ABC and NBC on Wednesday night continued to hype the "stunning" retirement of "lightning rod" Michele Bachmann. World News reporter Jeff Zeleny noted that although the politician "rode the Tea Party wave," her "words often created trouble." The journalist made sure to use the words "Tea Party" and "Republican" six times in the two and a half minute segment. In contrast, when controversial, scandal-prone Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress, the networks failed to use a partisan label 73 percent of the time.
Zeleny also highlighted, "But Bachmann downplayed the fact that she's at the center of three investigations, including an FBI probe over allegations of aides misusing campaign money."
MSNBC on Wednesday debuted yet another hard-left Lean Forward ad. This time, liberal anchor Alex Wagner slammed anyone who wants border security, sneering that they want "bigger, meaner, scarier fences" and "electrified, alligator moats to prevent 'them' coming in." Each time Wagner mockingly spoke for those who opposed illegal immigration, she used air quotes to describe "them," implying a racist motive. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
When describing people who broke the law, Wagner delicately explained, "We gotta punish people who came here the wrong way, even if they've been contributing to American society for a decade or more."
Good Morning America's David Wright on Wednesday touted a new phone app to fight the "super rich" and combat "billionaires blocking the beach." The journalist toured some of California beaches, which are public, but are in front of wealthy homes. Wright lectured, "The app is free like the beach is supposed to be." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The ABC graphic warned, "Billionaires Blocking the Beach: Secret Passages of Malibu Revealed." The "billionaire" obstruction apparently amounts to living in the homes and not advertising the beach's availability. Talking to Jenny Price, a professor and creator of the app, Wright gushed, "In a way, this is Robin Hood at the beach." Sensibly, Price talked him down from the class warfare rhetoric, "Well, except that we're not stealing anything."
According to Chris Matthews on Tuesday, having Rand Paul or Ted Cruz as opponents would result in an easy win for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Hardball host, who famously had a "thrill" going up his leg for Barack Obama, plotted the former Secretary of State's path to victory. Regarding whether she'll run, Matthews gushed, "It's just a question of what kind of campaign and who's going to help her win it?" (Other than MSNBC, one might wonder?)
The cable anchor predicted Clinton would probably be "lucky enough" to have Cruz or Paul as an opponent. Matthews lectured, "And I tell you, that's not going to be a complicated vote for most people." Before offering more campaign advice, the journalist actually insisted, "I can't put myself in the ring for running her campaign." Yet, a few months ago, Matthews did exactly that.
Initially, the networks covered Anthony Weiner's entry into the New York City mayoral race as the "comeback kid" fighting for a "second chance." However, over the last several days, top state Democrats have recoiled at the campaign of the scandal-scarred congressman. Governor Andrew Cuomo mocked, "shame on us," should Weiner win. Senator Chuck Schumer refused to talk about the race.
After these comments surfaced, ABC's World News on Saturday offered a much tougher critique on Weiner. Reporter Marci Gonzalez grilled the politician, wondering, "Why should [the people] trust you? You've lied to them before." Pushing for details on Weiner's sexting history, she quizzed, "And you have said there could be other photos out there. How many more could there be?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Longtime MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Thursday lashed out at the Obama administration, complaining that "more than any of its predecessors in recent years [they have], gone after journalists." The usually Obama-friendly journalist complained that the White House "has not" challenged journalists in a restrained way, but "has done it in a very broad, sweeping way as we saw with the Associated Press and also with Fox News." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In another segment, Mitchell skeptically commented on the President's renewed effort to close Guantanamo Bay: "But do we have a solution yet, first of all, for those, for whom there is no place to go and who cannot be brought to trial?" Talking to Jeh Johnson, she pressed, "What about the residual group of prisoners? Where will they go?"
If Barack Obama is losing Chris Matthews, he might be in serious trouble. The MSNBC host on Wednesday declared that the Tea Party is the victim of "profiling" by the Internal Revenue Service that is on the level of targeting innocent Muslims as terrorists. On the subject of former IRS official Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth, Matthews wondered, "Why, if you have nothing to hide and you're a truth teller and you're of sound mind, and she seems to be, why doesn't she sit in that witness stand and answer truthfully?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The bewildered host continued, "Why wouldn't she want to clear her reputation today?" Matthews even went so far as to compare the attack on conservatives to racial profiling: "I go to the airport and I'm running TSA. Instead of deciding based upon people's movements around the world that might be suspicious, going to countries that cause us trouble, I just look for everybody that looks Arab and I put them in one line. The American people would say that's outrageous."
All three networks on Wednesday played a promotional video of Anthony Weiner, hyping the mayoral run of the "comeback kid." On Good Morning America, former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos showed an extended clip of the campaign video. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] But Stephanopoulos (who in his previous career defended Bill Clinton's against sexual scandals) didn't get into much detail over the Weiner's failings. Reporter Jon Karl simply explained that the ex-Congressman tweeted out "lewd pictures" of himself.
CBS This Morning and NBC's Today both, briefly, featured blurred pictures of the aforementioned photos. But the Today segment included a network graphic that speculated, "Comeback kid?" Journalist Maria Schiavocampo offered more details than ABC. She described Weiner's fall as a "sexting scandal," but parroted, "but now he says he's ready to put the controversy behind him and get back into politics."
Despite the devastating tornado that struck Oklahoma on Monday, ABC's Good Morning America still found time to devote several segments to stunningly superficial topics, including getting Botox injections at age 20 and Matt Damon's gay love scenes with Michael Douglas in a new movie. Additionally, the network morning show offered yet another segment to the tabloid details of the Jodi Arias criminal trial.
In total, this amounted to ten and 34 seconds for stories of minor importance. In contrast, the latest details on the growing Internal Revenue Service scandal warranted a mere 52 seconds. News reader Josh Elliott briefly explained that senior White House officials are now admitting "that the top White House lawyer, Kathy Ruemmler, knew about the investigation into the agency's targeting of conservative groups last month." Administration officials claim they did not inform the President.
On Wednesday night, the journalists at Nightline allowed a mere 31 seconds to the exploding scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives. This was after anchor Terry Moran introduced stories on O.J. Simpson's latest trial, one on determining your "Klout score" and the new reality TV show Ice Cold Cold. On Thursday night, the program focused on pop singer Demi Lovato's problems and clowns.
The disinterest Nightline is showing towards Barack Obama's scandals, including the IRS, the AP controversy and Benghazi, contrasts to how the show's journalists viewed scandal when Ronald Reagan was in the White House. On November 17, 1987, then-correspondent Jeff Greenfield lectured the media for not covering Iran-Contra enough. Speaking of a report on the controversy, Greenfield huffed, "It is, after all, not about a sex or drug scandal or dramatic crime. It is instead about how a great nation defends its vital interests while keeping faith with its highest values." Obsessed only with crime? Sounds like a good critique of ABC and Nightline in 2013.
The reporters at Good Morning America on Friday continued White House damage control efforts on the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos insisted that Barack Obama is "trying to turn the corner after a tough week fending off controversy."
Talking to Jon Karl, he wondered, "Are some of [the GOP] leaders worried that some of the Republicans may be overplaying their hand?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Karl lectured, "There's real concern about this." The journalist added that certain Republicans are talking about "impeachment." Instead of focusing on political rhetoric, Karl could have mentioned that the IRS official in charge during the Tea Party targeting is now running Obama's health care office. He skipped this development.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Thursday floated the idea that Barack Obama is poised to move on from the Internal Revenue Service scandal. One day after the President announced the resignation of the acting IRS commissioner, co-host George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "The White House firing back. The President's team firing on all fronts, promising immediate action as the scandals boil over in Washington." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An ABC graphic insited, "On the Attack." Talking to reporter Jon Karl, Stephanopoulos noted the "tough" week at the White House, but wondered, "Do they now feel like they have this under control?" Karl touted, "I think they feel a lot better now than they did 24 hours ago, George."
