If Attorney General Eric Holder’s goal was to minimize broadcast network news coverage when he chose late Friday evening to announce a criminal investigation into how damaging national security secrets were released to the New York Times, the media have certainly played along.
Holder announced the investigation after the East Coast feeds of Friday’s ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts. While each of the networks included some discussion on their Saturday and Sunday broadcasts, including ABC’s This Week and CBS’s Face the Nation (NBC’s Meet the Press was pre-empted by tennis), by Monday the networks had already lost interest.
Ex-CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, now with ABC, gave Sunday's commencement address at her alma mater, the University of Virginia. When it came to her time at CBS News, Couric cast herself as a "mistreated" "trailblazer," who got "burned" by critics.
Couric suggested her critics were motivated by sexism: "In those first few months at CBS, TV critics wrote about my clothes, my hair, my make-up, even the way I held my hands. Some said I lacked ‘gravitas,’ which I’ve since decided is Latin for ‘testicles.'"
It was a remarkably self-pitying performance for someone who made $15 million a year reading the introductions to news reports. "My story may have played out in the public eye, but it's by no means unique," Couric told the graduates. " Every one of you will at some point be confronted by naysayers and learn that life isn't always fair. You'll feel cheated, you'll be mistreated. You'll wonder, 'when will I be loved?'"
Three years ago, then-CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric fawned over Barack Obama: “You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken?” On ABC’s World News, Diane Sawyer often softens her interviews with the President by tossing in questions about college basketball, asking, at the start of the U.S. military operation against Libya last year, “How much do you think Kentucky will win by?”
But of the three evening news anchors, by far the most admiring of Obama is NBC’s Brian Williams who has — no big surprise — been rewarded with exclusive access to the White House Situation Room for what promises to be a prime time Obama campaign infomercial (on Wednesday’s Rock Center) on how the brave President monitored the mission as Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden’s compound and killed the terrorist mastermind exactly one year ago. (Round-up of Williams' most fawning Obama moments, with video, below the jump).
Six months ago, Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) came out with a report claiming that the GOP candidates received more positive press coverage than President Obama. This morning, the group came out with another installment from the same ongoing study. Their press release claims: "The President’s media coverage in 2012 has been consistently negative while his Republican challenger has experienced a more mixed narrative."
As I wrote here at NewsBusters back in October, PEJ's methodology is seriously flawed: "First, they didn’t study what most people would consider 'the media.' Second, their definition of 'positive' and 'negative' press doesn’t match what media experts consider 'favorable' or 'unfavorable' coverage. And, third, the researchers didn’t really even look at the stories — they let a computer... churn through the words and determine whether an assertion was pro- or anti-Obama."
The Media Research Center has just concluded an update of our “Media Bias 101” Web package, with more than 40 articles detailing scholarly research of the past 30 years showing the mostly liberal attitudes of American journalists and opinion polls showing the public’s growing recognition of the media’s liberal bias.
The package also includes dozens of quotes from reporters denying this bias, plus a few notable instances of media figures admitting their tilt.
Key stats and links to major studies after the jump
Just posted at www.MRC.org, the latest edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables, our bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous quotes in the liberal media. This week’s issue was heavy with opportunistic quotes from liberal journalists attacking conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh (and slamming Republicans for failing to attack Rush with the same vigor as exhibited on the left) — even though some of the same people criticizing Limbaugh for his unfortunate remark have celebrated liberals who have said far worse. (I think that’s called hypocrisy.)
Here are some of the worst quotes we uncovered this week; for the full rundown (including eight video clips), you can visit www.MRC.org or just download the printer-friendly PDF version of this week’s issue. (You can also subscribe to our e-mail list and get NQ delivered to your inbox every other Monday.)
Both MSNBC and CNN have devolved into a feeding frenzy over Rush Limbaugh’s crack last week about a Georgetown law student, with hosts on both networks scolding Limbaugh for his words and fantasizing the conservative radio powerhouse will get knocked off the airwaves.
But an MRC review finds those networks had no negative reaction to far more vulgar and sexist language used by HBO host Bill Maher. Instead, both networks have hosted Maher repeatedly (12 times in the past year) in softball formats where the journalists ritually flatter the vulgarian: “Your show is brilliant,” “I love your show,” “You’re the funniest, smartest guy around.”
