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:
On Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360, anchor Anderson Cooper faulted himself for not pressing Shirley Sherrod when she appeared on the show back on July 22 and claimed that conservative Andrew Breitbart was a “vicious” racist who “would like to get us stuck back in the times of slavery.”
Cooper now says he should have challenged Sherrod to support such an inflammatory charge with facts: “I believe in admitting my mistakes....I didn't challenge her that night and I should have.”
The July 22 interview was one of numerous appearances Sherrod made on CNN after she was fired by the Department of Agriculture on July 19. Cooper asked Sherrod about her phone conversation that day with President Obama, and then about Breitbart. Here’s the transcript of that section of the interview; an extended video clip appears after the jump:
NBC News White House correspondent and MSNBC daytime anchor Chuck Todd told Politico's Roger Simon that the Journolist scandal has been keeping him up nights, and he's especially frustrated that "the right" would use it as "a sledgehammer" against everyday journalists, "those of us who don't practice advocacy journalism."
Todd fretted: "Journolist was pretty offensive. Those of us who are mainstream journalists got mixed in with journalists with an agenda. Those folks who thought they were improving journalism are destroying the credibility of journalism. This has kept me up nights. I try to be fair. It’s very depressing."
The only problem, of course, is that Todd and other ostensibly neutral reporters at NBC have gotten "mixed in with journalists with an agenda" via the entire MSNBC project. Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, the upcoming Larry O'Donnell show -- these are not programs designed to boost the "credibility of journalism." They are liberal agenda shows designed to push one side -- Journolist on TV, as it were.
For his part, Simon seems critical of Journolist for tainting the media's professionalism -- a "holy calling" (although the most directly critical statement is the headline, "Journolist veers out of bounds"). An excerpt:
On Wednesday’s Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy took strong exception to the NAACP’s claim it was “snookered” by Fox News into denouncing former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod based on excerpts of a speech she delivered at a dinner in March.
“There’s a timeline problem,” Doocy pointed out, noting that the NAACP had on Monday night denounced Sherrod as “shameful,” the same day that she was pressured to quit her job (she says by the White House). But Fox News never mentioned the story until after Sherrod had quit. “So for anybody to say that Fox News pressured her out, that is simply a lie,” Doocy asserted.
West coast viewers got to see a July 4 CBS Evening News on Sunday, and those who tuned in saw CBS's interim "report card" on Congress's performance so far. Under the headline of "unfinished business," correspondent Wyatt Andrews and his sole expert, Politico's Jonathan Allen, both fretted how Congress is now "paralyzed" due to a "growing fear of the deficit."
Many Americans are probably wishing Congress had become "paralyzed" a few trillion dollars ago.
Andrews rued that supposedly job-creating "stimulus spending" may be sacrificed if enough congressmen feel deficit spending is now "political Kryptonite."
Many members of Congress especially those in tough re-election campaigns are home right now, trying to figure out the spending issue: Will voters support more stimulus spending if it directly leads to jobs, or has deficit spending itself become political Kryptonite?
After nearly three months, the results show far more Democrats and liberals earning a "False" rating, with most of the "True" ratings going to Republicans and conservatives. The discrepency remains even if you take into account that about two-thirds of the evaluated statements came from Democrats in the first place.
From April 11 through June 20, PolitiFact has handed out seven "False" statements -- six to Democrats/liberals, one to a Republican. During that same time, seven "True" labels were handed out -- four for Republicans/conservatives, just two for Democrats (one, ironically, going to former President Bill Clinton).
Retired General Colin Powell also picked up a "True" for a statement about the number of troops President Obama has deployed to Afghanistan, but it's hard to say which side Powell represents these days.
All three network evening newscasts on Monday downplayed the start of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings, with NBC Nightly News squeezing in just 24 seconds for Kagan at the tail end of a story about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor the 2nd Amendment. For their part, CBS and ABC offered full stories outlining Kagan’s first day before the Judiciary committee after packages devoted to the gun rights’ ruling.
