Will the media notice this act of journalistic bravery? Alex Green, the student editor at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, defied his own university and exposed the details behind the resignation of a professor who was arrested for "attempting to meet 'with a minor child'" at a gas station.
Green's story was spiked from The Triangle, the student newspaper at the Christian college. The school's president, Dr. Stephen Livesay wouldn't allow it to be published. The website Romenesko.com recounted what happened next: "Still, Green was determined to get the word out. He printed his story and a sidebar and distributed them on Monday." In an interview with the website, Green explained, "I placed them around campus and at the doors of dorm rooms and at public areas around the school."
George Stephanopoulos and Barbara Walters on Tuesday fawned over the "fun," loving marriage of Barack and Michelle Obama. Walters appeared on Good Morning America to promote the President's appearance on The View.
Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, hyped Walters' "lighter stuff." He gushed, "The President seemed to mix politics and fun, when he talked about coaching his daughter's basketball team." Walters was positively impressed with the couple: "He's funny. She says she's funnier. But he's very relaxed with her."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The three networks devoted less than seven minutes to a "blistering" new report from the Justice Department on the Fast and Furious scandal. In comparison, the same programs deluged the public with coverage of Mitt Romney's "secret" tax tape, hyping it for 88 minutes.
From Wednesday night through Friday morning, World News, the NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning,Good Morning America, Today and CBS This Morning allowed just six minutes and 40 seconds. In a brief report on Wednesday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called the gun running story a "rallying point" for Republicans and explained, "Tonight, a blistering report lays out the blame for what happened there." Yet, NBC has, thus far, only given the latest details one minute and 40 seconds.
The same networks that have been hyping secret video of Mitt Romney talking about who pays taxes, hyperventilating about the Republican's "seismic" bombshell," have, thus far, completely ignored the revelation from the Congressional Budget Office that "significantly" more Americans will have to pay a "tax penalty" for being uninsured, many in the middle class.
All three evening newscasts on Wednesday and the morning shows on Thursday totally skipped this report. The Associated Press explained, "The new estimate amounts to an inconvenient fact for the administration, a reminder of what critics see as broken promises." Writer Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar added, "Nonetheless, in his first campaign for the White House, Obama pledged not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000."
On Tuesday night, the journalists at ABC continued to hype a "secret video" of Mitt Romney in the most hyperbolic terms. World News anchor Diane Sawyer went so far as to call it a "political earthquake" and a "seismic day."
The anchor excitedly began the show by teasing, "...Caught on tape. New moments from the secret video of Governor Romney talking to his rich donors about a lot of American voters." She wondered if Romney would be able to "limit the damage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a bizarre display, Chris Matthews began his show on Tuesday by singing "If I Were a Rich Man" as a way of mocking Mitt Romney for being wealthy. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Chris Matthews makes an annual salary of $5 million dollars.
Matthews opened the program by announcing, "Let me start tonight" by singing a selection from Fiddler on the Roof. Highlighting a leaked video of Romney at a private fund-raiser, he then derided, "It's one thing to be rich and have the majority of voters convinced you're out to help the rich. Is there anything dumber to be caught pandering to your fellow rich?" Later, while talking to journalist Joe Klein, Matthews insulted potential GOP voters, comparing them to the racist TV character Archie Bunker.
The hosts and reporters of ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday launched a hyperbolic attack on Mitt Romney's "secret tapes," trumpeting the "bombshell" that is sending "shock waves" through the campaign.
The ABC program devoted three segments to the release of tapes of the presidential candidate talking at a fund-raiser about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos breathlessly began the show: "Breaking now, Mitt Romney caught on tape at a private fund-raiser. His candid comments causing shock waves." The host intoned that "the campaign [is] rushing to contain the damage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An executive producer at Good Morning America was forced to defend ABC's skimpy convention coverage, huffing that the network stressed quality over quantity. The Associated Press on Monday picked up a report by the Media Research Center pointing out that ABC had the least amount of convention coverage, less than half than that of CBS.
When pressed on it by the AP's David Bauder, Good Morning America executive producer Tom Cibrowski defended, "We're not going to get into the game of minute to minute in political coverage." He chided, "We want to make sure we have the best political coverage."
Clint Eastwood appeared on Monday's Good Morning America to promote his new movie, but still had to deal with media fallout from his "controversial" "chair stunt" at the Republican National Convention.
