ABC continued ignoring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move on Tuesday to drop a proposed federal ban on so-called assault weapons. Neither Wednesday's World News nor Thursday's Good Morning America covered the congressional development. This lack of coverage stands out in light of the network's hype of President Obama's supposedly "dramatic and emotional" lobbying effort for the ban during his State of the Union address.
NBC and CBS's Wednesday evening newscasts also ignored Senator Reid's deep-sixing of the gun control legislation. Their morning shows on Thursday devoted news briefs to Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "renewed call" for the assault weapons ban, but failed to explicitly mention the Nevada Democrat's role in dropping the bill.
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which began on Monday. Gosnell is charged with murdering seven babies who were born after viability in his rundown abortion facility. The Big Three also gave the story minimal coverage back in January 2011, after the Philadelphia physician was arrested. ABC completely ignored it, CBS Evening News aired one full story, and NBC gave just 50 words on Today.
Even the New York Times covered the trial in a Tuesday article, though it appeared on page A-17. Writer Jon Hurdle documented how Gosnell is charged with killing the babies by "plunging scissors into their necks and 'snipping' their spinal cords."
Allen Pizzey readily identified Pope Francis as a "conservative" on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, but failed to give an equivalent ideological label to Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who attended his installation Mass in St. Peter's Sqaure. Pizzey spotlighted the apparent "stark contrast" between the new pontiff and the two liberal politicians, whom he described as being "pro-choice and support[ing] same-sex marriage."
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS ran to the aid of dissident Catholic sisters in the U.S. and recycled many of its talking points from their sympathetic coverage of the sisters' "Nuns on the Bus" tour in 2012. Bob Simon trumpeted the supposed "rock star" status of the leader of the sisters' coalition and tossed mostly softball questions at her. He also repeatedly used the loaded term "Inquisition" to ballyhoo the apparent "crackdown" against the heterodox nuns.
Simon made his slant toward the dissenters clear when another prominent dissident sister compared the battle between the bishops and her allies to a schoolyard battle of the sexes: "The boys played the girls. And for once, the girls won, and the boys are upset." The journalist replied, "Isn't that what it's all about?"
On Thursday's World News, ABC News correspondent Terry Moran acted like it was a big surprise that newly-elected Pope Francis stands by the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality: "Now, as the world comes to know him, it turns out, on many issues, Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
By contrast, CBS surprisingly reported on the continuing persecution of the Catholic Church in China on Friday's CBS This Morning. Though he didn't explicitly label the Chinese government as communist, correspondent Wyatt Andrews noted how "millions of the faithful worship in groups at home, praying in underground churches where religion, if practiced too openly, can lead to arrest." Andrews' report stands out from his network's biased coverage of the papal election.
CBS wasted little time to play up newly-elected Pope Francis' "conservative" views on issues like abortion, same-sex "marriage", and birth control. On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell underlined how the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was "described as a staunch conservative". Mark Phillips also used the "conservative" label, and pointed out how the Pope's doctrinal stand has "not made him popular with relatively progressive Jesuit brothers."
Charlie Rose also pressed New York City Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan during the morning newscast about "doctrinal changes on ordination of women, on celibacy, on divorce." When Dolan emphasized that "doctrine can't change," Rose interjected, "But how do you respond to the fact that this really is the century of women?"
During CBS's special coverage of the papal election on Wednesday, correspondent Mark Phillips singled out two dissenters from Catholic tradition in the middle of a crowd of hundreds of thousands in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, mere minutes after the white smoke went out of the Sistine Chapel's chimney, and before Pope Francis emerged onto the balcony over the piazza.
The two activists, who wore pink "ordain women" pins, not only sought to change the Catholic Church's teachings on the all-male priesthood, but spotlighted "LGBT issues [and] reproductive health care" – a thinly-veiled reference to abortion and contraception – as issues that need to be drastically changed inside the Church. [audio available here; video below the jump]
Scott Pelley's liberal bias got the better of him on Monday's CBS Evening News as he interviewed three American seminarians studying in Rome. When one seminarian expressed his hope that next pope continues the "beautiful legacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI," Pelley replied incredulously, "But you mentioned two popes who have a reputation for being doctrinally conservative. And this is something you'd like to see carried on?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Hours later, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, the Big Three network again gave a platform to agitators who aim to radically alter the Catholic Church's traditions from the inside. Fill-in anchor Anthony Mason wondered if "the winds of change [are] wafting through the Catholic Church" as he hyped a CBS News/New York Times poll that found apparent support for the ordination of women among American Catholics.
