The journalists at Good Morning America on Monday woke up to the "massive technical glitches" "plaguing millions" of Americans trying to use the ObamaCare website. The morning show, which has largely minimized the troubled debut of HealthCare.gov, featured reporter Rebecca Jarvis to lament, "It was supposed to be an easy way for Americans to sign up for health care online. But this morning, the Department of Health and Human Services, which spent $500 million to build the site, is admitting it's a bust."
Jarvis attempted to navigate the web page, but offered this perplexed assessment: "But even when we tried to access the site, we encountered this error, a registration page filled with question marks and incoherent data." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Although the GMA journalists highlighted the problems, they also buried their impact. It wasn't until the very end of the segment that co-host George Stephanopoulos noted that the administration is "racing the clock." Jarvis agreed, pointing out, "They have to get people signed up for health insurance by January 1st, before the fines start kicking in."
ABC on Thursday night took a victory lap in its effort to blame congressional Republicans for the government shutdown. World News reporter Jeff Zeleny and other journalists at the network phoned all the House and Senate GOP members who opposed the deal to reopen the federal government. These reporters demanded to know if the lawmakers would give back the salary they earned during the 16-day shutdown.
Zeleny justified, "Since it was Congress that shut the government down, one of the top questions you asked us, should they get paid?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalist made no mention of Barack Obama or the congressional Democrats who rejected numerous compromise efforts to reopen the federal government.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Friday continued his efforts to assign blame for what he called the "Ted Cruz shutdown." This prompted the Texas senator to shoot back: "A lot of the media did" that. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos touted the Republican's appearance as a "contentious and defiant interview."
Karl lectured, "People hated this shutdown. They hated this impasse. And this was seen as the Ted Cruz shutdown." He attacked, "You more than any single individual were seen as the one that triggered this crisis to begin with."
Liberal cable anchor Chris Matthews on Thursday sneered at conservatives Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, trashing their "white" "minority" base. The Hardball host also defined a patriot as someone who "believes in government." According to Matthews, conservative Republicans in the House and Senate don't meet this standard. The host fumed, "They all run around as if 'we got all of these white people out here,' this little minority of the country. 'But they're better Americans than the rest and we represent them.'" Perhaps the journalist is unaware that Cruz is multi-ethnic and not "white."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews insisted that Americans should be asking these questions in the wake of the government shutdown: "Does the majority will still matter? There's the fact that he [Obama] is President, is it paramount?" The anchor lectured that it is "highly inconsistent" for conservatives to call themselves patriots since they have "disrespect for institutions." He then went on to offer a new definition of patriotism.
After spending days trashing the Republican Party as guilty of "treason" and "economic terrorism," left-wing MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz on Wednesday spotlighted the Taliban's criticism of the shutdown. The host lectured that "no matter what the final outcome of the showdown is...damage to our global reputation has already been done." He then proceeded to showcase international attacks on America.
Schultz went so far as to highlight, "Heck, even the Taliban militants took the opportunity to taunt the United States. The group issued this statement, accusing U.S. politicians of 'sucking the blood of their own people.'" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] It was just Tuesday that the cable anchor railed against a form of "terrorism," but he was talking about the GOP.
As the government shutdown neared its end, ABC's Jon Karl put the blame totally on House Republicans and allowed Barack Obama to escape responsibility. According to Karl on Tuesday night's World News, "...After bringing the economy to the brink, the Republicans, the conservatives who drove this, will have nothing to show for it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Karl upped the hyperbole, warning of the "dangerous brinkmanship" that could lead to "economic collapse." Shifting into opinion mode, Karl lectured, "As this showdown moves towards end game, House Republicans are the clear losers. They push to the brink and have nothing to show for it."
For the second time in one day, an MSNBC anchor accused Republicans of betraying the United States. According to Ed Schultz on Tuesday, House GOP members who won't agree to all of Barack Obama's demands on the government shutdown are committing "economic terrorism" and plotting a "coup d'etat" against the President.
