The reporters and anchors of Good Morning America on Thursday desperately hyped Mitt Romney's assertion that, while governor of Massachusetts, he had "binders full of women" applicants. David Muir played this as a gaffe, labeling it "the binder blunder." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos tried to build the remark into some sort of game changer: "We saw Mitt Romney make huge gains with women after the first debate. Democrats believe this will block that gains he's made." The "huge gains" Stephanopoulos referred to were first reported in a USA Today poll showing Romney and Barack Obama dead even with swing state women, 48-48. However, this is the first time the host actually mentioned the ominous news for the President.
Liberal MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews on Wednesday hinted that Mitt Romney's confrontational attitude during the debates might have a sinister undertone. After playing a clip of the Republican telling the President to back off and that "you'll get your chance" to speak, Matthews derided, "...Through it all he looked down at the President. He looked down at him as a person."
As for the reason, Matthews began to speculate and then backed off: "I don't even want to get into-- but we can guess and none of it good." (The left-wing journalist sees racism everywhere.) After guest James Lipton considered a motive, Matthews cut him off and suggested that "many" of the possibilities are "bad." He also somehow derided Romney as a constitutional illiterate for questioning Obama.
George Stephanopoulos offered a classic case of liberal bias on Wednesday, fawning over Joe Biden and, just minutes later, grilling Paul Ryan with the Vice President's talking points. The Good Morning America host talked to the two men seeking the same job, but offered Biden this not-exactly-tough question on his debate performance: "I have to ask you about your own debate...How did you feel about it? You took some ribbing for all of those smiles and laughs."
While Stephanopoulos only gingerly mentioned Biden's "smiles and laughs," he didn't fact check the Vice President's misstatements from last week. Stephanopoulos zeroed in on Romney's claims, however. On the subject of Libya, the host pressed, "You just heard Vice President Biden say that what we saw was Governor Mitt Romney trying to politicize this tragedy." Tag teaming Ryan, the journalist said of taxes: "But as Vice President Biden just pointed out...he said that Mitt Romney didn't offer one specific idea of how he's going to pay for those plans." [See below for a video montage of the contrast. MP3 audio here.]
Tom Brokaw had his Jimmy Carter moment on Tuesday. The veteran journalist appeared on MSNBC's The Cycle to call for Americans to accept a permanent lowering of their standard of living. Speaking of the next generation, Brokaw blithely insisted that "they probably won't have as much disposable income." He added, "They won't live in homes that are McMansions. We gotta get real." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The former Nightly News anchor, estimated to be worth about $70 million, didn't seem to find this a bad thing: "It doesn't mean we can't have everything that we need." Brokaw lobbied for Americans to "get proportion." He lectured, "One of my friends says we have to get up every morning and say, 'What do I need today and not just what do I want today?' That's a good guide."
All three morning shows on Tuesday highlighted Hillary Clinton "falling on her sword" and "taking blame" for the growing scandal over Libya. But NBC and ABC avoided specifics. On Good Morning America, reporter Reena Ninan failed to press the Secretary of State on details concerning Barack Obama's role.
In contrast, CBS reporter Margaret Brennan pushed for details on what the administration knew and when. She singled out United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and her initial claims that the murder of Chris Stevens was a result of an anti-Islamic movie: "Who briefed Ambassador Rice that day? Did you sign off on that briefing and those speaking points?" Clinton said no and curtly replied, "You would have to ask her...Everybody had the same information." Yet, according to ABC's Ninan, "...Clinton appeared to fall on her sword."
Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Sunday actually raised the issue of media bias, highlighting that Mitt Romney operatives "generally think that the media is in the tank for President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Some of Tapper's colleagues on ABC have given Republicans good reason to believe this.
The journalist was responding to weekend GMA anchor Dan Harris's question about whether the "stage may now be set for an Obama comeback narrative." Tapper replied, "absolutely" and added, "So, yes, they [Team Romney] think that, without question, the media is ready to write the Obama comeback story."
The ABC and NBC morning shows on Friday showed no interest in fact checking some of Joe Biden's misstatements during Thursday's vice presidential debate. CBS This Morning partially debunked some of Biden's claims, ignoring the Vice President's suggestion that he opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During the debate, Biden asserted, "It came from this man [Paul Ryan] voting to put two wars on a credit card...I was there. I voted against them. I said, ‘No, we can’t afford that.’" Actually, the then-senator voted to authorize force in both Afghanistan and Iraq. However, this point was ignored by ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today and CBS.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Friday touted Joe Biden's performance at the vice presidential debate, hyping that the Vice President brought up Mitt Romney's "infamous" comments about the 47 percent who don't pay income taxes. Karl concluded that Biden was "often dominant," but "maybe a little too dominant."
