Both ABC and CBS carved out a few seconds on their Thursday evening and Friday morning newscasts to boost President Obama’s claims of success for his ObamaCare program. Filling in for Diane Sawyer, ABC World News anchor David Muir cheered the “major milestone” of an alleged eight million enrollees, while CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley said the enrollment figures were a “recent success” for the health care law.
Gone was the skepticism that some reporters, like ABC’s Jon Karl, showed at the end of March when ObamaCare was nearing seven million sign-ups, as he threw cold water on the official White House stat: “How many of those have signed up were previously uninsured....We don’t know how many people signed up here were simply – had their previous plans cancelled. Also, we don’t know how many have actually paid their premiums.”
According to the liberal network journalists, being part of a Democratic family makes you "royalty." Reporters on ABC, CBS and NBC gushed over the announcement that Chelsea Clinton is pregnant. Good Morning America's Bianna Golodryga enthused, "Move over, Prince George, though. This morning, Americans have their own royal, or, rather, presidential baby, to look forward to. "
On CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford was almost as excited, hyping, "...This is not as quite as big of a deal as when Prince William and Kate Middleton said they were expecting. But in the U.S., I guess you could say political dynasties might be the thing we've got closest to royalty." [Video to follow. MP3 audio here.]
After devoting 15 minutes to a Barack Obama interview in the last 24 hours, CBS piled on with another seven minutes devoted to a "scary powerful" top aide. Charlie Rose offered a puff piece on Alyssa Mastromonaco, Obama's deputy chief of staff. The CBS This Morning co-anchor on Thursday offered no tough questions and instead repeatedly underlined just how important she is. Rose marveled, "You know what somebody called you? Scary powerful."
The co-host narrated, "We recently spoke to her about her low profile, high power role. Every time I read a piece about you, it talks about power." Rose highlighted Obama's alleged feeling about her departure, quoting the President: "I'm not going to let you go...unless you promise me you will be there for me not only during the presidency but in the post-presidency." He followed up with Mastromonaco, saying of her post-White House days: "Is the most exciting time of your life behind you?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The network morning shows on Thursday were thrilled by Vice President Joe Biden joining Instagram on Wednesday and posting a selfie of himself with President Obama. On NBC's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie couldn't contain her excitement: "Presidents and vice presidents, they're just like us! The latest selfie racing around the web today." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos hailed: "...the selfie craze has hit the White House again....Joe Biden set up an Instagram account overnight, sending out his first picture, it went viral immediately." CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell gushed: "It's being called the selfie to end all selfies....The White House Twitter account also posted the photo with the caption, 'Pals.'"
CBS News devoted 15 and a half minutes on Wednesday night and Thursday morning to an interview with Barack Obama. Despite April 15th having just passed, correspondent Major Garrett offered no questions on taxes or the IRS scandal. He also avoided any queries on ObamaCare or the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Instead, more than four minutes on This Morning were given over to a horse race discussion on 2016. (Joe Biden joined the interview for that section.) Garrett did press the President on Russia and Ukraine, quizzing, "In your mind, is there a line, never mind the color, is there a line in eastern Europe or Ukraine, that Vladimir Putin must not cross?" After Obama paused as he formulated an answer, the journalist prodded, "Can you articulate that for the world and for the Russian government?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit against the IRS for that agency’s “illegal stonewalling” of the RNC’s request of documents related to the targeting of conservative groups.
So far there hasn’t been one second of airtime on ABC, CBS, NBC’s Tuesday evening shows or Wednesday morning shows. The New York Times and Washington Post also have yet to devote even a sentence to RNC’s lawsuit in their print editions.
At this point it might take a dead body to get the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks to give the IRS-Tea Party scandal any sort of real coverage. Huge developments in the last week – like IRS official Lois Lerner receiving a criminal referral from the House Ways and Means Committee and e-mails proving she fed tax information on a targeted group to the staff of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) – were completely censored by ABC and NBC news. Only a 90 second report on Thursday’s CBS This Morning kept last week’s revelations from being totally blacked out on the Big Three networks.
In the last seven days the following IRS scandal developments have emerged:
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts on Monday all omitted the arrest of a Utah woman, after the bodies of seven newborn babies were discovered in her house on Saturday. The Big Three morning shows did understandably devote a significant amount of air time to a white supremacist's shooting rampage at two Jewish community centers near Kansas City.