Schultz brought on Democratic Congressman Joseph Crowley to discuss whether there would be a vote on the shutdown. The Ed Show host fumed, "Congressman, what we're seeing happen in America right now, I think, is economic terrorism." The anchor offered his version of what passing the debt ceiling deadline would mean: "Interest rates are going to go nuts. Belt tightening is going to take place. Unemployment's going to go up." He escalated, "This is economic terrorism as I call it...It seems to be nothing more than a legislative coup d'etat." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC morning host Thomas Roberts on Tuesday continued in his role as one of MSNBC's most rabidly partisan, openly liberal anchors. Talking to Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn about the partial government shutdown, he questioned her patriotism, sneering, "Congresswoman, let me ask you though, when it comes to ObamaCare, do you hate ObamaCare more than you love your country?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
A surprised Blackburn immediately retorted, "I've got to tell you something,. I think that comments like that" are "just incredibly inappropriate." Parroting White House talking points, Roberts recited, "You don't think it's incredibly inappropriate to shut down our government and take all the hostages of Americans that you've taken?" After Blackburn again objected to the smear, Roberts lectured, "No, no, no. It's not inappropriate because you've taken the government hostage through a shutdown and all the American people, you're walking them to a cliff."
CBS This Morning on Tuesday allowed a scant 21 seconds to the newest revelations about the National Security Agency. The government organization has been secretly collecting millions of internet address books and instant message accounts from around the world, including Americans. In contrast, ABC and NBC highlighted the story in full reports and news briefs. [See video below of ABC's Good Morning America coverage. MP3 audio here.] None of the three network morning shows made any reference to Barack Obama or speculated on what the President's responsibility might be.
In the briefest of summaries, This Morning anchor Charlie Rose explained, "The agency is pulling the information from address books and buddy lists accounts on instant message accounts worldwide." He reassuringly added, "But a government spokesman says NSA is not interested in personal information about so-called ordinary Americans." However, the same morning show devoted three minutes to the not-so important story of President William Taft's attempts to lose weight.
ABC News on Friday announced that weekend Good Morning America host Dan Harris will replace Bill Weir as co-anchor of Nightline. Harris has a long history of offering harsh attacks on conservatives and providing liberal spin. On September 21, 2009, the journalist smeared Tea Party protests, concluding, "Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President."
Earlier that year, Harris used the same dodge, insisting that "critics" see the Tea Party as "not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it's actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests." In contrast, the reporter appeared charmed by the Occupy Wall Street movement, lauding their tent villages as filled with cookies and bloggers. Harris's top five most obnoxious examples of liberal bias can be found below.
According to Chris Matthews, a new NBC poll showing bad poll numbers for the Republican Party is comparable to "Watergate." Finding that Americans blame Republicans over Democrats for the shutdown by a 22 percent margin, Matthews marveled, "I get the sense that this is a historic poll."
Talking to Chuck Todd, the Hardball anchor prompted, "Compared to Watergate?" This was too much for Todd. He hedged, "Is it Watergate levels? Well, if this were October 2014, you might be talking about something like this. This is wave-type numbers, if this were a month out from the election. But we're not a month out from the election." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC reporter Luke Russert on Thursday found the need to gratuitously connect the anniversary of John Kennedy's assassination with a possible GOP extension of the debt limit. Appearing on Now With Alex Wagner, Russert said of the John Boehner-supported move: "So the idea is the debt limit would be extended until November 22, which is, by the way, the 50th anniversary of the death of the President Kennedy, which is a whole other thing that would probably look bad optically. " [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In the 50 years since JFK's murder, many things have happened on November 22, including congressional legislation. What point, exactly, was Russert trying to make by linking the murder of a president to the debate with a current commander in chief over the debt ceiling?
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday rightly highlighted the "outrage" over the delay of death benefits to the families of fallen U.S. soldiers. A day later, the program's hosts barely had time for the story, allowing a mere 28 seconds (within a larger report). Reporter Jon Karl briefly referred to the "disaster on military benefits," but he didn't explain that a private charity had stepped in to solve the problem.
On Wednesday, a graphic for a Jim Avila full report insisted that "outrage grows for America's heroes." The journalist featured a clip of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy trashing, "And now, because of a small group of Tea Party Republicans, we say we can't even take care of your family when you die in the service of the country." On Thursday, Karl lectured that "the only thing both parties seem to agree on" is that "it's inexcusable to deny help to family members of those who have given their lives serving the country." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] It's true that the House acted 425-0 to pay the death benefits, but Harry Reid's Democratic Senate has not acted. [UPDATE: 12:48pm ET The Senate has now moved on approving benefits. SECOND UPDATE: But the White House has rejected it.]
