose what he calls the biggest swindle in U.S. history.” As she introduced Carroll, the anchor continued that Moore “probably has a rapt audience at this point, because everything that’s happened with this financial crisis and a lot of people are blaming Wall Street.”
During a segment on the “Reliable Sources” hour of CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, PBS’s Gwen Ifill and Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson agreed that it was fine for President Obama to call on Sam Stein of the Huffington Post at his first press conference, and that the correspondent’s left-wing question on a proposed “truth committee” investigation into the Bush administration was “perfectly reasonable.” Carlson also agreed with host Howard Kurtz’s assessment that the “White House press corps not exactly rolling over for the new president.” Her response: “Never do, do they?”
Ifill and Carlson participated in a panel discussion with The Washington Times’ White House correspondent Christina Bellantoni at the beginning of the 10 am Eastern hour of the CNN program. Kurtz brought up the topic of the first presidential news conference, and specifically, how Stein was one of the reporters who asked a question: “So is this a new era for bloggers, in terms of the White House recognition?”
The Muslim founder of BridgesTV, a cable network whose slogan is “connecting people through understanding” and which tried to “improve the image of Muslims in the United States,” was arrested on Thursday, for allegedly killing his estranged wife in a manner normally associated with Islamist terrorists -- chopping off her head.
Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher, reported on Friday that Muzzammil Hassan, “a prominent Buffalo area businessman who founded the BridgesTV network to improve the image of Muslims in the U.S.,” had been charged with second-degree murder in the beheading death of his wife Aasiya Z. Hassan. Mitchell quoted from the network’s website, which described Mrs. Hassan’s “instrumental role in the creation of BridgesTV since she came up with the idea for the network.” The picture of the couple is still up on the website.
Despite the election of President Obama, Bill Maher is still not happy with his native land, due to the lack of belief in evolution. He voiced his disapproval on Thursday evening’s Larry King Live: “I read the other day, I think only four in 10 Americans believe in evolution. It’s still not a very bright country, Larry.” He later compared Sarah Palin to former American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar: “She’s like a reality show contestant who just lost, and they’re always like, you know, you haven’t heard the end of me. I’m not going. Yes, you are, Sanjaya. Good bye, bye-bye.”
Maher’s criticism of his fellow citizens came three minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour CNN program. King had asked him about the president’s first weeks in office and the proposed economic stimulus package. Despite the Obama administration’s various problems, Maher defended the president as “learning” and that “he certainly is the smartest guy we’ve had there that I can remember.” He also stated that the tax cuts that are part of the proposal “really are not stimulus.” The host then asked Maher, “Do you think he’s [Obama] going to solve this economic problem?” The comedian replied, “Well, he can’t personally solve anything....I mean this is a mess like -- and I don’t think they’re telling us really how -- how bad it is. I think that’s why Geithner was so vague the other day when he presented his plan, because I think he just didn’t want to say it’s even worse, because I think there would be more of a panic than there is.”
CNN’s Kyra Phillips marked the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth on Thursday’s American Morning by harkening back to Barack Obama’s decision to announce his candidacy for president on the steps of the Old State Capitol Building in Springfield, Illinois, where the 16th president once worked: “It was here in the Old Capitol that Abraham Lincoln gave his famous ‘House Divided’ speech. A house divided against itself cannot stand, he proclaimed. Sound familiar? Fast-forward -- February 10th, 2007, Lincoln came to life here as if it were 1858.” She then remarked that with the Democrat’s announcement, “we all witnessed Lincoln’s dream and Obama’s reality.”
The correspondent’s odd comparison came at the end of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, as part of the network’s all-day “From Lincoln to Obama” special programming. Phillips traveled to Springfield for the occasion, and began her report with another “parallel,” as she put, between the two presidents concerning their names: “For example, this campaign flag [from Lincoln’s presidential campaign]. Look at this -- ‘Abram Lincoln.’ They even spelled his name wrong. So it wasn’t just Obama that’s been having issues with his name -- also, Abraham Lincoln. Just one of the parallels that we found as we’ve been spending time here.”
CNN’s two senior political analysts, Gloria Borger and David Gergen, reacted favorably to President Barack Obama’s performance at his first press conference on Monday night. Borger highlighted how the Democrat apparently “came across as a real pragmatist.” Later, Gergen stated that it was a “classic and shrewd exercise of presidential power.”
The two analysts participated in the network’s post-press conference programming, which took up the entire 9 pm Eastern hour on Monday night. Five minutes into the hour, Borger made her “pragmatist” comment, and continued with what she gathered from the president’s remarks: “What I heard tonight was somebody who kept saying I can’t afford to see Congress play the same usual political games. But the interesting fight that we’re setting up here is whether the new president really understands the role or can cope with the role that ideology now plays in our politics today.”
With Barack Obama’s first press conference as president scheduled on Monday night, one obvious question that comes up is what kind of questions he will receive from the White House press corps. His predecessor, George W. Bush, faced some pressing questions during his first press conference on February 22, 2001.
Liberal firebrand Helen Thomas offered the most politically-charged question: “Mr. President, why do you refuse to respect the wall between the church and state? And you know that the mixing of religion and government, for centuries, has led to slaughter. The very fact that our country has stood in good stead by having this separation -- why do you break it down?” When President Bush answered that he did “respect the separation of church and state,” Thomas blasted back: “Well, you wouldn't have a religious office in the White House if you did.” Since President Obama has decided to retain Bush’s faith-based initiative (although with a new name and slightly new mission), one wonders if Thomas will press the Democrat on the issue.
On Wednesday, both CNN and MSNBC raised the specter of past bombings against abortion clinics during their coverage of an Arkansas doctor who was critically injured in an apparent car bombing. During CNN’s Newsroom program, anchor Rick Sanchez asked former DC police detective Mike Brooks if the injured physician was an “abortion doctor.” He replied, “No, no. That was the first thing I thought.” Earlier in the afternoon on MSNBC, correspondent Pete Williams noted how the victim was “a family doctor” and was “not providing controversial medical procedures like abortions.”
Sanchez’s comments came at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Sanchez first outlined how local police had initially reported the incident, which occurred earlier in the day, as being a mechanical problem with the car, and how they revised it to being a possible bombing. The anchor raised his “abortion doctor” question after Brooks, a frequent guest on Sanchez’s program, gave more details into the investigation.
During an interview of President Obama on Tuesday’s Anderson Cooper 360, CNN’s Anderson Cooper included a number of tough questions, compared to his gentle treatment of the Democrat almost a year ago, but concluded with three softball questions on the executive’s search for a family dog, his new limo, and his cigarette habit. The anchor asked the president if he had “lost some of that moral high ground” on his pledge to have an ethical administration, and why the commander-in-chief hadn’t use the phrase “war on terror” much since his inauguration.
The interview aired in three segments during the 10 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Cooper began the first segment by asking President Obama about the troubled nomination of Former Senator Tom Daschle to be the HHS Secretary: “Do you feel you messed up in letting it get this far?...What was your mistake -- letting it get this far? You should have pulled it earlier?” The anchor also asked as a follow-up, “Do you feel you have lost some of that moral high ground which you set for yourself on day one with the ethics reform?” The president’s answers on the issue included his admission that the nomination was a “mistake” and that he had “screwed up.”
Anchor Wolf Blitzer and Vanity Fair correspondent Maureen Orth raved about the core members of the Obama administration and their pictures taken by photographer Annie Liebovitz during a segment on CNN’s Situation Room on Monday. Their conversation sounded as if the two were suddenly back in high school browsing a new yearbook. Blitzer gushed over the photos of President Obama and his wife Michelle and that of UN Ambassador Susan Rice, while Orth extolled how “they [the new administration] want a green America. They really do.”
Blitzer zeroed-in on Liebovitz’s photography at the beginning of the segment, as he introduced Orth: “...[Y]ou’ve got a new cover. It’s a pretty nice cover, about the new president of the United States....These pictures by Annie Liebovitz, the photographer, are really great pictures because it says a lot about the president, the first lady.” The two first discussed a shot of the Obamas walking outside the presidential limo on Inauguration Day, and the CNN anchor just couldn’t get enough: “[T]hey were walking down Pennsylvania Avenue. Who can forget that moment?...Look at those huge smiles....They are obviously holding hands, and very excited.” Orth replied, “Yeah, total energy. That was such an energetic day all the way around.”