It’s been nearly three weeks since President Obama faced a political backlash over his plan to force religious institutions to bow to government bureaucrats when it came to supplying birth control coverage to their employees. Since then, the liberal media — led by the broadcast networks — have helped re-script the story to suit the President’s political needs. Instead of a story about the overreach of big government and violation of religious freedom, the networks are now spinning the birth control story as one about out-of-control conservatives, to the point of ignoring broad and continuing opposition — including a lawsuit by seven state attorneys general — to the President’s power grab.
The MRC reviewed coverage from the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts starting with Obama’s February 10 declaration of a unilateral “compromise” meant to end the controversy. Our analysis shows how the networks re-framed the story from one that was damaging to Obama into one that reporters thought would hurt his opponents:
On Friday’s Good Morning America, ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper blurted out an uncomfortable reality for Democrats, telling co-host George Stephanopoulos that President Obama “can’t run on so many of his major legislative accomplishments” because “they’re not popular.”
That’s why, Tapper explained, the President is attempting to shift the debate from his record to “fairness,” a goal in which he has the cooperation of a compliant media: “These are the issues he wants to talk about, because it’s going to be difficult for him to talk about his record when it comes to his big achievements.”
The camera only showed Tapper as he outlined the “conundrum” facing Obama, so there’s no way of telling exactly how ex-Democratic operative Stephanopoulos reacted. [Audio link here; video after the jump]
Tuesday night, President Obama delivers his third State of the Union address, and his sixth speech to a joint session of Congress since taking office in 2009. But there’s no need to spend a lot of time wondering about what the media will say after The Great One speaks, since — like a gaggle of corporate yes-men — journalists have gushed over every one of these major addresses.
“It wasa big and bold speech,” ABC’s Terry Moran applauded on Nightline shortly after Obama’s budget address in February 2009, his first before Congress. “It was his debut andhe wowed us,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews enthused the next day on Hardball.
You know liberals are desperate if they’re playing the race card so early in the 2012 campaign cycle. The latest edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables is now out, and this week’s collection was heavy with media quotes attacking both Republican voters and their presidential candidates as racist.
Among the lowlights: NBC’s Ann Curry accusing Newt Gingrich of “intentionally playing the race card” when he talked about President Obama’s dismal economic record, and ex-CNN correspondent Bob Franken nastily asserting that conservative voters harbor “a real resentment against blacks,” and “would love to see us return to the good old days of Jim Crow.”
Back in 2008 and 2009, the Media Research Center’s year-end awards for the Best Notable Quotables were dominated by journalists fawning over the greatness of Barack Obama. In 2008, our winner for “Quote of the Year” was Chris Matthews for his on-air exclamation that upon hearing Obama give a speech, “I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”
It's always interesting to see how the several thousand readers who voted in the MRC's "public ballot" differed from the 48 media experts who selected our Best Notable Quotables of 2011 (a panel which included talk radio hosts Mark Levin and Neal Boortz, Human Events editor-in-chief Tom Winter and Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby). This year, there were six categories where our readers and the judges disagreed -- although sometimes the margins were extremely close.
Let's start with the biggest disagreement, in the "Media Millionaires for Higher Taxes Award." By a healthy margin (68 to 53), our judges chose an April 17 quote from CBS's Bob Schieffer, as he was questioning Rep. Paul Ryan on Face the Nation: "Why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean, they’re already rich....Why cut their taxes some more?"
Assuming he even tried, Brian Williams could not suppress his smirk Tuesday night as he took a shot at a guest who had appeared earlier that day on CNBC. Businessman and Mitt Romney support Ken Langone said that President Obama's anti-business rhetoric and lack of leadership was preventing a true economic recovery from taking hold, exclaiming at one point that "businessmen and fat cats need to feel like they're doing something good, not that they're villains and not that their criminals."
In response, Williams decided to carve out a full minute from from his Nightly News to regale viewers with a sarcastic shot at Langone from the left-wing Gawker.com: "The writer John Cook on the Web site Gawker said, "Why should you make fat cats feel badly about getting fat, while the middle class taxpayers who financed that bailout slide into poverty? They need to be made to feel good about earning record profits!"
On last night's CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes listed one and only one sticking point in the failure of the so-called "supercommittee" to reach a deal, and that was, she said, how "Republicans on the supercommittee were pushing to make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent for everyone."
And only one politician, Democratic Senator and supercommitee member John Kerry, was permitted to frame the story for CBS viewers. "This is not a tax cutting committee. This is a deficit reduction committee," Kerry asserted. "And we do not believe that the wealthiest people in America should get another tax cut."
Four years ago, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows celebrated the “rock star” Democrats running to replace George W. Bush, and no candidate set journalists’ pulses racing faster than Barack Obama. Now, after three years of high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits and an onerous new health care law, how are those newscasts covering Obama’s re-election campaign and the candidates vying to replace him?
To find out, the MRC’s Geoff Dickens and I (with a huge assist from Scott Whitlock, Kyle Drennen and Matthew Balan) examined all 723 campaign segments, including 101 interviews, which aired on the three broadcast network weekday morning programs from January 1 to October 31, 2011, using the same methodology we employed to study campaign coverage on those same programs for the same time period in 2007. Excerpts following the jump; read the full report here. (or download the printer-friendly PDF version)
The liberal media have spent the month of October enthusing over the left-wing “Occupy” protests, richly rewarding the anti-capitalist movement with the oxygen of national publicity. The broadcast networks, in particular, have boosted the protests as “growing” and “resonating,” and cast the participants as more than just a radical fringe group, but drawn “from all walks of life, young and old, male and female.”
The MRC has pulled together quotes showing these trends, as documented in the October 17 and October 31 editions of our Notable Quotables newsletter (available in full at www.MRC.org). The most obnoxious examples:
The national media have certainly NOT been giving Barack Obama a rougher ride than the GOP candidates, but a new study by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism is fueling the myth that, as Politico’s Keach Hagey put it this morning, “Obama has received the most unremittingly negative press of any of the presidential candidates.”
To be sure, Hagey is repeating exactly what Pew is claiming, but there are at least three major problems with using their study to conclude that the media have an anti-Obama bias. First, they didn’t study what most people would consider “the media.” Second, their definition of “positive” and “negative” press doesn’t match what media experts consider “favorable” or “unfavorable” coverage. (More after the jump)
A study by the Media Research Center finds that the three broadcast networks are providing virtually no coverage of the Solyndra scandal, a solar energy firm that went bankrupt after getting more than $500 million in taxpayer money from the Obama administration. This is not the approach the networks took after the collapse of Enron, an energy company with Republican ties. In just the first two months of 2002, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts cranked out 198 stories on the Enron debacle, compared to just eight so far on Solyndra, a 24-to-1 disparity. Details after the jump.
The U.S. unemployment rate in September was 9.1%, a terrible statistic and a symptom of a profoundly damaged economy. Anticipating Friday's jobs report, CNBC Squawk Box co-host and New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin wondered whether the bad economic news had already reached a point where it would be "almost impossible" for President Obama to be re-elected.
"Remember when people used to say for Obama to win, this was a year or two ago, it [the unemployment rate] had to be under 8%," Sorkin recalled. "For him to get unemployment, from now until the elections, under 8%, you have to create something on the order of 400,000 jobs a month.... which is, obviously, almost impossible." [video after the jump]
Both ABC and NBC on Wednesday used a new Pew Research Center poll of military veterans to claim that, as ABC news reader Josh Elliot put it, “one-third of those who’ve served in Afghanistan and Iraq now say the wars were not worth fighting,” while NBC’s Tamron Hall told viewers “one-third of U.S. veterans believe the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting.”
But that’s not really what the poll found. Pew surveyed 1,853 veterans, including 712 whose service took place after September 11, 2001. They found 50% of the post 9/11 veterans thought the war in Afghanistan was worth it, and 44% who supported the war in Iraq — percentages significantly higher than both the general public and veterans who served in earlier conflicts or pre-9/11.
American Spectator senior editor Quin Hillyer appeared on the Fox News Channel’s America’s News Headquarters program on Sunday to highlight the media’s continued silence about the Obama administration’s use of liberal ideology as a criterion in hiring lawyers for career Justice Department positions, even though the media leaped on similar accusations during the Bush years.
While Bush’s DOJ was subjected to media condemnation and an official investigation over it’s hiring practices, Hillyer recounted, “cut forward to the Obama administration and they are doing not just the same thing, but to the Nth degree. They are doing it far worse than the Bush administration ever did, without any, any attention until now, certainly from the big newspapers.”
For most Americans, the 2012 presidential campaign will be experienced on television, and voters will evaluate the candidates based on their performances at televised debates, daily news coverage, and in long-form interviews. Even with all of the changes in the media landscape over past several years, the most-watched regular forums for candidate interviews are the broadcast network morning news programs — NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CBS’s The Early Show, with a combined weekday audience of more than 13 million as of the second quarter of 2011.