Fill-in co-host Josh Elliott teased the segment by lecturing, "We'll have much more about that controversial speech." After talking to Eastwood about his soon-to-be released baseball film, Trouble With the Curve, reporter Nick Watt segued, "Eastwood's last role was, of course, guest star at the Republican National Convention. He controversially addressed an empty chair as if it were President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Friday landed an exclusive interview with Mitt Romney and proceeded to taunt the Republican presidential candidate: "But you're falling further behind. Why aren't you doing better?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Stephanopoulos's hyperbole aside, a new Rasmussen poll shows Romney ahead by three points. A CBS poll has the President ahead by three. Hardly panic time.
Unsurprisingly, the Good Morning America host neatly parroted the Democratic campaign's attacks over how Romney has responded to the situation in Libya. Teasing the segment, Stephanopoulos promised to hit Romney on "those controversial comments made right after the outbreak of violence."
The NBC and CBS morning shows on Thursday both pushed the theme that Mitt Romney made a gaffe with his handling of Libya. At the same time, they shielded Barack Obama. Good Morning America's Jake Tapper stood out in highlighting problems for the President. In the wake of the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tapper asserted that "many questions remain about insufficient security at those diplomatic posts on the anniversary of 9/11 and U.S. leadership in the region in the wake of the Arab Spring."
In contrast, CBS This Morning devoted a large chunk of its coverage to allowing Barack Obama to defend himself. The three minute and 41 second story featured the President talking for a massive two and a half minutes. How long did Romney get in the Norah O'Donnell segment? A mere ten seconds.
ABC journalist Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday compared the rioting and murder that followed Middle Eastern anger over an anti-Islamic movie to yelling "fire in a crowded theater." Regarding filmmaker Sam Bacile and the killing of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya, Amanpour derided, "So, now, one has to, really, try to figure out the extremists in this country and the extremists out there who are using this and whipping up hatred." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Amanpour appeared on Good Morning America to discuss Bacile and his little-seen film. Talking to George Stephanopoulos, she asserted that the movie mocks the prophet Mohammed, portraying him as "a womanizer, a pedophile, a thug, and generally denigrate[s] Islam." Seemingly debating the need for some kind of self-censorship, Amanpour added, "There is also 100-year law by the United States Supreme Court, which says you can't cry fire in a crowded theater."
Angry journalists repeatedly lashed out at a defiant Mitt Romney, Wednesday, pushing the Republican to renounce his criticism of Barack Obama's handling of the crisis developing in Libya. In a statement on Tuesday, the presidential candidate slammed the administration's "disgraceful" response to the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya, which ended with the murder of ambassador Chris Stevens.
An unidentified reporter complained, "The statement from the President was a very toughly worded statement last night. Do you regret the tone at all, given what we know now?" Another asked, given how quickly events were unfolding, was it "appropriate to be weighing in as this as this crisis is unfolding in real time? " The same question came again and again, a total of seven times. [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday attacked Bob Woodward and his new expose from the left, worrying that "Speaker Boehner [is] using your book as a sign that voters should turn away from President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Woodward appeared on ABC to promote The Price of Politics, his new book on the 2011 battle over the debt ceiling. According to Stephanopoulos, Woodward paints a picture of a president who failed to "work [his] will." The former Bill Clinton operative parroted Obama talking points, complaining, "As you know, the White House takes exception to the conclusion" that "the President lacked the stamina to build the relationships he needed to get this done."
If journalists were interested in fairness, there's nothing more basic than giving a similar amount of airtime to each major party convention. An MRC analysis finds that's exactly what CBS and ABC did, giving virtually identical airtime to the Republican and Democratic conventions on their morning and evening news shows.
But NBC skewed in favor of the Democrats, donating 25 percent more coverage to the Democratic National Convention (121 minutes) than they did the previous week's Republican convention (97 minutes). Most of the disparity is accounted for by the Today show, which gave 30 percent more coverage to the Democrats (87 minutes vs. 67 minutes), although the NBC Nightly News also favored the Democrats, albeit by a slighter margin (34 to 30 minutes).
All three morning shows on Monday covered the massive teachers strike in Rahm Emanuel's Chicago that left 350,000 students in the lurch. However, only CBS This Morning explained that the teachers, through their public sector unions, are already well compensated, making an average salary of $71,000 a year (plus benefits).
Reporter Dean Reynolds informed viewers, "That a dispute involving public sector employees would erupt in Chicago was somewhat surprising, given the generous packages unions here have won in the past." He noted that "Chicago's public school teachers make an average of $71,000 a year." Good Morning America and the Today show ignored these facts.