On Monday’s American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts interviewed former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner, and introduced her as being “added to our roster of economic analysts.” Roberts also failed to mention Hefner’s long-time support for President Obama during the segment.
The interview, which started just before the bottom-half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with Roberts giving the following introduction of the former Playboy CEO: “...[T]he economy is issue number one here at CNN....We love to get expert commentary on this, and we are pleased and proud this morning to have added to our roster of economic analysts the former CEO and chairwoman of Playboy Enterprises, Christie Hefner.” He first asked Hefner about the jobs market, and the economy as a whole. Hefner touted how that the “sense that I’m getting, in talking to CEOs, is that people are hoping for a late 2010 recovery.” Later, the anchor asked the former CEO about executive bonuses, and played a sound bite from Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who railed against the “bunch of idiots on Wall Street.” Hefner praised McCaskill’s “very good characterization” and labeled her a “pro-business Democrat,” despite her vote last year against a proposed increase in the exemption on the “death tax,” which would have aided small family-run businesses.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer went out of his way to point out the apparent lack of diversity in the leadership of the Republican Party during a panel discussion on Friday’s Situation Room. Just minutes earlier, Michael Steele had been elected the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Blitzer brought up the race of many of those who had voted for him with Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez: “Take a look at the audience, though -- and I want to show our viewers a picture of the audience. Michael Steele, the first African-American leader of the RNC -- Leslie, I don’t see a whole lot of black people, at least in that group over there.” He went on to say, “It’s encouraging. I’m sure you’re encouraged that all these white people basically elected an African-American to be their leader.”
The anchor’s comment came during the CNN program’s regular “Strategy Session” discussion. Besides Sanchez, Blitzer hosted Democratic strategist Donna Brazile during the segment. He brought up Steele’s election as the first topic. After getting both women to respond to the news, Blitzer made his comment about the seeming lack of black people. Sanchez responded by conceding to his observation, in terms of the top RNC members, but then pointed out that “if you walked around that room, there’s so much diversity there. There was so much excitement for Michael Steele.”
During Thursday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Zain Verjee exclaimed about how much “the world is waiting” for President Obama to begin his international travels: “The world wants Obama, the road show.” She also gushed over how his “rock star vibe will make his personal diplomacy a much more potent tool” and how he will be in “really big demand overseas.”
The correspondent made her “road show” comment during an introduction to a short report on the President’s first trip to Canada, which gave a little history of the past two presidents’ first foreign trips, and also possible other overseas destinations for the commander-in-chief in the near future. The report also featured two clips from Darrell West of the Brookings Institution, who highlighted the importance of international trips for President Obama, and how other world leaders will want to interact with him, in order to “get a piece of him, find out who he is, what his priorities are.”
Newsweek’s Sarah Kliff, in a January 27, 2009 web-exclusive article entitled “Pro-Lifers In Obamaland,” failed to mention how several organizations and individuals she labeled as “pro-life” have friendly relations with pro-abortion Democrats. She also tried to portray the pro-life movement as being “split” between “those who are preparing for the fight of their lives and those who see an opportunity to redefine what it means to be pro-life,” with the latter being the organizations sympathetic to the Democrats. Kliff wrote sympathetically of these groups, which are actually trying to muddy the waters of pro-life activism
Kliff began by introducing Sister Sharon Dillon, a “50-year-old former director of the Franciscan Federation” who has been “a pro-life activist since high school.” Sister Dillon “doesn't agree with Roe v. Wade,” but she’s also “frustrated with the kind of single-minded activism she sees around her.” What does Sister Dillon see as being “single-minded”? Apparently, it’s “young girls chanting, ‘hey hey, ho ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go!’” So Kliff started with the premise that wanting to overturn this Supreme Court ruling is “single-minded.”
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty, who had bashed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “starting to sound a little like Chairman Mao” the previous day, labeled Rush Limbaugh “that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio” during his usual “Cafferty File” segment on Tuesday’s Situation Room. The slam came during as Cafferty launched a mild criticism of President Obama’s first week in office on issues like his reluctance to answer questions from the press, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, and making an exception on his ban on lobbyists from his administration.