Viewers who watched Ed Schultz on Wednesday witnessed something rare on the liberal host's show: a guest who voted for Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. Dirty Jobs star Mike Rowe appeared and even got in a dig at Schultz's expense. After the MSNBC anchor touted his working class background and love for trucks, Rowe quipped, "I can make a call. I can have [a truck] in your driveway before you say, 'holy crap, I'm cancelled!' [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
A surprised Schultz blurted, "I'm just trying every time slot here at MSNBC." Rowe joked, "Something's bound to stick." Earlier in the segment, the Dirty Jobs host laughed as Schultz called for him to join the Democratic Party: "You know, he is the perfect independent that we have to convince that it's their [Republicans] fault!"
Chris Matthews, who has publicly insisted that he doesn't like "cheap shots," on Tuesday trashed conservatives in the House as "troglodytes" from the movie Planet of the Apes. According to the Hardball anchor, Republicans opposing the President in the government shutdown believe that "if the country goes down, the economy goes down, the world comes apart, 'hey, we get an extra inch of flesh off this guy [Obama].'"
After guest David Corn, editor of the liberal Mother Jones magazine, sneered that these GOP members want to "blog things up" and "plunge the detonator," Matthews snarled, "Is this troglodyte or weird thinking?" He fumed, "It's almost like Planet of the Apes...At what point are they going to say, I guess we were wrong?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
One way to know if a journalist is asking a softball question is when the President of the United States compliments the reporter after he or she asks it. That happened twice on Tuesday as Barack Obama talked to reporters about the government shutdown. The President called on Sam Stein of the liberal Huffington Post website. Stein dutifully wondered, "With Speaker Boehner so far unwilling to hold a vote on a clean CR, what assurances can you give to those affected by a shutdown who are concerned about an even longer impasse?"
He added, "And how worried are you personally that your preferred solution to this -- a clear CR at sequestration levels -- may do harm to the nation's economy and your second term agenda?" Finding the question appropriately fawning, Obama responded, "Sam, you're making an important point." The President looked favorably on a similar query from a New York Times journalist. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC's mid-morning talk show The View has repeatedly featured anchors and guests who promote the debunked 9/11 truther movement. That tradition continued on Tuesday as conspiracy theorist Jesse Ventura appeared as a co-host. Although Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy avoided Ventura's September 11th beliefs, the former Minnesota governor expounded on his other favorite conspiracy theory: the assassination of John Kennedy.
Asked by Shepherd who killed JFK, Ventura demurred: "That's a difficult thing to say because he made so many enemies and I don't even have the time to go into that but I can tell you this: I can't tell you who killed him, but I can tell you who didn't kill him, Lee Harvey Oswald." This thrilled Shepherd, who kissed Ventura and praised, "Because you know if you decided to run for president, Jesse, I would vote for you." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Hard-left MSNBC host Ed Schultz on Monday took his assault on the Republican Party to a new level, declaring that John Boehner is a "traitor" to America for not giving in to Barack Obama on the government shutdown. After railing about how congressional GOP members are trying to destroy the country, the Ed Show anchor delivered his verdict: "And they will shut down the government and they will not pay the bills to get their way. The word is treason, the treasonous John Boehner." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Schultz bizarrely added, "The United States is at risk right now and I hope that there will be some foreign folks that will step up and say, you really don't want to do this." The definition of "treason" is apparently tied to attacking Obama. On May 24, 2012, Schultz shrieked over a Republican Congressman calling the President "not an American." The anchor berated, "That he would attack the commander in chief verbally? This is treasonous for him to say that he is not an American in his heart."
Who does George Stephanopoulos work for? ABC News or the Democratic Party? In a This Week Interview on Sunday, the former operative to Bill Clinton foisted the blame for the government shutdown on John Boehner and House Republicans. During the 13 minute interview, Stephanopoulos repeatedly started questions this way: "The Democrats say...The Democrats, including Senate Democrat Harry Reid, have said...But Mr. Speaker, [Obama] says...The President has pointed out..." Six times, the anchor began his query with an observation over what the Democrats "say" on this issue.
Rejecting the concept of Democratic responsibility, Stephanopoulos touted Majority Leader Reid, noting that he "has said he's more than willing to have a conference, more than willing to have a negotiation, but not under the threat of a government shutdown, not under the threat of a default." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The anchor offered to mind read, lecturing of the shutdown: "But Mr. Speaker, this is clearly not what you want."
The three network morning shows on Friday worried about President Obama and the fact that he had "no choice" but to cancel an Asian summit as the government shutdown drags on. On ABC's Good Morning America, Jon Karl lamented, "These were two significant summits in Brunei and Indonesia. The White House says he could legally have gone, but he needs to be here to push for reopening the government and dealing with the pending possible default of the government." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reiterating, Karl again noted that these are "significant summits" and the "White House did not want to cancel this trip." Karl read a lengthy statement from the White House (with accompanying onscreen graphic) blaming the "House Republicans for forcing a shutdown." GMA co-anchor George Stephanopoulos agreed that the "President really had no choice." At no time did anyone on the program put the responsibility on Obama for not engaging the GOP. One good question might have been: Why stay home from a summit if you aren't going to negotiate over the financial stalemate?
MSNBC host Chris Matthews on Wednesday night mocked his Fox News competition, wondering when someone would write a book entitled Killing O'Reilly. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The Hardball anchor appeared on the Colbert Report to promote his own tome, Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked. Stephen Colbert put Matthews on the spot, wondering if Ronald Reagan was a better president than Barack Obama.
Matthews surprisingly answered, "In the end, yeah. In the end. Because he ended the Cold War. That's hard to beat. Hard to beat that, baby." Of course, Matthews does have a book to sell, one that he presumably wants more than just liberals to buy. Talking about the Cold War, the liberal anchor praised, "Reagan hated the idea of nuclear war. He hated mutual assured destruction...He understood the situation. He was a human being."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Thursday fired back at the liberal, Obama-friendly talking points from MSNBC host Thomas Roberts. At one point, a disgusted Priebus, appearing to discuss the shutdown, slammed MSNBC, attacking, "This is a joke. I think you ought to just apply for a job in the Obama administration or the communications department of the DNC." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An annoyed Roberts rather lamely replied, "No, I'll come work for you guys and help you sort out what's going on, because your message is a little befuddled." The MSNBC anchor acted as grand inquisitor in the interview, repeating all of the White House's talking points against the congressional GOP. At one point, he wondered, "But does the Constitution really allow for the Republican Party to take the government hostage and shut it down?"
According to CNN contributor David Frum on Tuesday, the best way for Republicans to win is to mimic the actions of the British Conservative Party. Frum's Daily Beast article is bizarrely titled, "Where the Right Is Winning." Except, the right isn't winning in the United Kingdom. As the Wall Street Journal reported on September 30, "The Conservative Party has lagged behind the center-left Labour Party in opinion polls by as much as 10 percentage points or more over recent months."
The sub-headline for Frum's article announced, "In the U.K., the ideologically rigid left can’t keep up with David Cameron’s ruling Conservatives." Also wrong. A YouGov poll from September 27 found that Labour had jumped 13 points, from 29 percent to 42 percent, since 2010. At the same time the Conservatives are hemorrhaging voters, the right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has seen its numbers rocket up, from three percent to 13 percent.
As Barack Obama wrapped up a speech from the White House on Tuesday, reporter Jon Karl of ABC actually shouted a tough question at the President, wondering, "...If you won't negotiate, how can you get a solution? How can you bring an end to this if you won't talk to the congressional leaders?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Anchor George Stephanopoulos noted that "Obama ignor[ed] a question from our own Jon Karl." Karl's network, on World News and Good Morning America, ignored it as well. NBC and CBS blamed the Republicans.
Instead of repeating his question on World News, Karl parroted Democratic talking points: "Today the President accused Republicans of waging an ideological crusade against Obamacare while he rejected their latest offer to re-open just part of the government." Anchor Diane Sawyer assigned responsibility to the GOP House: "And everywhere tonight, Americans are saying they are fed up with the congressmen who dig in and force the U.S. government to screech to a halt." "A lot of people outraged," she added. Did Obama play a part in the drama? Sawyer didn't say.
ABC reporter Jeff Zeleny on Tuesday afternoon excitedly told viewers that "cracks" are "emerging" in the Republican opposition to the government shutdown. His example of this? A GOP congressman already on record opposing a shutdown. Following live coverage of Barack Obama's speech, the journalist related, "But a couple cracks emerging, including a congressman from Virginia, a military district, Scott Rigell. He says, 'enough is enough. It's time to move on with this.'"
However, on the September 20 World News, Zeleny reported, "We caught up with Congressman Scott Rigell of Virginia, the only Republican to go against his party." On that day, the reporter featured a clip of Rigell exclaiming, "And I've not heard from any members who thinks that shutting this government down is a good idea." [Video of both clips below. MP3 audio here.]
All three networks on Tuesday morning hyped the partial government shutdown with reports from closed museums in Washington D.C. and live shots of the Statue of Liberty. The journalists of ABC's Good Morning America informed Americans that Republicans would probably "blink first" in the stand-off with the White House and congressional Democrats.
NBC's Peter Alexander checked in live from Washington, touting the "4200 workers at the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo." He narrated, "We're now here in front of the National Air and Space Museum. They tell me last week they had 88,000 visitors come here. Today it'll be zero, the door's are locked." Alexander added, "And there's a very simple message posted to that front door, it reads, 'We apologize for the inconvenience.'" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
George Stephanopoulos scored an interview on Sunday with his old boss, Bill Clinton. In return for this exclusive, the former Democratic operative turned journalist avoided any mention of a scandal at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), of Benghazi and how the bungled response to the terrorist attack might impact Hillary Clinton's 2016 run for president.
Instead, Stephanopoulos used the ten and a half minute interview to gently query his former supervisor: "I know you can't answer anything about 2016. But when you look back to the last campaign, if you could boil it down to one, what is the one big lesson you learned from it?" As was common in the two part segment, the This Week anchor allowed Clinton to speak for long stretches. He only broke up the ex-President's answer on the 2008 primaries to murmur, "A pretty titanic battle." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Chris Matthews doesn't like cheap shots. The Hardball host, who two days ago linked Ted Cruz to Hitler, on Thursday raged at a Republican Congressman for making a joke at his expense. Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry appeared on Matthews's show and aggressively fought back against the charge that uncaring Republicans want to shut down the government. This led Matthews to change the subject and attack Perry as a pawn of big oil: "By the way, why is a congressman from Gettysburg so interested in offshore oil development in the Gulf?"
After Perry explained how the Keystone pipeline could benefit the economy, he addressed Matthew's critique of the House bill: "I'm surprised that you read any of it, first of all." The wounded anchor replied, "You know what you can do with that? You can be excused, because you just accused me of not doing my job. And that's a big mistake here." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Matthews added, "I wish you hadn't made that last remark. I think it was a cheap shot." The man who doesn't like "cheap shots" once assailed conservatves as "birth control Nazis."
The journalists at ABC News have not made an effort to hide their disgust with the conservative effort to oppose funding ObamaCare. On Wednesday, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos derided Ted Cruz's fight against it as "bizarre." On Thursday night, World News's Jon Karl sneered that it was "absurd." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Karl described the possible government shutdown as a situation where "we've got a furious President calling his opponents crazy...and a Republican Party willing to go to the brink." The journalist brought up past confrontations between Obama and the GOP, petulantly wondering, "Lessons learned? Nah." The supposedly neutral Karl skewered, "The absurdities were on display when Tea Party hero Ted Cruz gave his 20 hour-plus speech demanding an end to ObamaCare in exchange for funding the government."
ABC on Wednesday morning dismissed Ted Cruz as "bizarre." But that night on the network's World News, reporter Jeff Zeleny featured a man who will lose his health coverage because of ObamaCare. In a noticeable break from Good Morning America's coverage, Zeleny also allowed, "The bottom line for millions: many young and healthy will likely pay more while older and sick Americans get a break and costs vary widely."
On GMA, Zeleny skipped the substance of Cruz's complaints against the health care law. On World News, the journalist conceded, "[Cruz] told story after story how families are bracing for ObamaCare." Zeleny highlighted, "In Pittsburgh, Dan Howard received a letter saying his policy will be cancelled because of the new law. Married with six children, he's struggling to find coverage."