Contrasting Barack Obama's weak performance with the tone of the VP, Karl marveled, "Unlike the President, Biden slammed Ryan over Romney's infamous comments about the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income taxes" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] If the remarks are "infamous," it's because journalists such as ABC's Diane Sawyer jumped on them back in September, labeling them a "political earthquake" and a seismic day."
In the fourth and final part of ABC's 20 minute-long interview with Michelle Obama, Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden on Wednesday praised the First Lady's skill at "the art of the cut that doesn't draw blood." After playing a clip of Mrs. Obama at the Democratic National Convention, McFadden cued, "Do you think Mitt Romney is the kind of guy that slams the door behind himself [when it comes to allowing opportunity for others]?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalist hyped that the First Lady turns her husband's "cool persona just a little bit warmer." After three days of softball questions, McFadden's attempts at getting tough mostly fell flat. While talking about hopes for Barack Obama's presidency, the reporter wondered, "Have you had to pull back some of your own expectations; what was possible from even this perch?"
Liberal anchor Martin Bashir on Wednesday whined about reporters who actually commit journalism and dare to question the shifting White House story on the death of a U.S. ambassador in Libya. After playing a clip of his colleague, Mike Viqueira, quizzing press secretary Jay Carney, Bashir scolded, "Mike, despite Carney repeating his assertion the administration divulged details of this attack as they came in, why were reporters like yourself not prepared to buy it?" [See MP3 audio here. Video below.]
Viqueira patiently explained, "But some red flag are raised when the explanation does continually shift, especially under political pressure, especially in an election year." Viqueira added that the White House spokesman, two days after the attacks, "made several declarative statements" linking the attack to an anti-Islamic movie. He then pointed out, "As you know, it's been well documented, the explanations evolved over time."
A front page story in USA Today on Wednesday hyperbolically pushed recent storms as proof of global warming, warning, "Weather disasters target N. America." (Weather disasters are targeting America?) Citing a study by a Munich-based insurance firm, reporter Doyle Rice hyped, "The number of natural disasters per year has been rising dramatically on all continents since 1980, but most notably in North America where countries have been battered by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, searing heat and drought, a new report says."
Rice didn't explain the credentials of Munich Re or its scientific background. For a study dealing with climate change, the company is hardly objective. Their website declares: "It is one of the greatest risks facing mankind. In recent years, Munich Re has actively supported and advanced climate protection and adaptation to global warming."
Tuesday's Nightline featured the second part of an exhaustive, three part interview with Michelle Obama. Once again, co-anchor Cynthia McFadden failed to ask any tough questions to the First Lady, instead offering only softballs and repeating White House spin.
McFadden followed Mrs. Obama as she did events promoting higher employment for returning veterans. Co-anchor Bill Weir teased the latest segment as yet another celebrity puff piece (complete with clips from Sesame Street and Extreme Makeover): "We got a little taste of Michelle Obama at home last night. Tonight, you two go on the road." Since military issues were the topic, where were the questions about the 2000th death in Afghanistan?
Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden continued her fawning, multi-part profile of Michelle Obama on Monday night, worrying about the "extra responsibilities" that Mrs. Obama faces as an African American First Lady. She then offered this softball: "Is it different to be a black child growing up in America today than it was four years ago?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Fellow co-anchor Bill Weir bragged that his colleague had been "granted rare access" to Mrs. Obama. McFadden wondered if the President is "a bit intimidated, a little bit afraid" of his wife. The journalist then pushed Mrs. Obama to brag about the impact she's had.
A puzzled George Stephanopoulos on Thursday wondered what happened to Barack Obama during the previous night's presidential debate. Talking to fellow Democrat Donna Brazile on Good Morning America, the host quizzed, "...A lot of the President's supporters, you see it on Twitter and in the blogs, you heard it on television last night, where was the president? Where was the fight?"
Brazile stayed on message, only allowing that Obama was "a little rusty." But Stephanopoulos worried, "But at least a lot of those early polls of the viewers who watched said that the President lost." In a tease for the show, Stephanopoulos speculated, "Did Romney turn the race around?"
Politico editor Jim VandeHei appeared on MSNBC, Thursday, to blame Barack Obama's poor debate performance on the burdens of the office. The journalist spun, "The President had to be the President, and had to be a candidate, and so he didn't have nearly as much prep time." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
VandeHei did not try and sugarcoat the debate performance itself, knocking the President for thinking he could "just walk on there, play it safe, and do well." But the former political reporter for the Washington Post journalist did offer this whopper about how the triumphant Mitt Romney would be treated going forward: "He has a week or two, I think, of probably pretty positive coverage." The liberal media giving Romney two weeks of positive coverage seems stunningly unlikely.
The liberal freak out over Barack Obama's poor debate performance continued on Thursday morning. Left-wing comic Jon Stewart appeared on Good Morning America to lament the President's "very difficult night" and jokingly warn, "I'm concerned that he may not reelect us. He may walk away."
The comic even admitted Obama might not be as smart as he first imagined. Stewart mocked, "You know, I used to think the pauses, he was just trying to think of smaller words for the little brains to figure out what he was saying. This time, I really think the pauses were just, 'I like food.'...'My children are nice.'"[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Unlike the journalists at NBC, who dismissed as old news a just released 2007 video of Barack Obama discussing race, ABC's Jake Tapper highlighted the tape of the then-senator praising the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. NBC's Today completely ignored the footage of Obama touting Wright as a "great leader, not just in Chicago, but all across the country."
On Good Morning America, Tapper relayed that "critics say the President was divisively pandering to a black crowd by suggesting malicious discrimination against New Orleans." He noted that in the video, Obama was "using a different speaking style than usual." In regard to the President's campaign claiming that Obama was simply discussing disaster relief, something he had done previously, Tapper pointed out that the Democrat "did speak about it a little differently in the Senate."
In September, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos hyped Mitt Romney's "47 percent" tape as sending "shock waves" through the presidential race. ABC analyst Matt Dowd called it a "six or seven" on the Richter scale of political controversies. Yet, when damaging video surfaced of Barack Obama discussing race, Stephanopoulos offered no hyperbolic language and Dowd insisted that Romney would make a "mistake" if he brought it up at the debate.
On Wednesday, Stephanopoulos calmly opened the show my noting, "And just hours before the first debate, the new release of a five-year-old Obama speech." He wondered, "What's behind it and will the speech make any difference tonight?" In contrast, on September 18, the host excitedly touted, "Breaking now, Mitt Romney caught on tape at a private fund-raiser. His candid comments causing shock waves." Stephanopoulos hyped, "The campaign rushing to contain the damage. Romney responds in a late night press conference." [See video contrast below. MP3 audio here.]
Politico edged ever closer towards total parody on Tuesday with a headline that seriously wondered, "Joe Biden: Sex symbol?" Senior Washington correspondent Jonathan Allen gushed, "Joe Biden’s bringing sexy back — to the Medicare-eligible set."
The journalist, who touts his "National Press Club’s Sandy Hume Award for Excellence in Political Journalism," rhapsodized, "The vice president, who turns 70 in November, has been on a tour of diners and delis in swing states, charming as many white, blue-collar voters — and their mothers — as possible."
Economic growth grew at an incredibly sluggish 1.3 percent in the second quarter, revised down from 1.7 percent. According to business writer Jim Pethokoukis, this is "dangerously slow." However, NBC skipped the bad news for Barack Obama entirely. ABC allowed it a mere 21 seconds. CBS was the only network to allow the story a full report.
Although Nightly News correspondent Chuck Todd couldn't find time to mention the scant amount of growth, he did hype the fact that the President is trying "a new line." Todd then played a clip of the President calling "for a new economic patriotism." The journalist helpfully parroted that the President's "idea of economic patriotism includes tax hikes on the wealthy and more government spending on infrastructure."
ABC's David Muir on Thursday hyped the presidential election as "slipping away" from Mitt Romney and pushed the idea that next week's presidential debate is "do-or-die" for the Republican.
Talking to the candidate, Muir pressed, "I'm curious what you would say to some of your supporters tonight, your donors who might be concerned this could be slipping away?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Trying ro raise expectations for the former governor, Muir insisted, "In fact, some are already calling [the October 3 presidential] debate a do-or-die moment."
ABC News found scant time for the just-passed political conventions, coming in dead last according to a Media Research Center study. But the network on Tuesday did manage to, yet again, obsessively focus on John F. Kennedy, a man whose presidency ended 49 years ago.
Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos interviewed Caroline Kennedy about newly released tapes of her father. He played clips of JFK discussing serious issues and also playing with his daughter. Stephanopoulos marveled, "But here's the president on the one moment talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, – boom – complete switching of gears." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America on Wednesday touted "stunning" new polls out of Ohio that show Mitt Romney trailing. ABC reporter David Muir pushed a minor comment by the Republican as a "sudden shift." Muir hyped, "After repeatedly saying President Obama raised taxes during his first term...suddenly Romney appeared to be saying the President hasn't raised taxes." [See MP3 audio here. Video below.]
Romney's remark that Obama "did not" raise taxes was in reference to income taxes. Yet, this slight change in phraseology led Muir to position himself as a surrogate for the President, defending, "Romney's comments made immediate headlines. In fact, the President has not raised income tax rates in his first term." But, of course, Obama has increased taxes. As Forbes.com pointed out, Obamacare is now a tax that applies to the middle class. Additionally, the President has promised more taxes in his second term.
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.]