CBS's Barry Petersen slanted in favor of dissenters agitating for the repeal of the Catholic Church's centuries-old practice of celibacy for priests on the March 10, 2013 edition of Sunday Morning. Petersen hyped how "many American Catholics wonder how long celibacy will be a part of today's Church, or perhaps, how soon it may become a fading tradition."
The correspondent also failed to mention that Bill Wisniewski, one of his talking heads, is a board member for a dissenting group headed by Sister Christine Schenk, who was also featured during his report.
Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell, and Gayle King gushed over Caroline Kennedy on Friday's CBS This Morning. O'Donnell asked Kennedy is she supported a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016, which prompted Rose to wonder if the daughter of JFK might run herself for the highest elected office in the U.S.
King hyped the potential nomination of Kennedy to be an ambassador to Japan: "Madame Ambassador – does that have a ring to it for you?" O'Donnell tossed the softest of softballs as a follow-up: "Do you like Japan or Canada better?" (audio available here; video below the jump)
On Wednesday and Thursday, two of the Big Three networks ballyhooed how the Arkansas state legislature overrode Governor Mike Beebe's veto of a pro-life bill that outlaws abortion once the unborn baby's heartbeat is detected. Scott Pelley hyped "the most restrictive abortion law in the country" on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, echoing the New York Times' label of the new law – "the country's most restrictive ban on abortion".
Natalie Morales used nearly identical language to Pelley on Thursday's Today on NBC. ABC punted on covering the move by Arkansas state legislators on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts. By contrast, Norah O'Donnell didn't use such language during her news brief on the story on Thursday's CBS This Morning:
Naomi O'Leary's Tuesday article for Reuters about a piece of "artwork" blasting Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI could have been mistaken for a press release, as the journalist merely gave a platform for the same-sex couple behind the display to voice their anti-Catholic views. Most of the quotes in O'Leary's write-up came from artists Antonio Garullo and Mario Ottocento, "the first Italian gay couple to be married when they wed in Holland in 2002."
The correspondent emulated a publicist as she spotlighted how the exhibition is supposedly a "life-size model of Benedict in a confessional box, his sumptuous red and cream-colored robes spread about him."
Frank Bajak of the AP lionized Venezuelan autocrat and "fighter" Hugo Chavez minutes after his death on Tuesday, playing up in the second sentence of his item how the "former paratroop commander and fiery populist...outsmarted his rivals time and again." Bajak later hyped Chavez as a "master communicator and savvy political strategist."
On Monday, CBS This Morning launched a week-long set of interviews for Women's History Month, but the majority of the women they picked for their list of "Eye Opening Women" are dedicated liberals, particularly on social issues. The morning newscast first conducted a fawning interview of former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was part of the Supreme Court plurality that upheld the Roe v. Wade decision in 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Five out of the eight remaining women featured for the series of interviews are all notables on the left side of the political spectrum. On Tuesday, anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell will interview The Daily Beast's Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington, founder of far-left website The Huffington Post. Brown has a history of attacking conservatives. During a 2011 appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe program, she likened tax hike opponents to terrorists:
Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to zero in on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's false assertion about the sequester – that "there are, literally, teachers now who are getting pink slips; who are getting notices they can't come back this fall". Correspondent Bill Plante noted that "Duncan conceded he knew of only one county nationwide where there had been notices", and underlined that "those notices weren't sequester-related."
CBS News political director John Dickerson also highlighted that "the Washington Post caught...Duncan in an exaggeration about those effects." Actually, "exaggeration" is an understatement on the part of Dickerson, as the Post's Glenn Kessler ripped the Cabinet official over several statements he's made on the sequester issue:
Scott Pelley chided House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, indicating the Republican leader was largely to blame for the imminent sequester: "You said that the President didn't have the guts to do what needed to be done on the budget. Today, you said the Senate has to get off its ass. Those don't sound like the words of a man seeking to bring people together to compromise."
Pelley had already pointed the finger at Boehner for the impasse over the federal budget back on the February 12, 2013 edition of the evening newscast, mere hours before the State of the Union:
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell stayed true to form in conducting a tag team-style, confrontational interview of a conservative/Republican, this time House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. The anchors pressed Rep. Rodgers about a recent Pew Research/Washington Post poll that, in their words, indicates "the public is going to blame Republicans" for the sequester.
At one point in the segment, Rose wouldn't let the Washington representative complete an answer, interrupting her twice in the course of just 20 seconds. On the second occasion, he raised the poll, which found that 45 percent point the finger at congressional Republicans for the impending across-the-board spending cuts:
MediaBistro's TVNewser blog reported on Thursday that NBC's Today hired former CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom as their new legal analyst. Bloom, the only child of notorious celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, is a chip off her mother's block, given her liberal record both on the air and online, particularly on the issue of same-sex "marriage".
The attorney blasted California's voter-approved Proposition 8 in a January 28, 2010 editorial for CNN.com titled "Prop 8 is simply unconstitutional." Bloom used personal anecdotes to contrast "reckless heterosexual nuptials" with the 16-year relationship of her friends Wilbert and Carlos, who, in her words, are "second-class citizens in their own country." She dropped the inflammatory hint at Prop 8 supporters later in her piece:
Charlie Rose led Monday's CBS This Morning by hyping the allegedly catastrophic effect of the sequester during a promo for a report from correspondent Major Garrett: "Kids without vaccines; schools without teachers; and massive airport delays – we'll show you the worst-case scenario for government spending cuts."
Garrett himself could have been mistaken for an Obama administration flack as he devoted much of the segment to publicizing the White House's bombast about the impending $85 billion in spending cuts. He uncritically forwarded the administration's hype about the general and local effect of the cuts, which are set to take effect on March 1:
On Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported that Rob Morrison, an anchor for CBS's New York City affiliate WCBS, had quit his job after being arrested the previous weekend for an alleged assault on his wife, CBS MoneyWatch anchor Ashley Morrison. While this news story has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, and UPI, CBS's own morning and evening newscasts have yet to report on it.
By contrast, CBS This Morning devoted several news items to the arrest and trial of Fox News correspondent Douglas Kennedy in 2012. During a April 4, 2012 report, then-anchor Erica Hill pointed out his affiliation with the news outlet before interviewing the journalist's attorney:
Bill Whitaker did his best to depict former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor as a tragic figure on Friday's CBS This Morning, but glossed over her Democratic affiliation. Whitaker sympathetically asked O'Connor, "What's the worst of it for you?" The correspondent also spotlighted how the former mayor "brought in light rail, a convention center – helped transform San Diego from a sleepy navy town to the country's eighth largest city."
Anchor Norah O'Donnell introduced Whitaker's four and half minute-long report by labeling the politician a "beloved former mayor". Whitaker later followed suit by pointing out how "San Diego once loved her".
On Friday, the now all-digital Newsweek marked Benedict XVI's impending departure from the papacy by turning to British writer Tim Parks, who took the opportunity to air his grievances against the current pontiff's predecessor, John Paul II. Parks bemoaned "how reactionary and old-fashioned" the Polish-born bishop of Rome was for daring to believe in Catholic devotions and in divine providence.
The Cambridge and Harvard-educated novelist later indicted John Paul for daring to speak out against a whole host of left-wing causes:
Robin Pomeroy did her best impression of a publicist in a nearly one-sided article for Reuters on Tuesday that spotlighted homosexuals in Rome "toasting the departure of the worst Church leader they can imagine" – Pope Benedict XVI. Pomeroy quoted extensively from LGBT activist Franco Grillini, but failed to mention his radical left wing politics, which included a run as a Communist Party candidate in Italy in the 1980s.
Grillini decried the outgoing pontiff as "the most reactionary pope ever, who made homophobia one of his battle cries." The far left politician must not have heard of the past four bishops of Rome who took the name Pius. In particular, Pius XI prophetically foresaw the current push to redefine marriage in a 1930 encyclical and issued the strongest condemnation of this course:
Wednesday's CBS This Morning played up the supposedly gargantuan cuts in government spending that would go into the effect if the sequester goes into effect on March 1. Charlie Rose trumpeted the "massive spending cuts" set to take effect, while Gayle King underlined that the "deep automatic spending cuts" were quickly approaching. But neither anchor pointed out that $85 billion in cuts come out of a $3.5 trillion federal budget.
Correspondent Bill Plante hyped the effect of the possible "massive layoffs" on the Washington, DC region. But he only included one soundbite from a Republican/conservative, while playing three clips from President Obama and second Democrat.
The irony must have been lost on Bill Plante when he reported on Monday's CBS This Morning that President Obama "did golf with Tiger [Woods], but we didn't see a picture of it. They [the Obama administration] don't like to show a picture of the President at leisure doing anything. They see this as propaganda for the Republicans."
However, exactly two weeks earlier, on February 4, 2013, Plante acted as an Obama administration stenographer as he pointed out a photo released by the White House of the President "at leisure" – specifically, firing a shotgun. He also spotlighted menu choices for the chief executive's Super Bowl festivities:
On Friday's Morning Edition, NPR's Cheryl Corley stacked her report on President Obama's gun control push full of left-of-center talking heads. But the one who stood out was Father Michael Pfleger, whom she merely identified as a "social activist". Corley ignored his controversial background, which includes a 2008 defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former radical pastor, and threatening to "snuff out" a Chicago gun store owner in 2007.
The correspondent also failed to point out the liberal affiliations of two other "activists" who are on the faculty at University of Chicago: a political science professor with an interest in "lesbian and gay politics" and a law professor who is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose lived up to their reputation for hammering Republican/conservative guests, as they interviewed Republican Senator Marco Rubio. Rose mouthed a line from President Obama's Tuesday State of the Union address, where the chief executive invoked the families of gun violence victims to push for stricter gun control: "Do you agree with the President that those people deserve a vote?"
Later in the segment, O'Donnell strongly hinted that the Florida politician, and Republicans in general, were extremists [audio available here; video below the jump]:
NBC's Savannah Guthrie pressed White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday's Today over President Obama's apparent inaction on many key issues. After reading an excerpt from the President's 2009 address to Congress, Guthrie wondered, "You know, Americans have heard these refrains over and over again. What can you guarantee to the American people that will turn these words into actual action?"
By contrast, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, anchor Charlie Rose merely prompted Jarrett to provide the Obama administration's talking points on the upcoming State of the Union address:
Radical talk show host Bill Press couldn't resist bashing Pope Benedict XVI one last time on Monday as the news broke that the pontiff would be abdicating at the end of February. Press, along with sidekick Peter Ogburn and regular guest John Fugelsang, forwarded common misconceptions from the left about Benedict's reign as pope and his previous work as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, especially his handling of the priest sex abuse scandal.
Fugelsang cracked, "It's my understanding that he wants to...devote more time to running the Catholic Church into the ground in the private sector." The left-wing radio host, who mocked the Pope for joining Twitter in December 2012, agreed wholeheartedly: "He's done a good job of running it into the ground from the Vatican – that's for sure." [audio available here; video below the jump] Press, a former seminarian, also half-jokingly fantasized about becoming pope himself:
Left-wing talker Stephanie Miller made an eyebrow-raising attack on Michelle Malkin on Thursday. Just before playing a clip of Malkin from Fox News Channel's Hannity program on her radio program, Miller snarked, "Let's unpack this rice ball of health care nonsense from Michelle Malkin." This line could leave one with the impression that it was a racially-tinged insult of the conservative commentator [audio below the jump].
Miller's sidekicks Chris Lavoie and Jim Ward joined in the verbal assault on Malkin with sophomoric jabs about her digestive tract: