On Friday night, Fox News star Bill O'Reilly began his show with a Talking Points Memo touting a Media Research Center finding that the networks are much more attentive to describing Mitt Romney as very wealthy than were for John Kerry in 2004.
"Another sign the media wants Barack Obama re-elected. That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo," he said. "The Media Research Center is a conservative watchdog group that exposes left-wing bias in the national press. Today, the center puts out an amazing analysis of how the evening newscast on the three networks covered John Kerry's wealth when he was running for President in 2004 as opposed to Mitt Romney’s money position now."
O'REILLY: Both men have access to about $250 million. But when Kerry was running, his vast wealth was mentioned only two times from January to April 2004. And NBC News didn't mention Kerry’s money at all. Contrast that to this year when Mitt Romney’s wealth has been mentioned 27 times from January to April, 13 times more than Kerry's wealth was mentioned. Here is an example.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Mitt Romney chose today to release his tax returns from the year 2010. He did it to help stop the questions about his wealth. But in releasing his taxes he reveals what most Americans will regard as unimaginable wealth and vast investments after a successful career in business, much of it spent buying and selling companies.
O'REILLY: Now to be fair, Mr. Williams did not begin anchor the NBC Nightly News until December of 2004. Tom Brokaw was the anchor in question. But there is no question that the three network news organizations are treating Mitt Romney’s economic circumstance far differently, far differently than they treated John Kerry's.
But why? A logical conclusion is the network news organizations continue to favor the Democratic Party. And they will try to re-elect President Obama in November. Now, this isn't everybody working on the evening news programs but some key decision makers are committed left-wing ideologues.
When I worked at CBS News and later at ABC News, the left tilt was obvious. Bernie Goldberg wrote an entire book on it but today with the country in economic turmoil and a very important Presidential election on the horizon, fair play should be a must for the media. It doesn't serve the USA well to have powerful national news organizations skewing their coverage.
Self-identified liberal operations like MSNBC are not the problem here. It’s the nightly newscasts that continue to say they are non-biased. Well, those outlets can and do influence independent voters. The truth is John Kerry’s vast wealth virtually ignored by network news. But Mitt Romney’s fortune is a huge issue. Not fair. And that's the memo.
Mike Ciandella report for the MRC's Business and Media Institute can be found at www.mrc.org/bmi.