The TVNewser blog alerted me to Katie Couric’s “Notebook” item yesterday, in which she mocks the New York Times for making “not one, not two, but seven errors” in their remembrance of the late Walter Cronkite last week. TVNewser suggested Couric may have trying to get “payback” for an anti-Couric piece that the Times’s Alessandra Stanley wrote four years ago when Couric worked at NBC:
Wow. This is good. In her 'Notebook' on CBSNews.com, Katie Couric takes down New York Times columnist Alessandra Stanley, and she does it in the cruelest of ways: without mentioning her by name....There is no love lost between the anchor and the columnist. The most memorable Stanley story on Couric may be this 2005 take-down of the then-Today show anchor: "At the first sound of her peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels, people dart behind doors and douse the lights," Stanley wrote about Couric.
Well, this might be Couric's payback. And just look at the smile on her face during the segment...
Couric sounded pretty high and mighty in her take-down of the Times: “As we say goodbye to the dean of TV news, let's all remember as journalists when as we say, 'That's the way it is,' it really is.” But a few years ago, Couric utterly embarrassed herself in a Today interview with Democratic presidential candidate Bob Graham, as she quoted extensively from an obvious parody of Graham’s habit of diary-keeping. Apparently clueless to the fact that she was quoting a made-up story, Couric confronted Graham: “What, what do you do this for?!” (Video above; audio available here.)
Former Clinton campaign operative George Stephanopoulos generally tries to put a happy face on big Democratic Party initiatives, but on Tuesday’s Good Morning America the ABC chief Washington correspondent was gloomy about the prospects for Barack Obama’s health care bill. He told co-host Diane Sawyer that “the votes are not there right now” for the White House to get a bill before the August 8 recess, as the President has demanded, and thought polls showing dwindling support for Obama and rising anxiety about the deficit were a “big problem” for the Democrats.
But he did argue that Obama has the chance to turn the situation around by stressing how the massive bill will be “paid for” — even though another stumbling block he cited was more conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats upset by the massive tax increase embedded in the House bill.
“Whether they're going to be able to get there [to a health care bill by the end of the year] is still unclear, Diane, but I think those who are counting it out right now, who are saying there is no way this is going to happen because July is tough, I think they are wrong as well,” Stephanopoulos gamely argued.
While the big liberal media usually find it hard to skip any news related to the Kennedy family, ABC, CBS and NBC breathed not a word about Saturday’s 40th anniversary of Chappaquiddick. On the night of July 18, 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy left a party with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne and later drove off a bridge. Kennedy left the scene with Kopechne still in the submerged vehicle; he did not call the police until the following morning.
The Saturday and Sunday New York Times and Washington Post also had nothing about Chappaquiddick. Several newspapers did carry a brief, if inadvertent, mention, since on Saturday the Associated Press made it the day’s “Highlight in History” in their re-cap of big news events that happened on a July 18, beating out the start of the Great Fire of Rome in A.D. 64 and the death of naval hero John Paul Jones in 1792.
Earlier this week, ABC, CBS and NBC all noted the tenth anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy, Jr. That Kennedy was an “icon” according to CBS’s Harry Smith, and “the Prince of Camelot” to ABC’s Chris Cuomo, a former cousin-in-law. Today marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, killed July 18, 1969 after leaving a party with Senator Edward Kennedy. That night, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge, and left the scene with Kopechne still in the submerged vehicle; he did not call the police until the following morning.
Over the course of the past four decades, the media elite have touted Kennedy as a “liberal lion,” spending far more time celebrating his ideological agenda than reminding people of his behavior that night in 1969. As my colleague Brent Baker noted in an op-ed back in 1999, the media have come to refer to Chappaquiddick as a “Kennedy tragedy,” not a “Kopechne tragedy.”
The House Ways and Means committee approved a half-trillion dollar tax increase overnight, but the ABC and NBC morning news shows offered only a single sentence to the development, while CBS’s Early Show skipped it entirely.
Neither NBC’s Today nor ABC’s Good Morning America mentioned the tax increases $544 billion price tag, as each newscast folded the development into larger pieces on President Obama’s push for health care “reform.”
ABC’s Deborah Roberts first gave a mere two sentences to the CBO report that contradicts White House claims that Obama’s plan would save money. She then mentioned the big tax increase: “Meantime, a House committee approved billions in new taxes on the wealthy to pay for the reforms.”