Cafferty began his commentary, which aired nine minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, by acclaiming the apparent success of President Obama’s first week in the White House: “It’s been exactly one week since Barack Obama became our 44th president -- what a week it’s been: signing executive orders; meeting with his teams of advisers on the economy, national security, Iraq, the Middle East.” He continued by focusing on how the new president has also been “learning some things along the way,” and began his critique of some of the actions by the Democratic executive, which included his smear of the conservative talk show host.
During his regular “Question of the Hour” segment on Monday’s Situation Room, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty compared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s idea to spend hundred of millions of dollars on contraception as a cost-reducing measure to the oppressive birth control policies of the Chinese Communists under Mao: “What exactly did she mean? Are the millions of dollars for contraception supposed to stop people from having babies? [That’s] starting to sound a little like Chairman Mao.”
The commentator began his 5 pm Eastern hour “Cafferty File” segment by describing President Obama’s proposed stimulus package, and how this past weekend, “lawmakers were out on their soap boxes. Democrats were selling the plan. Republicans were pointing out problems with the plan.” He then addressed Speaker Pelosi’s comments to George Stephanopoulos on This Week: “On ABC, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, defended hundreds of millions of dollars in the stimulus package earmarked for contraception. She said family planning reduces costs and explained that the stimulus plan includes assistance to states, and part of that includes children’s health and education. That includes contraception, which Pelosi said will, ‘reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.’”
On Monday’s Newsroom program, anchor Rick Sanchez trumpeted a United Nations investigator’s apparent finding against Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld concerning torture: “...[W]e’re making news here, because I just heard you on the record say that there does seem to be enough evidence to be able to make a case against Donald Rumsfeld specifically.” He also asked why Rumsfeld had been “singled out [and] not Cheney [or] Alberto Gonzalez?”
Sanchez had Manfred Nowak, the United Nations special investigator on torture, as a guest beginning at the bottom half of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. He introduced Nowak by reading a quote by the investigator himself: “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court.” Sanchez highlighted how the statement “isn’t being said by just anyone. This is being said, again, by Mr. Nowak, who is the United Nations special investigator on torture -- specific enough and important enough for us to have him on to talk about this now.”
During a segment on Friday’s Newsroom program, CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen heralded the FDA’s approval of the first human clinical trial involving embryo-destroying stem cell research. Cohen then gave a soft interview of the president and CEO of the company involved in the trial, who made the bizarre claim that new medical breakthroughs, including corneal transplants and anesthesia for women in childbirth, were supposedly “always met with concerns from the Religious Right” in the past. Cohen did not follow-up to this statement by the CEO.
The segment, which began 17 minutes into the 11 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with anchor Tony Harris trumpeting how the FDA’s approval of the embryonic stem cell clinical trial represented “major milestone in this field of research.” He then asked Cohen to “explain to us how significant a day this is.” The correspondent gushed in reply, “This is a big day, and I will tell you, I interviewed Christopher Reeve many times about stem cells, and I think he would probably be smiling if he were here to see this day.” She did not bring up the moral objections to embryo destruction in her explanation of the breaking news item which followed, just that “some say that some of this research has been overblown, and a it’s not quite as promising as many people say.”
During a short segment on Wednesday’s American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts responded to the excited demeanor of the crowds attending President Barack Obama’s inauguration by labeling the festivity “Barack-stock.” Earlier in the segment, correspondent Carol Costello dubbed it “a gigantic love fest” after she stated how there were no serious incidents or arrests involving the approximately 1.5 million people in attendance for the inauguration.
The three-minute segment, which began 20 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, focused on the reactions of those in attendance on the National Mall for the swearing-in of President Obama. After giving her “gigantic love fest” label, Costello gave a gushing account about what it was like to be in the middle of the crowd there: “Suddenly, someone would just come up and hug you. It was just amazing. It was -- it was like you were standing in the middle of these strangers, and all of a sudden, you had a million friends around you. That’s what it felt like yesterday.”