Even Chris Matthews admits it. Talking to the liberal Alex Wagner on Wednesday's Hardball about the IRS scandal, the cable host came clean on the press and their love for Barack Obama. After Wagner insisted that the President was tired of an "unfair media," Matthews scoffed, "Let me tell you something. The press has generally been pro-Obama. That's a fact." If the President disagrees, "he's crazy." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The MSNBC anchor summed up the state of journalism: "I look at the major newspapers. I look at the major networks, broadcast nets. I look at us...CNN. Where's all this antipathy towards Obama?" According to Matthews, if the staff of the White House are unhappy with how they've been covered, they "are very uninformed about the history of presidencies."
ABC, the network that has been relentlessly pushing an apocalyptic view of what sequester could do to America, on Wednesday suggested that a lower deficit could be a bad thing. Good Morning America's Josh Elliott relayed the news that a budget surplus in April could lead to a lower 2013 deficit by $200 billion.
Elliott lectured, "But some do worry this may actually hurt the economy because it may tempt Congress to delay a long-term budget deal." Elliott didn't explain who the "some" are, but the attitude shouldn't be surprising. In April, after sequester started, GMA's hosts warned of a dark future, of "airport armageddon" and "airplane apocalypse."
Where would a Nightline viewer go for important political news? It wouldn't be the late night ABC show. This week, the program has focused on topics such as Angelina Jolie's mastectomy and the latest plastic surgery operations. Co-anchor Terry Moran saves most of the hard news for his Twitter page.
Except for a mere 28 seconds that aired at 1:05am in the early morning hours of Tuesday, the program's hosts have ignored the growing scandal involving the IRS targeting conservative groups for audits and harassment. Yet, while Nightline focused on Prince Harry's visit to America, co-anchor Terry Moran tweeted: "It keeps getting worse: IRS office that targeted Tea Party also disclosed confidential docs from conservative groups."
ABC on Tuesday and Wednesday aggressively covered the growing IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative groups, deeming it an "important" "firestorm." Yet, World News reporter Jon Karl also spun the Obama administration as a "White House that takes pride in being scandal-free." (Fast and Furious? Solyndra? Reverend Wright?) [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
To her credit, World News anchor Diane Sawyer opened the show by trumpeting: "We begin with a dramatic new turn in the firestorm surrounding the IRS. Last night, we asked if what they did was fair. Tonight, the FBI is asking, was it criminal?" Reporter Jon Karl did the work of putting the administration on record . He quizzed press secretary Jay Carney: "Can you say categorically that nobody at the White House and nobody on the President's political team had any knowledge or was involved in any way in the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS?" (Carney simply replied, "Yes.")
Liberal journalists Chris Matthews and Jonathan Alter conducted a freak out session on Tuesday. Citing the growing IRS, Libya and Associated Press scandals, Matthews ranted that Barack Obama is a "ship with the engine off." Sending up the warnings, the Hardball anchor lamented, "[Obama is] vulnerable. And that is obvious to everyone this side of the White House gates."
In an unintentionally hilarious moment, former Newsweek journalist Jonathan Alter dismissed the support team the President has in the White House: "A lot of them are young. Some of them are very smart and talented. But they're all in awe of the president. They have an unhealthy love for him." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Obama staffers have an unhealthy love for the President? Keep in mind, Alter was talking to Chris "thrill going up my leg" Matthews.
While sparring with Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday, George Stephanopoulos channeled his inner Hillary Clinton on the issue of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. On the subject of who, specifically, told United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice to use faulty talking points, the Good Morning America co-anchor asserted, "Well, what difference will that make if the White House has already put out the talking points and said that they were written by the CIA with the input of other agencies? " [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In comparison, on January 23, 2013, while testifying in front of Congress about Libya, Hillary Clinton said of the details of the attack: "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?" Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, attempted to turn the President into the victim.
Fifty six days after the grisly trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell began, ABC broke its self-imposed blackout and finally offered coverage. World News anchor Diane Sawyer belatedly told viewers that Gosnell was convicted on three counts of first degree murder against newborn babies, as well as on a slew of other charges. Terry Moran explained, "For two months, jurors heard often shocking, grisly testimony." He described the details as a "house of horrors." A house of horrors that ABC took 56 days to notice.
As the Media Research Center has aggressively documented, ABC went from March 18, 2013 (the trial's start) through Monday afternoon with no coverage. Yet during the same time, the network devoted a staggering 187 minutes (or 70 segments) to other shocking criminal cases, such as Jodi Arias and Amanda Knox.
Liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews on Monday expressed "outrage" over the growing IRS scandal involving targeted audits of conservative groups. At the same time, he fretted that such a controversy would strengthen conservatives who believe the federal government will soon take them to "concentration camps." Worrying about the President's political future, Matthews lectured Obama: "Find a way to get rid of whoever did this, or your enemies will ride this baby right through 2014."
The Hardball anchor sneered that the "right-wing people" "love this story" and "expect the worst." He continued, "Theyget up in the morning figuring, well, they're about to be picked up by the FEMA workers and taken to concentration camps or the black helicopters of new world order, they're coming to take their guns." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Jurors found abortionist Kermit Gosnell guilty on Monday of three first degree murder charges. In the eight weeks since the trial began, ABC has completely ignored the case, offering no coverage, discussion or mention of Gosnell and the gory details. It's not as though the network lacks interest in shocking criminal trials. In that same 56 day period, Good Morning America has devoted a staggering 187 minutes-- or 70 segments-- to sensational trials such as the Jodi Arias and Amanda Knox cases.
Over eight weeks, GMA featured Arias, who was convicted of slitting the throat of her ex-boyfriend, 38 times, more than 50 percent of the network's criminal trial coverage. Yet, World News, Nightline and GMA skipped Gosnell "snipping" the necks of newborn babies. Will ABC break the news blackout and cover the verdict?
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Monday exposed new details about the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives. The correspondent revealed, "I've obtained a soon-to-be released investigative report that shows the IRS started targeting Tea Party groups more than three years ago." He added that this was "despite [the IRS] publicly claiming otherwise."
According to the journalist, phrases such as "limiting government," "educating on the Bill of Rights" and "criticizing how the country is being run" were enough to have the IRS start tracking them. However, Karl steered clear of culpability when it came to the Obama administration. He explained, "The White House said it had no idea that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups." [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
On Friday morning, Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran took to Twitter to slam the Obama administration for news that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups in 2012 for reviews. Yet, the powerful journalist and his television program avoided the subject. (Bill Weir hosted on Friday.) Moran tweeted, "A truly Nixonian abuse of power by the Obama administration: IRS Apologizes for Targeting Conservative Groups."
He followed up with another tweet, explaining, "IRS targeted 'about 75' groups because they had the words 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their applications for tax-exempt." Yet, when given the opportunity to take his journalistic outrage beyond the internet, his show skipped it (at least so far).
Britain's Prince Harry arrived in Washington on Thursday, but ABC declared the Obamas to be "Washington's royalty." On Friday's Good Morning America, reporter Lama Hasan recounted the prince's visit to the White House and an event with Michelle Obama.
She hyped, "And then there was this: A clandestine visit with the First Lady that brought a little British glamour to Washington's royalty. " The segment then cut to a clip of the First Lady. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC journalist Jon Karl actually followed up on Wednesday's Benghazi hearings, exposing that CIA talking points on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack were "dramatically edited" a total of 12 times by the administration. In a report airing on Friday's Good Morning America, Karl explained to viewers that, between the first version and the last, "all references to al Qaeda and all references to CIA warnings before the attack about the terror threat in Benghazi" were removed. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An ABC graphic went so far as to wonder, "Benghazi Statements Not True? White House Statements contradicted." Karl quoted from Hillary Clinton's State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland. Playing politics, Nuland said of the information in the warnings, "[It] could be abused by members of Congress to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that?" An online version of Karl's story showcased a full paragraph that was removed.
The network morning shows on Thursday went into tabloid overdrive for the Jodi Arias verdict and an abduction case in Ohio, offering a staggering 56 minutes of coverage. In contrast, NBC, CBS and ABC allowed just under seven minutes combined to hearings on the 2012 terrorist murder of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya. This is a disparity of eight-to-one.
Good Morning America proved to be the least interested in the national security issues raised by Benghazi. The morning show devoted 19 minutes to the Arias conviction and the kidnapping of three women in Ohio. Yet, whistleblower testimony in Washington D.C. warranted a mere 53 seconds. The four hour-long Today show on NBC spent 27 minutes on the two cases and a scant two and a half minutes on Libya. The most balanced network turned out to be CBS.
Wednesday's congressional hearings on the September 11 terrorists attacks in Benghazi provided a stark contrast between Fox News and MSNBC. From the time the whistleblower testimony began at 11:36am through their conclusion after 5pm, Fox devoted 108 minutes to simply airing the hearing with no anchor commentary. MSNBC, in comparison didn't allow any live coverage. Instead, the cable network aired a scant five minutes and 20 seconds of taped snippets of testimony. [See a chart of coverage below.]
CNN came in second, allowing a mere 17 minutes of footage. After the 2pm hour, CNN lost all interest, instead the network's anchors eagerly promoted the coming verdict in the Jodi Arias murder trial. (FNC's reporting on the story after 2pm dropped off to five minutes of taped footage.) The hearings commenced at 11:36 and so did Fox's coverage. CNN waited until noon to break in and MSNBC came in last at 12:17 (with a taped piece and discussion only).
Of the three cable networks, Fox News on Wednesday offered the most substantial coverage of whistleblower testimony on the September 11th terrorist attack in Benghazi. Fox broke in first at 11:36am and has been airing the hearings mostly unobstructed since. CNN followed at noon. Anchor Wolf Blitzer appeared and introduced coverage.
The cable network stuck with the testimony for 15 minutes before leaving to feature discussion by Blitzer and Jake Tapper. MSNBC, unsurprisingly, was last. It wasn't until 12:17pm, after spending copious amounts of time on the Cleveland abduction case, that the network finally showcased the hearings.
Covering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's secret weight loss surgery, Good Morning America's Paula Faris couldn't help but make fat jokes. The reporter on Wednesday began her segment by wryly asserting, "Chris Christie is wasting no time devouring his critics." She continued, "The no-holds-barred New Jersey Governor known for his healthy appetite...sounded off" at reporters. [See video below. MP3 audio below.]
Faris found clips of liberal comedians mocking the Republican governor. She included one of David Letterman joking, "Bring it, fat boy!" In another snippet, Jimmy Fallon sneered, "Christie hopes to visit the site of the Last Supper. You know, see if there's any leftovers." This isn't the first time the ABC morning show has joined in on fat jokes about Christie.
This past April, celebrity Obama donors Beyonce Knowles and husband Jay-Z took a controversial trip to the communist country of Cuba. Knowles appeared on Monday's Good Morning America and Nightline, but ABC continued to offer no skepticism about the details of the visit. Instead, reporter Amy Robach discovered her inner-entertainment journalist, wondering, "What did you make of the controversy?"
That was the extent of Robach's questions on the topic. No mention of the fact that Knowles and her husband raised over $4 million for Obama in 2012, prior to being given special permission to make the trip. (American tourists are barred from traveling there.) Robach simply summarized, "But the busy star took a break last month, traveling to Cuba with her husband Jay-Z for their fifth wedding anniversary, igniting a firestorm from lawmakers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]