However, the networks also set aside over two minutes each to a bear mauling in central Florida, and CBS This Morning and NBC's Today also covered the so-called "blood moon" lunar eclipse. CBS's lack of coverage of the murders in Utah is even more puzzling, given how CBS Morning News aired a news brief to the story: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday, all three network morning shows found time to worry about IRS budget cuts meaning fewer audits and longer wait times for taxpayer assistance, but not one mentioned the ongoing scandal embroiling the agency, including Congress issuing a criminal referral for former IRS official Lois Lerner. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news anchor Amy Robach warned: "More tax evaders could slip through the cracks this year....we are learning the IRS will have the fewest agents auditing returns since the 1980s due to budget cuts and new IRS responsibilities." On Friday, ABC's World News covered the same story – while ignoring the House Ways and Means Committee calling for Lerner's prosecution.
Friday's CBS This Morning set aside almost six and a half minutes of air time to promote Showtime's upcoming series about climate change, which features liberal New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and CBS's Lesley Stahl. Charlie Rose heralded the "groundbreaking new documentary series," and let Friedman spotlight Arab environmentalists, who supposedly "understand that there's no Shiite air or Sunni air. If we don't protect the commons, nobody's going to breathe."
Rose, along with co-anchor Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King also turned to Stahl, who ballyhooed how "all these floods we've heard about – much more disastrous than they have been in our lifetime. That's because the ice is melting. It's affecting the seawater all along the eastern shore of the United States." King fawned over the new TV series, and set up Friedman to speculate about "climate change skeptics" might react to it: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
You don't often hear interview subjects challenging prominent journalists on their ex-wives. But that's what happened on Monday's CBS This Morning. Reporter Anthony Mason interviewed Kiss singer and guitarist Paul Stanley on the band's entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Mason quizzed, "And when the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame asked the original members to perform together again, Stanley resisted. For old times' sake, one more time, you wouldn't want to do that?" Stanley retorted, "How many times have you been married?" After the reporter responded with "twice," the rock star pounced,"How about for old times' sake you go back and spend the night with your ex-wife?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Friday, all three network morning shows fretted over a woman throwing a shoe at Hillary Clinton during a speaking event in Las Vegas. NBC Today co-host Tamron Hall was particularly melodramatic: "I mean, but how scary is that?...Had it hit her, that would have been awful. It would have been awful." Weatherman Al Roker added: "Jeez, that's frightening." Hall declared: "It's hard for me to watch, actually." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The shoe was on the other foot in 2008, when an Iraqi journalist threw two shoes at then-President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference. At that time, ABC and CBS referred to the shoe-thrower as a "celebrity" and "folk hero" who "thrilled the Arab world." In 2009, then-MSNBC host David Shuster actually cheered the release of the footwear assailant from prison. Tamron Hall happened to be on the show at the time and observed that people would have been "more outraged" if someone threw a shoe at President Obama.
All three network morning shows on Friday highlighted the departure of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Good Morning America's Jon Karl insisted that the exit was a "chance for her to leave on a relatively high note." CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford claimed that "Sebelius made clear the decision to leave was hers." Over on NBC's Today, Chuck Todd dished dirt, explaining, "In addition to the management issues, the White House also lost confidence in her ability to sell the product publicly."
He gossiped, "Senior aides were not happy with how she struggled in what should have been a friendly interview with Jon Stewart." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] However, if Sebelius struggled, Today viewers didn't know about it for weeks after the October 7th Daily Showappearance. It wasn't until October 31, 2013 that the botched interview was mentioned on Today. Back then, Todd briefly conceded, "When she went in front of Jon Stewart at the Daily Show, that became a big problem. It became another PR problem." Despite this "PR problem," Today viewers didn't see an actual clip until Friday.
CBS This Morning co-anchor Charlie Rose on Thursday uncritically hyped an attack by Eric Holder that implied racism as the motive for Republican opposition to him and Barack Obama. Before playing a clip of the Attorney General speaking at Al Sharpton's National Action Network (NAN) conference, Rose promoted, "Attorney General Eric Holder is lashing out at the culture on Capitol Hill. Holder lost his cool at Tuesday's House judiciary hearing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Rose then showed an uninterrupted, 40 second snippet of the Attorney General assailing the "unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive" insults he and the President endured. Holder complained, "What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?" Behind Holder, NAN logos and the phrase "no justice, no peace" could be seen. Rose offered no skepticism to this implication of racism by the Attorney General.
The big issue for Obamacare has long been how many people would enroll. When the deadline finally hit, broadcast news networks parroted the administration’s claims and raised few concerns about heavily spun results.
Breaking from a long silence over Obamacare, ABC, CBS and NBC declared “victory” for the now “unrepealable” Affordable Care Act but ignored problems with enrollment numbers 90 percent of the time. In fact, a Rand Corporation survey found that 1.4 million previously uninsured people gained insurance and that didn’t even factor in who had actually paid for their plans.
On Wednesday April 9, the House Oversight Committee voted to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former IRS official Lois Lerner. Despite the severity of this most recent revelations into the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party organizations, ABC and NBC continue to ignore the story.
After all three networks failed to cover the story on their nightly news broadcasts on Wednesday, only CBS This Morning bothered to mention the revelations on Thursday April 10. Co-host Norah O’Donnell described the events as such: “The House Oversight Committee today is expected to hold a retired IRS official in contempt of Congress. Republicans say Lois Lerner led an effort to investigate Tea Party organizations. She's refused to testify at two committee hearings claiming her Fifth Amendment rights.” [See video below.]
After CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett thoroughly dismantled White House rhetoric on the supposed "pay gap" between men and women on Tuesday, only twenty-four hours later, CBS This Morning brought on a guest to push the same false talking points unchallenged. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Wednesday, with footage rolling of President Obama signing executive orders designed to promote the liberal agenda item, co-host Gayle King introduced Catalyst CEO Deborah Gillis, who was "in the room yesterday when the signing took place." Gillis lamented: "I first looked at this issue as a high school senior, and at that time, the gender pay gap was 67 cents on the dollar. Today it's 77 cents. 31 years later, we've not made a lot of progress..." Neither King nor her fellow co-hosts cited Garrett's reporting from the day before to refute those numbers.
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, White House correspondent Major Garrett completely dismantled President Obama's left-wing talking points on the supposed gender pay gap of women making 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, reporting: "The White House is getting...roughed up by hits own pay equity rhetoric." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Garrett used the administration's hypocrisy on the issue to fact check the false claims: "An analysis of White House salaries, which nobody here disputes, shows that the median income of female staffers is 88% of that of male staffers....Now, the White House said it's gender pay gap is tied to job experience, education, and hours worked, among other factors. This matters because those explanations, according to the Labor Department, explain a good deal of the gender pay gap nationally."
Mellody Hobson, the woman President Obama once described as “one of my earliest supporters” appeared on CBS This Morning on Saturday April 5 to glorify the March jobs report which showed that the economy created just 192,000 jobs.
Co-host Anthony Mason described Hobson as a “CBS News contributor and analyst” before the Obama donor declared “The good news to me, it wasn't a disaster. It wasn't a huge fall-off. We've seen a steady uptick since December. And the other thing to keep in mind, the numbers have been revised up seven months in a row. So the February numbers were just revised up 20,000 jobs so we might still see that still happen next month.” [See video below.]
On Monday morning, NBC, ABC, and CBS all found an excuse to cover Obama's selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz one more time, expressing their collective fear that the White House may ban selfies with the commander-in-chief. On NBC's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted: "Has David Ortiz ruined the presidential selfie for the rest of us?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After the networks initially promoted the photo-op as a "good day in Washington" last week, they were chagrined when word came that Ortiz may have staged the supposedly spontaneous moment in order to promote cell phone maker Samsung, with whom he had an endorsement deal.
On Friday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell touted Hillary Clinton attending the Women in the World summit alongside International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde: "One of the highlights, their reaction when moderator Thomas Friedman of the New York Times suggested that Lagarde would one day lead the European Union and Clinton could become President of the United States." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After playing the clip of Friedman fawning over them amid a cheering audience, O'Donnell declared: "It was interesting to see that reaction about women ruling the world, the two of them together." Fellow co-host Gayle King chimed in: "Yeah. But it was a great moment between – to see two powerhouse women, I think, is always very exciting."
After eagerly promoting President Obama's selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz on Wednesday, Thursday's NBC's Today and CBS This Morning expressed their dismay that Ortiz may have staged the seemingly spontaneous cell phone picture to promote his sponsor Samsung. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie lamented: "Okay, so turns out that wasn't as spontaneous as it looks. The selfie was captured with a Samsung phone and it turns out, mm-hm, you guessed it, David Ortiz has an endorsement deal with Samsung....I think it's kind of ridiculous that it's a product placement. And also because I thought it was a really cute moment, so I guess I'm kind of disappointed."
Despite a tragic shooting at Fort Hood, a major Supreme Court ruling and developments on Benghazi, all three morning shows on Thursday devoted time to Bill Clinton's discussion of aliens on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Yet, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning ignored a profoundly dumb question from the comic regarding Clinton running for vice president. [See video of the question below. MP3 audio here.]
Instead, GMA's Amy Robach enthused, "And finally, former President Bill Clinton isn't ruling out a possible alien invasion here on Earth. He visited Jimmy Kimmel last night and revealed that he did, in fact, look into the possibility when he was president." Talking to co-host and former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos, she wondered, "George, was it the common topic of conversation in the Clinton administration?"
There is a jobs crisis in the U.S. that is going virtually unnoticed by the broadcast networks. The unemployment rate for African Americans towers over the national average, upsetting conservatives and liberals.
In spite of bipartisan outrage, the three broadcast networks gave just 10 seconds combined to the black unemployment rate around the monthly jobs reports in the past year. Liberal Rev. Jesse Jackson was one of many frustrated people. He has complained that “the media [is] dismissing it as not important.”
While ABC, NBC, and CBS all hyped President Obama slamming Republican opposition to ObamaCare during his Tuesday "victory lap" in the White House Rose Garden, the network coverage that evening and Wednesday morning did not include a single GOP sound bite on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's ABC World News, White House correspondent Jon Karl proclaimed: "It looked like a victory celebration, and the beginning of a new campaign." A clip ran of Obama asserting: "The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay."
CBS This Morning reporter Ben Tracy offered a one-sided take on liberal outrage against an internet browser's CEO and his support for traditional marriage. Brendan Eich is the new head of Mozilla, the company behind Firefox. Eich's crime? Tracy informed, "Six years ago, he personally donated a thousand dollars to support Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalist brought on Peter LaMotte, a business executive to lecture that "any public statement by a corporation needs to factor in how it represents the firm as a whole and how it's going to affect the brand for years to come." This prompted Tracy to chide, "Which is why Firefox is now in a firestorm of bad PR." The reporter featured no clips of anyone supporting Eich or questioning whether the suppression of dissenting ideas is a good thing.
It must be nice for a major news network to self-congratulate itself by bringing on someone to give them an award. Such was the case on Wednesday April 3, when “CBS This Morning” brought on Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Ira Glass to present co-host Charlie Rose with a Peabody Award for an interview he conducted with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
Hunter-Gault hyped the “surprise” she had for Rose before proclaiming that “This amazing get of one of the arch villains of the world whom you treated with respect and yet you didn't back off, you pressed him, and we all got to see what this man is made of and how he thinks.” [See video below.]
Teasing an upcoming story Tuesday on a left-wing smear campaign against conservative donors Charles and David Koch, CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell proclaimed: "Battling the Koch brothers, Democrats are fighting back against the family that spent more than $150 million trying to shake up Congress." Introducing the segment, fellow co-host Charlie Rose announced that "one of the best-known families in big-money politics is once again in the spotlight." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes told viewers: "They are the Koch brothers, both in their 70s and two of the wealthiest men in America. They've been giving to conservative and libertarian causes for a long time. But now, Democrats are trying to make them public enemy number one." The headline on screen read: "Big Money Brothers; Democrats Target Billionaires David & Charles Koch."
All three morning shows on Tuesday hyped an "eye-popping" surge on the final day of ObamaCare sign-ups, but NBC's Today minimized the latest problems for those attempting to meet the deadline. Despite two segments on the topics, the four-hour program covered this angle for a scant 22 seconds.
In contrast, Jon Karl on ABC's Good Morning America threw cold water on the celebration. Ignoring co-host George Stephanopoulos's claim that "all signs point to an eye-popping surge in sign-ups for health insurance," Karl warned of "big, unanswered questions." He explained, "One of the biggest is how many of those have signed up were previously uninsured? Remember, this was about expanding insurance coverage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added that "we don't know how many people signed up here...simply had their previous plans cancelled."
Wrapping up an interview with President Obama's former White House chief of staff Bill Daley on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose wondered if it was "fair to say" that ObamaCare was "badly conceived." After a long pause, Daley replied: "I didn't hear you, Charlie." Rose let him off the hook, and was suddenly out of time: "I was asking whether it was badly conceived but I don't really have much time to consider that question. But thank you so much, Bill." Daley responded: "Good, Charlie." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rose began the exchange by lobbing this softball to Daley: "Do you believe the President and do you believe he has it accurate when he says eight to ten years from now, health care, Affordable Health Care Act [sic] will be considered a monumental achievement?" Daley proclaimed: "I don't think there's any question that time is on the President's side."