Just as they did right after the killing of Osama bin Laden back in May, NBC's Brian Williams and Richard Engel interrupted Sunday morning's ceremonies marking the tenth annivesary of the 9/11 attacks to pontificate against the war in Iraq.
At about 9:30am on Sunday, during live coverage of the events at Ground Zero, Williams instructed the audience: "Iraq had nothing do with this." Correspondent Richard Engel quickly echoed: "Iraq had nothing to do with this," before complaining: "And that message is still lost today." (Video and transcript after the jump; h/t Gerardo)
Ten years after the attacks of September 11, it’s worth recalling how the immediate reaction of some on the far Left was to blame the United States foreign policy for instigating the attacks, and how various Hollywood celebrities spent the remainder of the decade trashing the War on Terror and likening the United States to some sort of Nazi regime or police state. Some even promoted wild conspiracies that the United States government had participated in the attacks themselves, or was sheltering terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
Here, culled from the MRC’s vast archives, are 25 blood-boiling quotes showcasing the Hollywood Left’s outrageous take on the War on Terror over the past ten years, with links to several videos:
Dick Cheney has begun a media tour to promote his memoir, "In My Time," with excerpts of his NBC "Dateline" interview showing up on Wednesday’s "Nightly News" and Thursday’s "Today." If history is a guide, Cheney will face a liberal media that has been stunningly hostile and derisive in their coverage of the former Vice President.
Prior to his selection as George W. Bush’s running mate in the summer of 2000, the liberal networks generally treated Cheney — who served as White House chief of staff, Congressman and Secretary of Defense — as a respected Republican leader. But the media turned on Cheney as soon as he joined the Republican ticket, portraying him as an extremist who was “anti-equal rights” and “against education” — even distorting his vote on a non-binding resolution as a vote “against releasing Nelson Mandela from prison,” as if the U.S. House had such power.
Like clockwork, as soon as Rick Perry joined the GOP presidential field, the liberal media started slashing at the Texas Governor, impugning him as a “name-calling,” “human tornado,” “anti-science” racist —just “Bull Connor with a smile,” according to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Plus, Perry’s best-in-the-nation record on job creation is really a myth — not a “Texas miracle” but a “Texas tragedy,” according to CBS News.
As for Barack Obama, CNN shows they play no favorites, holding the President’s feet to the fire in a grueling interview: “The last time you were elected, you got Sasha and Malia a cute little puppy, Bo. What are you going to get them the next time, if you’re re-elected?” These quotes, plus many more, in the latest edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables (best quotes after the jump; full issue posted here at MRC.org).
This year’s crop of GOP presidential candidates includes strong conservatives, just like the top Democratic candidates four years ago — Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards — were all staunch liberals. But a major, glaring difference between today’s campaign coverage and the early coverage of the 2007 Democratic nomination race is the impulse of journalists to repeatedly brand the 2012 GOP candidates as “conservative” despite offering extremely few “liberal” labels four years ago.
Media Research Center analysts reviewed the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programs from January 1 through July 31 and found 62 “conservative” labels for Republican candidates or those talked about as potential candidates. A check of the same broadcasts for the same time period in 2007 found a paltry three “liberal” labels for the Democrats running that year, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity.
MRC has just posted the latest edition of Notable Quotables, our bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. This week, NQ is chock full of quotes from journalists slashing the Tea Party as the Republican Party’s “Hezbollah faction,” who have “strapped explosives to the Capitol” and “waged jihad on the American people.”
Oh, and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd disparaging the “Tea Party budget slashers” as “cannibals,” “zombies,” and “vampires, draining the country’s reputation, credit rating and compassion.” So much for civility.
The full package is available at www.MRC.org; here are some of the best quotes:
For the past month, as the debt talks slogged on in Washington, the so-called mainstream media unleashed increasingly hysterical attacks on the Tea Party and anti-tax hike conservatives — epitomizing the liberal elite’s supreme annoyance at the push to curb federal spending and contain the size of government.
The media’s disdainful language has ranged from the merely condescending (wondering whether the Tea Partiers in Congress actually knew how things worked, or referring to them as children), to outright hostile (likening the Tea Party to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups). Here are some of the choicer examples MRC has collected over the past 30 days: