While the broadcast networks have generally empathized with the distress of airline passengers over the TSA’s new and intrusive airport searches, they have not — thus far, at least — gone so far as to impugn the Obama administration as launching a war against Americans’ civil liberties.
Indeed, NBC’s Matt Lauer on Monday even sympathized with TSA Administrator John Pistole: “I hate to even think of what happens if the government caves in on this, and relaxes these procedures, and someone manages to get something on board a plane and causes harm. Imagine the questions you'll be asked at that point.”
But that’s not the approach those networks took when it was the Bush administration taking steps to protect citizens against potential attack. Instead, as a 2006 analysis by the Media Research Center documented, the networks firmly aligned themselves with those who saw the Patriot Act and the electronic surveillance of international phone calls as a dire threat to civil liberties.
As a Monday morning treat for NewsBusters readers, here is a sampling of the quotes from the latest edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter, a compilation of the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. All of the quotes, plus past issues going back to 1988, can be found at www.MRC.org.
Forget What Voters Said, It’s Time for Higher Taxes
Host Christiane Amanpour: “There are many economists who simply say the math does not add up, if you’re not going to agree to raising taxes. Do you agree that taxes will have to be raised, as well?” Senator-elect Rand Paul: “Well, I think it’s not a revenue problem. It’s a spending problem.” Amanpour: “But it is a revenue problem according to so many economists.”
— ABC’s This Week, November 7.
CNN has launched a new advertising campaign, claiming to be the only cable network without an ideological ax to grind. “If you want to keep them all honest, without playing favorites, the choice is clear: CNN, the worldwide leader in news,” the on-screen message argues.
So, did CNN “play favorites” during the midterm campaign? MRC analysts reviewed all of the guests and commentators on CNN’s primetime weekday programs from October 4 through October 29, the last four full weeks before the November 2 elections. Guests were grouped into three categories: “Democrat/liberal,” “Republican/conservative,” and “Other.” The latter category included all non-political guests, as well as guests who were not associated with a clear political point of view.
Shortly after ABC News projected the Republican takeover of the House of Representative, co-anchors George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer, plus Democratic contributor Donna Brazile, waxed effusive of Nancy Pelosi, the object of so many voters’ ire. “President Obama called her a rock, the rock for the White House,” Sawyer enthused.
Sawyer also twice admired how Pelosi once said she took the job “to be in the arena,” exclaiming: “She will not be a footnote in history, no matter what happens.” Stephanopoulos quickly agreed: “That is absolutely right.” He invited Brazile to offer her testimonial:
She has been a phenomenal Speaker, regardless of what the Republicans and Tea Parties have said....This is a woman who fought to restore America’s families. I have full support of Speaker Pelosi, and I'm very sad tonight.
The actual voting results are just part of what makes for an Election Night in today’s mass media world. Perhaps as important — in some years, more important — are journalists’ first stab at interpreting the results, telling audiences what they voted for (and against).
If history is a reliable guide, listen for: smug journalists slamming “angry” or stupid voters; claims that there’s no mandate for conservative policies; slams that the Republican winners are “extremist” or “radical;” and arguments that the Democrats failed to follow through on their liberal agenda. Oh, and don’t forget the racism.
Sixteen years ago, the Republicans picked up 54 seats in the House of Representatives, taking control of that chamber for the first time since the 1950s. So how good were the media’s predictions back then? Trolling through the MRC’s archives, I came across these quotes from coverage just before the 1994 vote:
After a week of silence, NBC Nightly News finally mentioned that President Obama, in an interview with Univision Radio last Monday, October 25, encouraged Hispanic voters to not sit out the election, but say “we’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us.”
But correspondent Savannah Guthrie failed to see that as a divisive and unpresidential statement that had been burning up conservative talk radio for the past week, but merely as a “potential attack” that Obama was trying to “head off” by now “saying he should have used a different word.”
One day before Election Day, the MRC has a fresh new edition of Notable Quotables posted over at MRC.org. Topics this week include: the liberal media’s pre-election meltdown, with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann frothing that the election of “unqualified, unstable” Tea Party Republicans “would destroy America from within,” and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter engaging in open electioneering: “The GOP’s agenda has to be stopped.”
To read it online, posted with five videos with matching MP3 audio, plus a sixth quote with a matching audio clip, go to www.MRC.org.
