For more than two years, Media Research Center analysts monitored news coverage of the 2012 presidential campaign, especially the Big Three broadcast networks which reach the widest audiences. What we uncovered — both during the campaign, and then later while conducting research for Brent Bozell and Tim Graham’s new book, Collusion: How the Media Stole the 2012 Election — documents how the top media systematically suppressed factual and important stories that reflected poorly on Barack Obama’s record as President.
While that campaign is over, our analysis of the networks’ performance establishes how their audacious censorship helped skew the outcome in favor of Obama, whose economic and foreign policy record was the worst of any President since Jimmy Carter — and how those same tactics are now being used to minimize the scandals and controversies of Obama’s second term.
For our 27-page special report, The Censorship Election: How the Broadcast Networks Buried the Bad News That Threatened Barack Obama’s Quest for a Second Term (PDF) MRC analysts reviewed each ABC, CBS and NBC evening news broadcast from January 1 through November 6, 2012.
Among the key findings:
■ Network evening news viewers in 2012 never once heard the embarrassing prediction by Obama’s economic team that passage of the $787 billion “stimulus” would halt the rise of unemployment at 8%. (In reality, the jobless rate stayed above that mark for 44 months, the worst economic performance since the Great Depression.)
■ There was just a single network mention last year (on ABC) of Obama’s broken promise of cutting the federal budget deficit “by half by the end of my first term in office.” Reporters on CBS and NBC never once brought up this inconvenient truth.
■ All three evening newscasts buried official statistics showing record numbers of Americans depending on government handouts for food, and rising poverty more than two years after Team Obama claimed the economy was supposedly recovering.
■ In all of 2012, the network evening newscasts devoted only 61 seconds to talking about how ObamaCare’s mandates, regulations and new taxes would hurt small businesses.
■ The evening newscasts never mentioned official CBO reports showing ObamaCare would cost up to 6 million workers their health insurance, belying President Obama’s promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”
■ For 16 days, the network evening news shows refused to report unprecedented HHS regulations that would violate the conscience of religious organizations by insisting they provide free contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs.
■ After President Obama unilaterally declared a “compromise” on religious freedom, the networks acted as if all was solved, with ABC and NBC utterly ignoring a massive lawsuit against the administration to overturn the rules (CBS gave it just 19 seconds).
■ The networks buried news of how Obama squandered more than $500 billion of taxpayer money in loans to the solar company Solyndra, whose biggest investor was a major Obama campaign donor and fundraiser.
■ None of the Big Three evening newscasts mentioned the Fast and Furious scandal, in which guns were permitted to reach Mexican drug gangs, until June 12, when the House of Representatives was about to approve contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder for failing to cooperate with the investigating committee. Instead of treating the administration’s stonewalling as a major scandal, the networks abandoned the story after just a couple of days.
■ The same networks that ferociously covered a criminal investigation into national security leaks during the Bush years offered virtually no time for the launch of a criminal probe into a string of even-more damaging leaks under President Obama.
■ The networks minimized or ignored key information exposing the administration’s false narrative about the attacks in Benghazi. And, after the President falsely insisted in a debate that he branded the attack as “an act of terror” the very next day, CBS’s 60 Minutes withheld a key video proving this claim to be untrue.
In a typical presidential election year, most of the media’s scrutiny falls on the incumbent, and the campaign becomes referendum on the administration’s performance during the previous four years. But in 2012, network journalists covered up news that might have hurt their favored candidate’s re-election strategy.
While there were certainly other factors at play, the media’s flagrant favoritism may well have been the key to salvaging the 2012 election for Barack Obama.