Only CBS’s Jan Crawford suggested the hearings were more than a ritual leading to Kagan’s inevitable confirmation: “When President Obama nominated her in May, her confirmation was considered a sure bet. But Republicans are emboldened by what they see as a weakened president and sense that support for Kagan in the country has dropped.”
Both Crawford and ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl included Republican criticisms of Kagan’s lack of experience and the hostility to the military she displayed at the Harvard Law School. As for NBC, they mentioned none of those issues, and only included a brief soundbite of Kagan promising to be “impartial.”
Here’s the entirety of NBC’s brief discussion of Monday’s hearing:
When President Obama picked Elena Kagan to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the broadcast networks referred to the upcoming Senate confirmation process as “contentious” a “meat grinder” and a “battle,” warning Kagan was “in for a fight.”
But a Media Research Center analysis of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts in the six weeks since Kagan was nominated shows the broadcast networks have failed to cover the “fight,” and have ignored most of the controversies that could lead to suspenseful hearings next week.
MRC analysts found that the broadcast network evening newscasts aired just eleven stories about Kagan since her May 10 nomination (six on CBS, three on ABC and two on NBC), plus another three brief items read by the anchor. All but one of those stories appeared during the first week after Kagan’s selection; only the CBS Evening News, in a June 3 report, has bothered to cover any of the thousands of pages of Kagan documents released in recent weeks.
The Washington Post’s Colbert I. King is a regular TV commentator, a Pulitzer prize winner and the deputy editor of the paper’s influential editorial page. But the column he churned out for this morning’s paper is one of the laziest ad hominem attacks on conservatives I’ve ever seen.
Dressed up as a Father’s Day column, King argues that Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh should not criticize President Obama on policy matters because Obama is a good family man and they are not — and then churns out paragraph after paragraph reciting the personal laundry of these conservatives and, in the case of Palin, their non-relatives.
In other words: Shut up about Obama’s left-wing big government policies or I’ll embarrass you.
It’s a shameful column, hardly worthy of a college newspaper, let alone a Pulitzer prize winner. Here’s how it starts off:
The day after President Obama’s oil spill speech — in which the President pivoted from the ongoing mess in the Gulf of Mexico to his call for ending our “addiction” to fossil fuels — ABC’s World News obliged the White House’s agenda with a profile of solar cell manufacturer Natcore, whose president, Chuck Provini, says he can cut the costs of solar cells (which are right now too expensive to be economically viable without government subsidies).
But the problem, as ABC correspondent Dan Harris helped frame it, is that this entrepreneur was getting nothing but “blank stares” from the “congressional staffers, lawyers and lobbyists” he met with in Washington, D.C. — as if a venture capitalists and other private investors wouldn’t be tripping over themselves to get in on the ground floor of a process that could actually make solar power viable.
And the hero of the story, as ABC told it, is China’s dictatorship, which has made a deal with the company and will now gain the “hundreds of jobs” that U.S. officials have supposedly squandered by not bankrolling Provini:
A tale of two disasters: On ABC’s Good Morning America this morning, weatherman Sam Champion’s piece included reaction from several residents of Florida, Alabama and Louisiana to President Obama’s oil spill speech, and found three outright critics and no defenders of the administration’s handling of the disaster. One woman exclaimed: “What I would have liked to heard from him – that he actually had a plan.”
The kindest review came from a man in Alabama who merely hoped the federal response would improve: “I think we're seeing a change in how he's handling the situation. And I hope it's for the better.”
Five years ago, after President Bush spoke in New Orleans a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast, ABC assembled a focus group of six people displaced by the storm, and taking refuge in Houston’s Astrodome. But to the evident astonishment of ABC’s correspondent, not one member of that group would denounce President Bush, but instead leveled their criticism at local officials who failed to prepare the city ahead of time.
A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds most Americans (51%) say the average reporter is more liberal than they are, and nearly as many (48%) think the media are “are trying to help” President Obama pass his left-wing agenda. Perhaps as a result, the poll finds an astonishing two-thirds of the public (66%) say they are angry with the media, “including 33% who are very angry” with the press.
Most Americans seem to have a low view of journalists’ integrity and professionalism. Rasmussen discovered that “68% say most reporters when covering a political campaign try to help the candidate they want to win,” vs. 23% who think most reporters “try to offer unbiased coverage.” At the same time, “54% of voters think most reporters would hide any information they uncovered that might hurt a candidate they wanted to win, up seven points from November 2008.”
None of the three broadcast evening newscasts had even a few seconds last night for video of Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge physically grabbing and yelling at an unidentified student attempting to ask him whether he supports President Obama’s agenda. But last Thursday, after Republican senate candidate Carly Fiorina was caught making a flip remark about Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer’s hair, ABC’s World News ran a full report on that “caught on tape political moment.”
Worth noting: Back on June 10, George Stephanopoulos was sitting in for Diane Sawyer. But last night, Sawyer was back in the anchor chair.
In introducing last week's report from correspondent Jonathan Karl, Stephanopoulos touted the Fiorina flap as “the latest caught off guard, caught on tape, all too candid political moment.” The Etheridge scuffle would surely fit that same standard, but ABC’s World News had no time on Monday to mention that embarrassment for the Democrats.
All three network morning shows touted the good showing by a bevy of Republican women and Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln in yesterday's primaries. NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show both headlined "Ladies Night," while ABC's Good Morning America's take was "Women Rule."
But ABC fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas suggested credit should really go to Hillary Clinton, because she "helped by running for president," paving the way for "all these other women about to possibly take office, high office, in those states."
Vargas's co-host and former Clinton employee George Stephanopoulos offered no comment.
Here's how ABC's Good Morning America opened their June 9 program:
On Sunday’s Face the Nation, CBS legal correspondent Jan Crawford revealed how the Obama White House is “strongly” pushing back against her unsurprising report last week that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan “stood shoulder to shoulder with the liberal left” when she clerked for liberal Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Crawford says the White House reaction to her report “has been astonishing....Their reaction has been to push back so strongly on allegations, as they would put it, that she’s a liberal. Like there’s something wrong with that, like it’s a smear to say their nominee is a liberal.”
To Crawford, Team Obama’s strategy reeks of phoniness: “They’re putting enormous pressure on Elena Kagan who, as you said, is qualified. She’s an intellectual superstar. They’re putting pressure on her to portray herself in these hearings as something other than what she is. They’re thinking short-term politically and not long-term for the Court and the law and liberal judicial philosophy.”
Thomas has been widely admired by the liberal establishment in the media. NBC’s Ann Curry, for example, last year saluted Thomas as “a woman who inspired me....I’ve tried to emulate her.” CBS’s Harry Smith has described her as “legendary,” adding: “What she does day after day after day, I’m not sure we value enough.”
Thomas has not been shy about expressing her left-wing views and reliably anti-Israel opinions since she became a White House “columnist” in 2000, after a lengthy career as UPI’s straight news White House correspondent. But a review shows Thomas was expressing solidly liberal opinions even as a supposedly neutral reporter:
The American lawyers who flock to Guantanamo Bay to represent captured terrorists are simply fulfilling their duty to provide representation, it is often argued by those who seem to enjoy mucking up efforts to curtail future terrorism. But once representing the American beverage giant Coca Cola makes Attorney General Eric Holder a “corporatist” who’s going to “do the Devil’s work” and only “pretend” to go tough on BP after the oil spill, lefty talk radio host Mike Malloy (a onetime CNN news writer) argued Wednesday night. (Audio here.)
I guess you know this by now, the, uh, Justice Department under Eric Holder who defended, uh, was it Coca-Cola, against murder charges in, uh, South America? Good old Eric Holder, another corporatist, who, uh, is going to do the Devil’s work now and pretend that he is conducting a criminal investigation into the events that led to the oil gush?
For their part, the big three network evening newscasts reported Holder’s announcement of a “criminal investigation” against BP during their Tuesday night broadcasts, but only CBS’s Chip Reid struck what could be called a skeptical note about the Obama administration’s motives in publicly touting the investigation after a week of criticism about the federal government’s less-than-effective handling of the matter.