For NewsBuster’s readers, here are some of the choicer quotes from the last couple of weeks, reflecting liberals’ increasing desperation as the election clock ticks down:
The Democrats’ strategy to salvage the 2010 campaign was to distract voters from their record over the past two years and paint their opponents as wacky extremists. Win or lose, the Democrats got a lot of help from their friends in the supposedly objective “news” media. MRC analysts reviewed the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from September 1 through October 25. Key findings:
■ Only conservative/Tea Party candidates cast as “extreme.” Congressional Democrats and President Obama are facing voters’ wrath because of their extreme agenda over the past two years: government-run health care; massive unsupportable spending; a proposed “cap-and-trade” tax on energy, higher income taxes, etc. But MRC analysts found 35 evening news stories which conveyed the Democratic spin point that conservative and Tea Party candidates are “extreme,” “fringe,” or “out of the mainstream,” vs. ZERO stories conveying the charge that left-wing Democrats are “out of the mainstream.”
With less than two weeks before Election Day, the media elite continue to disparage the GOP’s Tea Party candidates while saluting the greatness of the über-unpopular Democratic Congress and its leader, Nancy Pelosi.
On This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour — apparently oblivious to the decades of liberal mockery hurled at Ronald Reagan and William Buckley — cited those leaders as exemplifying “a long and venerable tradition” of “intellectual conservatism.” Her goal was to insult today’s conservatives: “People are looking at the Tea Party and saying this is not conservatism as we knew it, but it’s extreme.” Conservative George F. Will educated Amanpour: “Which is exactly what they said about Bill Buckley...”
The frequently-maudlin Ann Curry outdid herself on Wednesday's Today show. Narrating a short video item about Russia unveiling a new set of inflatable weapons designed to fool spy satellites, Curry chirped: "Wish all weapons were like that." (Video below the fold.)
Her flower-child moment brought to mind how another morning show anchor, ABC's Charles Gibson, confided to Larry King shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq how he and his wife had “a little framed sign hanging in our bedroom, my wife and I, that said, ‘War is not good for children and other living things,’ and I believe that. So I don’t like covering war and I hate to see them occur.”
If Democrats are going to stem their losses, CBS’s Jeff Greenfield opined on Monday’s Evening News, they need to “convince the voters that this election is a choice” and “Republicans are just too extreme.” Greenfield’s probably right about this strategy being Democrats’ best hope — and his fellow reporters are already hard at work fulfilling their role in painting Republicans as “extreme.”
On Monday’s Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl characterized as astonishing how “Alaska’s Joe Miller talked about rolling back the power of the federal government further than Republicans have talked about for more than 70 years.” Even more jaw-dropping to ABC: “Miller and other Tea Party candidates also favor eliminating the Department of Education.” How is that more radical than Democrats’ takeover of private-sector health care?
CNN’s Don Lemon hosted pornographer Larry Flynt on Sunday’s Newsroom, ostensibly to talk about an upcoming Supreme Court case in which the 1988 case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell is being cited as a precedent. But Lemon quickly turned to politics, asking the Hustler publisher to regurgitate tawdry details of Republican Senator David Vitter’s prostitution scandal (as if CNN wasn’t in the process of actively rehabilitating a Democratic politician caught in a similar scandal) and begging Flynt to reveal “tips” and “hints” about other politicians who might be exposed.
Showing greater restraint than the CNN anchor, Flynt replied, “I can’t do that.”
There’s little pretense of media fairness as the 2010 elections approach. Last Thursday, ABC’s World News ran as “news” a video produced by the Obama White House. Diane Sawyer excitedly touted how “we got to listen in on a phone call today,” as viewers saw a brief clip of President Obama talking to a cancer patient who thanked him for the government takeover of health care.
Then on Monday, NBC Universal donated a 30-minute commercial-free interview to Obama, shown not just on NBC’s Today, but on the corporation’s other networks (including USA, SyFy and Bravo). Matt Lauer informed the President how other Democrats (including Bill Clinton) don’t think he’s been “rigorous enough in pushing back against some of the Republican attacks.” Lauer implored: “Do you intend to change your tone or your emotion in terms of your pushing back?”
Monday brings the debut of CNN’s new “Parker Spitzer,” an 8pm ET political discussion program hosted by columnist Kathleen Parker and the ex-Democratic Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer, who resigned two years ago in the midst of a prostitution scandal.