Two months ago, as President Obama was contemplating a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, many in the media elite — particularly NBC News reporters and anchors — sycophantically touted Obama’s credentials as a constitutional law professor as evidence of his deep experience when it came to the judiciary.
Yesterday, however, Obama’s pick for the Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, explicitly repudiated Obama’s belief that judging should be based on “empathy” or “the heart.” Sotomayor told senators: “I don’t, wouldn’t, approach the issue of judging in the way the President does.”
None of the broadcast networks juxtaposed Sotomayor’s slap at Obama with the President’s supposed brilliance as a constitutional scholar, or explored whether it was credible that Obama’s nominee really disagrees on the role of empathy, what the President previously declared the “essential ingredient” of a good judge.
Catching up on a short item I noticed over the weekend, conservative columnist George Will has finally found a bright spot to the media's wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson over the past couple of weeks: at least it's time not spent pushing a liberal big government agenda. Will pointed out on ABC's This Week: "When the mainstream media is preoccupied with this, it's probably doing, on margin, less damage than when it's dealing with public policy."
At that, longtime ABC newsman Sam Donaldson interjected, "Oh, thanks a lot!"
During the July 12 roundtable, host George Stephanopoulos opened a segment on the media's coverage of Jackson (under the graphic headline "Michael Jackson: Media Overkill") with a clip of Republican Congressman Peter King decrying the lavish coverage given over to Jackson, who faced trial four years ago over charges he molested a young boy. Here's the full exchange:
In announcing that she was stepping down as Alaska Governor on Friday, Sarah Palin noted the unrelenting hostility of liberal media elites. In the barely ten months since she burst onto the national scene, Palin has been scorned and mocked by journalists -- including many supposedly objective reporters -- like few other politicians. Here are a few of the choicer attacks, as compiled from MRC's Notable Quotables newsletter:
"She is a far-right conservative who supported Pat Buchanan over George W. Bush in 2000. She thinks global warming is a hoax and backs the teaching of creationism in public schools. Women are not likely to be impressed by her opposition to abortion even in the case of rape and incest." — Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter in a "Web exclusive" posted on his magazine’s Web site, August 29, 2008.
"[McCain has] done it [picked Sarah Palin] at great cost, because the whole Republican convention...was going to be the slogan, ‘He’s not ready to lead,’ meaning Barack Obama. Well, Sarah Palin makes Barack Obama look like John Adams. I mean, it’s just, it’s no contest." — Newsweek’s Howard Fineman on MSNBC’s Countdown, August 29.
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift: "This [McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin] is not a serious choice. It makes it look like a made for TV movie. If the media reaction is anything, it’s been literally laughter in many places across news-" Host John McLaughlin: "Where is that? See that?" Clift: "In very, very many newsrooms." — Exchange on The McLaughlin Group, August 31, 2008.
In the week since South Carolina’s Republican Governor announced he had flown to Argentina to carry on an extra-marital affair, the broadcast morning and evening news shows have gone full bore on the scandal, cranking out 49 stories even in the midst of other major stories like Michael Jackson’s death and the continuing repression in Iran.
The morning after Sanford announced his affair, on the June 25 Good Morning America, longtime correspondent Sam Donaldson used the scandal to broadly charge Republicans with being “sanctimonious. They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they [act] human, they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness.” Unlike when New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught consorting with a prostitute in March 2008, all three broadcast networks immediately identified Sanford’s party ID.
A number of top Democrats are enmeshed in embarrassment or facing allegations of wrongdoing, but the networks have far less interest in publicizing those cases. A rundown of ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening coverage so far this year:
Following up on Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of New Haven firefighters who were denied promotion after no black applicants passed a written exam, ABC’s Bob Woodruff on Tuesday’s Good Morning America approached the decision from a liberal perspective, wondering if “the ruling really make future workplace discrimination harder to prove” — as opposed to wondering whether the ruling will protect workers from discriminatory tactics from employers seeking to achieve nebulous goals such as workplace “diversity.”
Woodruff also asked correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg whether the ruling could “tarnish” the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who was part of a three-judge panel that ruled against the firefighters.
Greenburg stressed the arguments of Sotomayor’s supporters: “Oh, Bob, right away we saw critics say this was a clear rebuke to Judge Sotomayor, since she had ruled against those white firefighters. But, her supporters said, ‘Look, she was just following the law,’ and they pointed out that the Court, the Court itself, was deeply divided. The four liberal justices would have agreed with her, including that justice she’s been nominated to replace, David Souter.”
As my colleague Mark Finkelstein noted this morning, now that gay activists are unhappy with Barack Obama, CBS has dusted off the “far left” label and used it to describe those who are upset that the President has not done more to advance the gay agenda. Co-host Harry Smith on Thursday: “President Obama gets some pressure from an unlikely source, the far left....”
So when was the last time CBS even used the phrase “far left” to describe fringe groups beyond the liberal mainstream? A Nexis search reveals that the last time the phrase crossed the lips of a CBS reporter was five months ago. On Inauguration Day, anchor Katie Couric mildly described unnamed “people on the far left or far right who don’t want Barack Obama to succeed.”
And the last time the “far left” label was used by CBS to describe a particular person or group was more than two years ago. On the May 17, 2007 CBS Evening News, reporter Sharyl Attkisson was talking about an immigration reform bill: “It’s a complete reform of US immigration law as we know it, worked out by a bipartisan group of negotiators, including Senator Ted Kennedy, politically on the far left, and Saxby Chambliss on the far right.”
All three broadcast network morning shows on Wednesday made a point of labeling Nevada Senator John Ensign as a “Republican” after the Senator came forward last night to admit having an extramarital affair last year. NBC, which refrained for days from calling New York Governor Eliot Spitzer a “Democrat” after his relationship with a prostitute was exposed, called Ensign a “conservative Republican,” while CBS made a point of reciting Ensign’s associations with Christian groups.
ABC’s Good Morning America provided the only full report, with the on-screen headline declaring “Leading GOP Senator Admits Affair.” News anchor Chris Cuomo and correspondent Jonathan Karl noted Ensign’s Republican affiliation three times: “A rising star in the Republican Party is coming forward....” “John Ensign is a member of the Republican leadership....” and “The Republican from Nevada admits cheating on his wife...”
Last year, NewsBusters noted how the networks always added the “Republican” label to GOP politicians caught in sex scandals, but not Democrats; with their coverage of the Ensign scandal this morning, the networks are maintaining their perfectly slanted approach.
On Sunday’s This Week roundtable, ABC national correspondent Claire Shipman tried to argue that it would be “very hard” for Republicans to label Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a liberal. “When you look at Sotomayor's record and look at the cases, it's very hard for people to make the case that she's a typical, you know, elite liberal judicial philosopher,” Shipman declared.
That was too much even for liberal columnist Cynthia Tucker, who is currently the editorial page editor of the Atlantic Journal-Constitution but will this summer move to Washington as the paper’s D.C.-based political columnist. “She is certainly liberal, she’s called herself liberal,” Tucker informed Shipman, but agreed that Sotomayor is “nobody’s knee-jerk radical.”
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift seemed flabbergasted on this weekend’s McLaughlin Group as fellow panelists Pat Buchanan, Monica Crowley and Mort Zuckerman all criticized President Obama’s speech to Muslims in Cairo. Perhaps reflecting the mindset of her Newsweek colleagues, Clift exclaimed: “Until I came on this set, I heard nothing but rave reviews for this speech. I feel like I’m in a total parallel reality.”
The McLaughlin Group tapes on Friday afternoons, which means that for the better part of two days Clift was completely insulated from the various criticisms of Obama’s speech which were easy to discover on talk radio, many newspapers, and the Internet. She seemed particularly enraged by the group’s consensus that Obama has been “badmouthing” the United States by repeatedly emphasizing past misdeeds and ignoring America’s valuable contributions to the rest of the world.
A dozen Republican members of Congress have formed the “Media Fairness Caucus,” the group’s chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) announced this morning on FNC’s America’s Newsroom. Smith told FNC co-anchor Bill Hemmer that the problem of liberal journalists skewing the information reaching Americans is a worse threat than “a recession or another terrorist attack,” and said his group’s goal would be to “encourage the media to adhere to the highest standards of their profession and to provide the American people with the facts, not tell them what to think.”
Newsmax’ Ron Kessler wrote about the formation of the new group yesterday: “The Media Fairness Caucus will point out unfair stories, meet with members of the media, and write op-eds and letters to the editor to highlight media bias. For the past two years, Smith has conducted his own campaign against unfair coverage in weekly one-minute speeches on the House floor. The caucus is intended to broaden and fortify the effort.”
Here are key excerpts from Smith’s appearance on the Fox News Channel Thursday morning (video here):
Tomorrow, June 4, is the 20th anniversary of the Chinese army massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. Back in 1989, the big networks provided in-depth coverage of the massive protests that swelled in mid-May, and harsh coverage of the brutal reaction from the communist authorities.
But, as the Media Research Center noted at the time, the networks also used the occasion for some bizarre comparisons. Two that stand out from our archive: CBS’s Eric Engberg comparing the People’s Liberation Army’s planned assault on students with the Ohio National Guard’s panicky shooting into anti-war demonstrators at Kent State University in 1970, killing four; and NBC commentator John Chancellor ruing the heavy focus on the bloodshed in Beijing instead of a then-new Carnegie report found problems with America’s middle schools.
Thursday night, as my colleague Brent Baker noted, ABC and NBC fretted that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor might not adhere to a strict liberal orthodoxy on abortion. NBC reporter Pete Williams said Sotomayor’s views on abortion were a “mystery,” while ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg declared “both sides in the contentious debate want to know more.”
On Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Wyatt Andrews sounded the same alarm: “Pro-abortion rights groups worried aloud today that the President — who promised an abortion rights nominee — never asked Sotomayor, who is Catholic, where she stands.”
On Thursday’s Today, co-host Matt Lauer opened the show by demanding to know “Where does she stand? Liberal activists voicing concerns over Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and her stance on abortion. This morning, they’re demanding to know if she’s pro-choice or pro-life — and why President Obama never asked.”
But this isn’t the first time the networks have channeled the worries of liberal pro-abortion groups about a Democratic President’s Supreme Court nominee.
Moments after President Obama announced his pick of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, CBS’s Bob Schieffer and Katie Couric enthused over what Couric called Sotomayor’s “very, very compelling life story,” with Schieffer cheering that she was “the political advisor’s dream candidate.”
“This woman has a life story that you couldn’t make up!” Schieffer exulted: “She’s born in the public projects, in the shadow of Yankee stadium, a single parent household, she goes to a Catholic school, she gets scholarships to the best schools in the country, Princeton and Yale, she overcomes all that while dealing with diabetes all her life, and she is Hispanic. This will be a historic pick.”
Couric immediately followed-up with her own salute: “Add to that, Bob, the fact that her father was a factory worker who died when she was nine years old, raised by a single mother who raised her brother to be a doctor and, obviously, her daughter to be an extremely accomplished lawyer and now judge. So it is a very, as you say, very, very compelling life story.”
After three weeks of virtual silence, all three broadcast networks provided full reports last night (Thursday) about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s shifting story about what she knew about the interrogation methods used against al Qaeda terrorists, methods that liberals have decried as criminal torture. This morning (Friday), NBC and CBS also provided full reports, but ABC’s Good Morning America weirdly relegated Pelosi’s rant that the CIA “misleads us all the time” to a brief, 28-second report during the 8am ET hour.
That’s about as much time as the newscast gave to the rescue of a kangaroo caught in deep water off an Australian beach.
NBC’s Today was by far the toughest on Pelosi this morning, with co-host Matt Lauer opening the show by demanding: “What did she know and when did she know it? The CIA claims in a 2002 briefing, they told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi they were using harsh interrogation techniques. She says that’s a lie. So who’s telling the truth?”
For the past three weeks, controversy has swirled around Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called for a “truth commission” to expose the supposed war crimes of the Bush administration but who herself was briefed years ago on the use of waterboarding and the other enhanced interrogation techniques that are now drawing howls of outrage.
ABC, CBS and NBC have said nothing about the Speaker’s shifting stories, or the potential hypocrisy of her once supporting (or at least not objecting to) policies that she would later condemn as illegal “torture.”
The current round of stories began April 22, after the Obama administration released selected memos from the Bush administration on the legal limits to interrogation. That night, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell offered a brief mention of how Pelosi was one of those who had been told: “Members of Congress were briefed at the time and reportedly didn’t dissent, including intelligence committee leaders Nancy Pelosi, Porter Goss, Bob Graham and Richard Shelby.” ABC and CBS said nothing about Pelosi that night.
[UPDATE, 6:45PM ET:For those who only lightly skimmed or otherwise did not notice earlier, this is an April Fools Day edition of Notable Quotables. All of the quotes were made up by various MRC staffers. I hope you enjoyed the parody.]
For those of you who enjoy reading MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter, featuring the most outrageous (and sometimes humorous) quotes in the liberal media, our latest edition has just been put online. The full text, with five matching videos, can be found at www.MRC.org; here are a few of the highlights from this issue:
An ‘A’ for America's Passenger-in-Chief
Co-host Diane Sawyer: "As we said, President Obama is in London today, his first trip to Europe since becoming President. ABC's George Stephanopoulos has been watching all of this, and is here with his report card...." George Stephanopoulos: "Barack Obama arrived at the G-20 summit just hours ago, too soon for a real assessment of his diplomacy. But, Diane, the flight over the Atlantic was just spectacular. Our pool correspondent tells us there was very little turbulence, the food was delicious, and the view of London on the approach was magnificent. So, I'm giving the President an ‘A' for this trip — if he can keep this up over the next couple of days, it's going to be a very successful summit." — ABC's Good Morning America, April 1.
If you thought MSNBC could not possibly tilt any further to the left, you may — sadly — be wrong. According to the New York Observer, the cable network may be about to give liberal radio host Ed Schultz his own program. Schultz has already filled in three times this month as anchor of the 6pm ET 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the one-time venue of Meet the Press moderator David Gregory.
“Schultz, with his rustic delivery, blue-collar bona fides and copious hunting references, would presumably add some heartland credibility to MSNBC's wonky cosmopolitan lineup without disrupting the lefty story line,” The Observer’s Felix Gillette noted on Tuesday.
Schultz has been a favorite with the NBC/MSNBC crowd since his national radio show debuted in January 2004. NBC’s Today show quickly brought him on as a pundit during the Democratic primaries, and treated him to a gooey profile in March of that year. Katie Couric touted Schultz as a liberal version of radio mega-star Rush Limbaugh, though at the time Schultz’s affiliates consisted only of stations in North Dakota, Montana, and Needles, California.
Now for something completely different, or at least something pretty rare on network TV. ABC’s John Stossel has paired up with Drew Carey and the libertarian Reason TV for tonight’s 20/20 special headlined “Bailouts and Bull,” on the limits and unintended consequences of government involvement in the economy and in our lives.
While Stossel is known for his skepticism of big government solutions, most journalists at the big networks have been accepting of the premises of President Obama’s interventionist approach, not challenging his assertions the way President Bush’s economic policies were frequently challenged.
Stossel will tackle the idea that all economists support Obama’s government-spending-as-stimulus policies, liberal claims that the American Dream is now out of reach for most workers, and the idea that a fence along the Mexican border will really stem the tide of illegal immigrants.
The Washington Times and New York Daily News, among other news outlets, have reported that, as a member of Congress, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel received rent-free accommodations from Representative Rosa DeLauro for five years, raising the question of whether Emanuel properly complied with gift rules for House members and whether he should have paid taxes on the imputed income of the gift.
Last summer, liberals went after Republican Senator Norm Coleman for paying an allegedly below-market rate for his Capitol Hill apartment, with the George Soros-funded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) demanding an ethics committee investigation.
The big media bias question regarding Emanuel is whether his longtime friend, ABC chief Washington correspondent and host of This Week George Stephanopoulos, knew about the arrangement with DeLauro and her husband, pollster Stan Greenberg — who worked alongside Emanuel and Stephanopoulos in the 1992 Clinton campaign.
The Obama administration’s decision to have the White House supervise the 2010 Census -- a response to left-wing complaints that the Census was too important to leave under the authority of Republican Judd Gregg, the nominee for Commerce Secretary -- has thus far (as of Tuesday morning) drawn absolutely no attention from the three broadcast networks, with not a single mention on the ABC, CBS or NBC morning or evening newscasts.
This would undoubtedly be a huge story if the White House were still in Republican hands and it was the GOP that was attempting to take over the Census. As the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund reported today: “‘There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement,’ a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. ‘And it's called politics, not science.’”
Blogging at U.S. News & World Report on Monday, Michael Barone -- who knows more about the nuts and bolts of U.S. politics than practically anybody -- suggested the move could even be ruled unconstitutional:
It hardly balances all of the airtime given to liberal proponents of President Obama’s plans for massive government spending as “stimulus,” but an actual network news program actually presented a single story outlining the conservative free-market approach to today’s economic problems. On Saturday’s Good Morning America, ABC correspondent John Hendren examined what he termed “a growing movement among economists, who say the best way out of this recession is to do nothing. Nothing at all.”
Hendren gave three soundbites to Cato economist Dan Mitchell, who pointed out that “government spending doesn’t work very well,” how “bad government policies got us into this mess,” and that while letting the free market run its course might be painful, “we can make that transition much quicker and have a faster and stronger recovery.”
Hendren termed the free market economists “do nothings,” but suggested they may be influential enough to at least block a little of the runaway spending. Hendren told co-anchor Bill Weir: “Now, the do-nothings know they’re going to lose this debate. But they’re hoping to hold down the size of the stimulus. As one economist told me, I can see them cutting $100 billion, and that ain’t chump change. Bill?”
Several years ago, the Media Research Center joined with then-Cato economist Stephen Moore (now with the Wall Street Journal) on a book “Dollars and Nonsense” debunking the news media’s top ten economic myths. First on the list was the canard that government spending and deficits stimulate the economy, a premise demolished in an essay written by the Nobel-prize winning economist Milton Friedman.
But as President Obama and the Democrats push a big government spending package that promises to “stimulate” the economy, journalists are once again accepting the idea that such spending can really cause the economy to grow. “How soon will jobs show up? And what kind of jobs?” ABC’s Diane Sawyer eagerly asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Thursday’s Good Morning America.
NBC reporter John Yang also presupposed that the spending plan would boost economic growth. “The recession Mr. Obama inherited is deepening,”Yang intoned on the January 24 Nightly News. “And as the urgency for the stimulus package grows, the president promised the money would be spent carefully.”
As Milton Friedman pointed out, the government can only get the dollars it spends in one of three ways: taxing, borrowing, or creating new money. Taxing and borrowing take from the economy, essentially canceling out the effects of the spending or worse. Creating new money amounts to monetary stimulus, which could boost economic activity whether the new money is spent by government or by the private sector.
The liberal media were flagrant supporters of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, as documented in literally thousands of postings here at NewsBusters and detailed researchreports over at our parent site, www.MRC.org.
The grim reaper is knocking on the mainstream media’s door, and they remain gloriously oblivious. They have reached a tipping point but refuse to believe it. The corrosion that is eating away at their credibility had been happening slowly. It’s like acid rain; one day you look around and all the trees are dead. Nobody pays attention until it’s too late.
Seven weeks after his arrest for allegedly attempting to peddle Barack Obama’s Senate seat, Rod Blagojevich was removed as governor of Illinois on Thursday. ABC, CBS and NBC all offered full reports last night and this morning, but none of the anchors or reporters provided any hint that Blagojevich was a Democrat.
Back on December 9, reporting on the then-governor’s arrest, NewsBusters noted how all three of the evening newscasts had properly referred to Blagojevich as a Democrat. NBC reporter Lee Cowan described the charge as “that the two-term Democratic Governor tried to sell a seat in the US Senate to the highest bidder,” while ABC’s Brian Ross stated that “the boyish-looking Democrat branded a greedy, foul mouth politician who tried to sell a US Senate seat to the highest bidder.”
But now that the scandal was ending Blagojevich’s political career (he’s now banned from ever serving in public office in Illinois), the networks have dropped the (D) from the story. A round-up of some of the coverage, starting with Thursday’s evening newscasts:
Wednesday’s Good Morning America led into an interview with House Republican Leader John Boehner about the massive Democratic “stimulus” package with a deluge of horror stories about the awful economy: an elderly man who froze to death after failing to pay his power bills; a new report declaring the need for $2 trillion in new infrastructure spending; and an unemployed man who killed his family and himself.
“You know this situation -- you don't need me to tell you about it, we hear about job losses being reported every day,” news anchor Chris Cuomo told viewers, “so the pressure is on lawmakers” to “get past the age-old battle over tax cuts versus spending” and pass the massive spending bill. Making it perfectly obvious which side he’s on, Cuomo declared “a promising signal for all of us” that Boehner seemed to come out of a meeting with President Obama “looking to make a deal.”
But the economic horror stories that ABC pushed prior to showing the interview with Boehner (taped Tuesday afternoon) all contain significant omissions. The “unregulated” power company being blamed for the elderly man’s death is owned by the local government, not some greedy capitalist utility. The new report arguing for massive spending on roads and bridges was released two months early to influence the stimulus vote. And the man who tragically killed his family did not lose his job because of cost-cutting or anything related to the economy, but after being investigated for possible fraud.