Even the journalists on the liberal NBC, CBS and ABC morning shows had a hard time spinning Barack Obama's acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention. On Friday's Today show, Chuck Todd glumly conceded, "Look, aides acknowledge this wasn't his most poetic speech, not on par with his previous convention speeches and maybe not even the best convention speech of the week." [MP3 audio here. See video below. ]
Todd offered that "because of the hard economic realities, the President decided that had to trump soaring rhetoric." Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos actually refrained from his normally effusive praise of the President. The host acknowledged, "A different kind of convention speech from President Obama last night. More sober, a little more humble." How anxious were the hosts of GMA to get off the subject of the President's speech? The two hour program gave Obama a mere five minutes and 45 seconds.
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday buried coverage of the embarrassing spectacle of Democratic delegates booing the reinsertion of God and Jerusalem to the party's platform. World News,Nightline and live coverage of Wednesday's convention completely ignored the gaffe.Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Thursday breezed by it with a single sentence: "Lots of infighting about the party platform."
What was the problem, exactly? Tapper didn't say. (He did explain it online.) NBC's Nightly News and the CBS Evening Newsboth covered it, Wednesday night. On Thursday, CBS This Morning's Nancy Cordes observed that "earlier in the day," the "party had to publicly rework the Democratic platform because they forgot to put a mention of God in there and a mention about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel." The program then featured video of convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa trying to force through the additions of God and Israel. Boos rained down. [See video below. See MP3 audio here.]
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared on all three morning shows, Wednesday, but faced no questions about the city's skyrocketing murder rate. Instead, NBC, CBS and ABC treated the former chief of staff to Barack Obama as a political pundit and not someone responsible for dealing with the 350-plus slayings in his city. (August was the deadliest month yet in 2012.)
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos did note that Emanuel would be leaving the Democratic National Convention in Chicago after Wednesday. He cited "real, real problems" in the city." However, the host and friend of Emanuel didn't mean murder. Stephanopoulos, who worked with the now-Mayor back in the Clinton White House, quizzed, "Potentially the first teacher's strike in 20 years. You going to be able to prevent it?"
All three network morning shows on Wednesday ignored a move by Democrats to delete references to God from the party's 2012 convention platform. NBC skipped another controversial decision, removing an assertion that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. (CBS and ABC, however, did cover this decision.)
Some top Democrats appear touchy about the decision to avoid mentioning God. Senator Dick Durbin became visibly angry when Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked about it, Tuesday. Baier reminded, "In 2008, God was mentioned once. In 2004, it was mentioned seven times. In 2000, God was mentioned four times. Just a question. The question is why take it out in this time?" [See video of the heated exchange below. MP3 audio here.]
The hosts of the three network morning shows on Tuesday grilled Paul Ryan, questioning the Republican's facts and citing Joe Biden as a policy expert. Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos highlighted a quote from the Vice President touting the last four years.
Good Morning America's Stephanopoulos interrogated, "When [Biden] says Osama bin Laden is dead, General Motors is alive, you say?" Using remarkably similar language, CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose pressed Ryan on Obama's first term, parroting, "...Vice President Biden has come back and said, as you know, General Motors is alive and Osama Bin Laden is dead."
Of the three morning shows, only ABC's Good Morning America on Monday highlighted two drunken delegates at the Democratic National Convention, one of whom was forced to leave North Carolina. Fill-in host Lara Spencer touted the story, asserting that "things are already off to a shaky start."
Reporter Cecilia Vega explained, "Two California Democratic delegates partied into the wee hours of Sunday morning. In the lobby of their Charlotte hotel, one was so drunk he apparently passed out and was taken to the hospital." She added that the unidentified delegate was "belligerent" and threatened with arrest for impersonating a congressman. ABC reported the story in the 7am and 8am hour. CBS This Morning and NBC's Today, however, skipped it.
Chris Matthews appeared on the Labor Day edition of the Today show to promote his fawning new documentary, Barack Obama: Making History. (The subtitle for MSNBC's special on Romney was much more restrained: "The Making of a Candidate.") The liberal host also insisted that, "from now on," the media will watch Paul Ryan for lies. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Today reporter Carl Quintanilla and Matthews sounded like an echo chamber. Quintanilla tossed this softball: "...But there was a lot of criticism about [Ryan's] convention speech, Chris. Some said he actually made false statements in the course of it. Does that damage his credibility?" The liberal cable anchor, naturally, agreed that it did.
The network morning shows on Friday slammed conservative actor Clint Eastwood's "bizarre," "rambling" endorsement of Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention. Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and NBC's Today dissected the speech in 11 out of 12 segments about the convention.
GMA guest host Amy Robach mocked, "The good, the bad and the ugly." She hyperbolically added, "Did Clint Eastwood derail Romney's big night with a bizarre warm up speech?" CBS This Morning co-anchor Norah O'Donnell spit out a similar critique: "It was the 'no good, the bad and the ugly.'" CBS obsessed over Eastwood the most, in five out of five segments on the GOP's convention. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Nightline reporter David Wright on Wednesday night profiled the new conservative documentary 2016: Obama's America, but warned that the film was a "conspiracy" movie that included "disingenuous" ideas.
D'Souza asserted that he takes Obama and his words seriously, prompting him to believe that the President is pushing an anti-American agenda. Wright scolded, "That's a little disingenuous though." The ABC reporter knocked the film as unreliable, downplaying, "D'Souza spins out the conspiracy theory that, by 2016, the U.S. economy will collapse and there will be a United States of Islam led by a nuclear armed Iran and that Obama wants it."
How has George Stephanopoulos spent his week? The former top aide to Bill Clinton pushed Democratic talking points on all his guests at the Republican National Convention, continuing the practice on Thursday. After allowing that Paul Ryan "electrified" the crowd in his speech last night, the host fretted, "But it's quite a gamble, especially here in Florida, to put Medicare front and center like that, isn't it?"
Talking to Jeb Bush on Good Morning America, he continued, "You know what Democrats say. They say he reinstates those cuts in order to finance the tax cuts for the wealthy." If anyone "knows" what Democrats would say, it's Stephanopoulos. On Wednesday night, minutes after the vice presidential candidate finished his speech, he informed the world, "I got an e-mail from a top Democrat saying the speech was audacious in its dishonesty."
All three morning shows, Wednesday, pounded Marco Rubio, forcing him to defend a supposedly anti-Hispanic Republican Party and explain that the GOP won't destroy Medicare. CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose lectured, "...Many people worry that people who are Hispanic, African-American and other minorities don't have a place in this party." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He continued, "[Your party is] becoming something that is more narrow rather than outreaching." On ABC's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos pushed the same liberal talking point. He quoted Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, parroting "He [Villaraigosa] said you can't just trot out a brown face or as Spanish surname and expect people to vote for your candidate. He was referring to you tomorrow night."
CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose on Tuesday pestered Rick Santorum about Todd Akin and tried to goad the former Republican presidential candidate into bashing Mitt Romney. Highlighting Akin and his gaffe about rape, Rose needled, "What does that say to you? Does that say something about the party and its image?"
Rose followed up by pushing the former senator, who will be speaking at the Republican convention. The host demanded to know the "the differences today between Rick Santorum and the governor, in terms of how you see the world and how you see the particular issues that he will address?" After Santorum side-stepped the question, choosing to attack the President, Rose badgered, "Speak to the differences you have with [Romney] coming into this convention."
Former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday hit Chris Christie, the Republican National Convention's keynote speaker, with liberal talking points about his state. Reading off a sheet of paper, the Good Morning America host recited, "You know, the Democrats are already ready for you to talk about the New Jersey experience. They're pointing out, ahead of your speech, that New Jersey is near the bottom of states in unemployment." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Stephanopoulos parroted, "Forty eight in unemployment. Forty seven in economic growth." Christie shot back, pointing out that in the last 12 months "we're ranked fourth in the country in terms of the number of private sector jobs that have been created, according to CNBC. That we've had 90,000 new private sector jobs created since I've been governor."
The hosts and reporters on Monday's Good Morning America downplayed a new ABC News/Washington Postpoll showing Mitt Romney taking the lead over Barack Obama. It wasn't until the 8am hour that news anchor Josh Elliott specifically revealed the numbers: "When it comes to the economy, 50 percent trust Romney to handle it, while just 43 percent favor the President."
The poll has the presumptive Republican nominee at 47 points, Obama at 46 percent. As Hot Air pointed out, "This is the first time that Obama has lost the lead since a brief polling burst for Romney in January." Yet, Diane Sawyer simply told co-anchor George Stephanopoulos that the race was "virtually tied." She vaguely referred to the economic numbers, but spun, "More people trust Romney on the economy, but they think he favors the wealthy over the middle class."