The new show was championed by then-CNN President Jonathan Klein, who was fired by the network on Friday. “Eliot Spitzer still has a lot of ideas to contribute and a lot of things to say. And I think our viewers are going to find him a very interesting person to tune into every night,” Klein enthused back on June 27 on CNN’s Reliable Sources.
As a reality check on CNN’s effort to rehabilitate this scandal-scarred liberal, MRC intern Alex Fitzsimmons and I pulled together quotes from CNN’s coverage of Spitzer’s scandal back in March 2008. MRC video editor Bob Parks turned the clips we found into a polished video presentation documenting how the infamous “Client #9” was mocked and derided by the anchors and correspondents who are now his colleagues. (Video after the jump)
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Thursday covered the formal unveiling of the Republican ‘Pledge to America,’ a campaign document calling for the repeal of ObamaCare, no tax hikes and balanced budgets. CBS’s Nancy Cordes cast it as pro-Tea Party, “littered with references to the Constitution and promises to reduce the federal debt,” and Tea Party members as “grateful” for its policy prescriptions.
But ABC’s Jonathan Karl said the Pledge was “hardly a Tea Party manifesto. The 45-page document includes more photographs than specifics on spending cuts. No mention of controlling Social Security or Medicare. No mention of eliminating any federal departments. Not even a promise to eliminate earmarks or pork barrel spending.”
Karl even hit GOP Representative Mike Pence from the right: “There aren’t enough cuts in this thing that I see to get anywhere near a balanced budget.”
Back in 1992, ABC World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings told viewers his network would skip coverage of “routine” campaign events, unless they actually contributed new information that viewers could use. In an effort to keep ABC from being used as a propaganda arm for politicians, Jennings declared “there will be less attention to staged appearances and sound bites designed exclusively for television.”
He later elaborated to the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz, saying he did not want to be “‘seduced by pictures as we’ve been so easily seduced in the past. I don’t think any of us ever wants to be in the flag factory situation again,’ referring to a 1988 Bush campaign event.”
Evidently, times have changed. On Thursday’s World News, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer ran as a “news” item a White House-produced video — complete with schmaltzy background music — of President Obama taking a phone call from a cancer patient who, Sawyer informed viewers “is now able to get health insurance” thanks to ObamaCare.
Six weeks before what could be a doomsday election for Democrats, the liberal media are taking every opportunity to belittle and discredit the Tea Party movement that’s fueling voter energy this year.
Media liberals with zero affection for the Republican establishment are suddenly acting like concerned parents. Ex-Clintonista George Stephanopoulos worried on ABC’s Good Morning America: “Is it a revolution that will bring the GOP to power, or a civil war that will bring them down?” Over on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric fretfully wondered if “moderate Republicans are becoming an endangered species?”
A new CNN/Money survey of 31 top economists found a majority of them say the top priority — given the weak state of the economy — is for Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts for all income groups. But talking about this policy recommendation with CNN/Money’s Paul La Monica on Monday’s American Morning, co-anchor John Roberts rued the conundrum of needing to keep tax rates low for economic reasons — putting “more money in the pockets of people” — while at the same time, because of the “frightening” trillion-dollar deficits, “you’ve got to bump up your [the government’s] revenue stream.” Roberts fretted:
You want to put more money in the pockets of people, particularly when you look at unemployment over 9 percent. But then at the same time you have these deficits that are running at an absolutely frightening rate of a trillion-plus dollars a year. So, you’ve got to bump up your revenue stream but at the same time you want to keep your money coming into the economy. So how do you reconcile that calculation?
It seems not to have occurred to Roberts that the way to avoid either monstrous deficits or suffocating tax increases is to reduce government to a more affordable size.
Looking at the details of CNN’s survey of economists, it’s understandable why they would want the tax cuts extended. Their average forecast is for unemployment to be just below 9% at the end of next year, a full fifteen months from now, with a quarter of those surveyed seeing the unemployment rate still at 9.5% or higher in December 2011.
Just posted this morning over at MRC.org, our latest edition of Notable Quotables, a bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Topics this week include: CBS's Bob Schieffer absurdly suggesting Republicans could face a landslide defeat this year, "very much like 1964," while Katie Couric frets (again) how "moderate Republicans are becoming an endangered species." Also in this issue, NBC's Meredith Vieira declares that the Bush tax cuts "didn't succeed, so what's so good about them," while CBS's Harry Smith lobbies for "a second stimulus" or even "something like a new WPA."
Oh, and Chris Matthews gets another “thrill” from hearing Obama speak — this time, it’s “all over me.” Video of that confession, plus three other clips after the jump.
By a wide margin — 66 percent to 29 percent, according to the most recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll — the public is opposed to building that proposed $100 million Islamic cultural center near the site of the destroyed World Trade Towers. This is not a lightly-held opinion: more than half (53%) told ABC news they are “strongly opposed” to building it near Ground Zero, vs. only 14 percent who report being “strongly” in favor. (Scroll to Question 30.)
So in the face of such obvious public sentiment, are the big broadcast networks reflecting such public sentiment in their coverage? Or are journalists implicitly repudiating their viewers by touting accusations that opposition to the mosque is motivated by America’s supposed “Islamophobia”?
To find out, MRC analysts reviewed all 52 stories about the Ground Zero mosque on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from August 14 through September 13 — the first month after President Obama propelled the issue into the headlines with his remarks at a White House dinner.
It’s happened again! Collecting quotes for the Labor Day edition of MRC’s bi-weekly Notable Quotables, I found more outrageous liberal eruptions than could fit into the normal newsletter. So, just for NewsBusters readers, here are 12 worthy quotes that just couldn’t squeeze into the regular issue (although hopefully a couple of these gems will find their way into our upcoming September 20 edition):
Obama Opponents Pine for “Ethnic Purity”
“First of all, we have a mixed race President who has a middle name ‘Hussein.’ And a good part of the anxiety that’s going on in small-town white America isn’t just the plain old black and white stuff of the past. It’s the fact that South Asians are moving in and running the local motel or, you know, I don’t want to deal in those sorts of cliches, but there are a lot of Latinos about who are moving into these areas that their grandchildren are coming out as gay or intermarrying. The purity of, the ‘ethnic purity,’ to coin a phrase, that they grew up with no longer exists....” — Time’s Joe Klein on the Chris Matthews Show, August 29.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made the rounds of the six broadcast and cable morning news shows on Tuesday morning to help set the table for the President’s speech marking the end of major combat operations in Iraq. Of the six network anchors Gibbs spoke with, only CBS’s Harry Smith failed to ask whether President Obama would extend credit to President Bush for the successful surge strategy (a strategy then-Senator Obama denigrated as futile).
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos recited House GOP Leader John Boehner’s dig at politicians who “fought tooth-and-nail to stop the surge strategy,” and then rejected Gibbs claim that Boehner’s was “made up history.” NBC’s Matt Lauer recited Obama’s own words to Gibbs: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq are gonna solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."
Just like NBC and ABC this morning, CBS’s The Early Show had a hostile take on Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally scheduled for Saturday on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Correspondent Whit Johnson labeled Beck a “controversial conservative,” event speaker Alveda King (a niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.) a “longtime advocate for conservative causes,” and suggested that the fact that some attendees “will get there on Tea Party-sponsored buses” contradicted the idea that this would be a non-political event.
Yet talking about liberal rabble rouser and onetime Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton, Johnson offered no ideological labels or even a tag that Sharpton might be “controversial.” Instead, Sharpton’s event was described as a rally “hosted by civil rights leaders,” and showcased his slam: “The things that Beck stands for are antithetical to the civil rights movement."
For good measure, Johnson brought in a second Beck critic, Daily Beast writer and frequent CNN talking head John Avlon. “Where Martin Luther King was a uniter,” Avlon slammed, “Glenn Beck is a professional divider.”
Continuing their obsession with the credibility-challenged Levi Johnston, whose sole claim to fame is his continuing ability to exploit his relationship with Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, CBS’s The Early Show on Friday devoted more than four minutes to an “exclusive” interview with the “reality star” and how he now recants his apology for lying about the Palins in previous interviews.
To her credit, correspondent Betty Nguyen challenged Johnston’s openly frivolous approach to running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (a stunt concocted for a reality show) and whether his temporary apology was “honest” (he said it was “something I did to make my fiancee happy”).
But CBS has shown a particular fetish for publicizing Johnston’s antics, especially his slams of Sarah Palin. Back in July, NewsBusters’ Kyle Drennen documented five lengthy Early Show features of Johnston, including two “exclusive” interviews, one of which aired over two days. Always, CBS touted the anti-Sarah Palin angle, as they did again today with the on-screen headline: “Levi’s Regrets; Johnston Sorry He Made Palin Apology.”
As the Obama administration’s “Recovery Summer” crumbles, CBS’s Early Show on Thursday noted how the poor economic data has made many Americans deeply pessimistic about the future, with 37% saying that the economy “is in permanent decline.”
So does that mean Obama's $862 billion stimulus is a failure? Not according to economist Mark Zandi, who was interviewed by co-host Erica Hill. Zandi asserted that “the recession ended about a year ago, in large part because of the stimulus efforts,” and the current sluggishness was because “the stimulus is now fading,” and thus “the benefit to growth is winding down.”
Of course, Zandi has been a consistent enthusiast for the stimulus, as far back as early 2009, a fact which was not disclosed today. “We need stimulus,” Zandi championed on the January 28, 2009 Early Show. “It’s about preserving jobs.”
The so-called “news” media have spent much of the past two decades demonizing the rhetoric of conservative radio talk show hosts as mean-spirited, divisive or a menace to civil discourse. But these same journalists — who gleefully castigate Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and other conservatives — are silent about the vile and vicious rhetoric that spews from the Left’s leading radio talk show hosts.
Since late 2007, the Media Research Center has collected numerous examples of the outrageousness of left-wing radio hosts. And, unlike the Left — which attempted to smear Rush Limbaugh with phony quotes — readers can find an audio or video of every one of these quotes (46 in all) posted at our Web site: www.MRC.org.
MRC’s new report includes examples of over-the-top rhetoric from left-wing hosts Mike Malloy, Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes, Ron Reagan, Jr., Ed Schultz and Montel Williams, all of whom currently or at one time broadcast to a national audience on either the Air America network or via XM and/or Sirius satellite radio. A few of the choicer examples:
The peaceful departure of the last U.S. combat forces from Iraq this week was another milestone towards the successful end of a war that many liberal journalists declared lost four years ago. Since early 2009, the war in Iraq has been a relatively low priority for the national press, which has focused on decrying the war in Afghanistan and cheerleading the Obama administration’s aggressive domestic agenda.
But over the last eight years — since journalists began decrying what they termed the Bush administration’s “rush to war” in August 2002, a full seven months before the first bombs fell — the Media Research Center has analyzed TV coverage of the Iraq conflict. The bottom line: reporters were obvious skeptics from the very beginning, and did all they could to push withdrawal and defeat before George W. Bush’s surge strategy saved the day.
A quick review of the media’s approach over the past eight years, with many links to the additional information that can be found at www.MRC.org:
Too much bias, not enough space. Collecting quotes for the latest edition of MRC’s bi-weekly Notable Quotables, I found more outrageous liberal eruptions than could fit into the normal newsletter. So, just for NewsBusters readers, here are a dozen worthy quotes that just couldn’t squeeze into the regular issue:
■ Confusing Tired Liberal Cliches with Economic Strategy
“Let’s let the entire slew of Bush tax cuts retire. That would take us back to Clinton-era rates, when the American economy had its strongest growth years in three decades and the budget was balanced for the first time in four decades. If the economy still needs a bit more stimulus, fine, extend unemployment benefits for another year. Give some aid to the states. Those are temporary measures, and the money will get spent. Unemployment benefits work because they go to people who are living from paycheck to paycheck. They spend the money....This massive change actually requires that Congress do nothing. Let the tax cuts expire. A do-nothing Congress will have done something truly important for the country’s future.” — Newsweek international editor Fareed Zakaria hosting CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, August 1.
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Monday ran full reports on President Obama’s declaration that all combat troops would leave Iraq by the end of this month, leaving behind 50,000 troops designated for training and support. But only ABC’s World News bothered to point out how the end of American combat involvement in Iraq can be credited “in large part, because of the final actions of the last administration.”
Correspondent Yunji de Nies uniquely pointed out: “Just before leaving office, President Bush sent an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq and extended the tours of many more — a move then-Senator Obama opposed.”
ABC even showed a clip of Obama on the Senate floor in 2007 predicting the surge would fail: “I cannot in good conscience support this escalation. It is a policy that has already been tried and a policy that has failed.”
Neither CBS nor NBC pointed out how Obama was capitalizing on a policy he opposed, but all of the networks were skeptical of Obama’s claim that Iraq was a healed nation: