NBC's Savannah Guthrie pressed White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday's Today over President Obama's apparent inaction on many key issues. After reading an excerpt from the President's 2009 address to Congress, Guthrie wondered, "You know, Americans have heard these refrains over and over again. What can you guarantee to the American people that will turn these words into actual action?"
By contrast, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, anchor Charlie Rose merely prompted Jarrett to provide the Obama administration's talking points on the upcoming State of the Union address:
Allegations of shady campaign contributors and procurement of prostitutes are usually the ingredients of a political scandal that send the media into a feeding frenzy – unless, of course, the figure involved is a Democrat.
When news broke that the FBI opened an inquiry into New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez’s jaunts (that may have included solicitation of prostitutes) to the Dominican Republic with a longtime campaign contributor, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks responded with barely a murmur.
While the NBC and CBS morning shows on Friday both covered troubling Thursday testimony from outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that revealed President Obama's lack of engagement during the Benghazi terrorist attack, ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story. In addition, none of the networks mentioned the testimony on their Thursday evening newscasts.
Friday's CBS This Morning provided the most coverage, with a full report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, who explained: "Panetta revealed that he briefed the President at the start of the attack, but the two men did not speak again that night....Republicans say it's a sign that the President was disengaged the night of the attack. Panetta said his aides and the President's were in touch, but he said as well that he did not speak to Secretary Clinton the night of the attack either."
For the second day in a row, the CBS Evening News on Wednesday avoided any coverage of a new memo revealing that the Obama administration asserts the power to legally strike terrorists, even if they're American citizens. Of the combined three nightly newscasts on Wednesday and three morning shows on Thursday, four of them found time to cover the story.
In contrast to the Evening News, Diane Sawyer opened World News by highlighting the "secret war." Sawyer fretted, "Those escalating drone attacks in the air and the consequences on the ground. And the question-- is it making the United States safer?" ReporterMarthaRaddatz explained that Obama's drone policy "has grown 700 percent under the Obama administration." Considering how hyperbolically journalists obsessed over George W. Bush's acts of "torture," one would think the Evening News would be interested in covering Obama's drone policy.
The CBS Evening News on Tuesday completely ignored the revelation, uncovered in a leaked government memo, that the Obama administration claims the power to legally kill al Qaeda terrorists, even if they're American citizens. ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday allowed a mere 42 seconds to this rather important topic. ABC's World News, NBC's Nightly News and the Today show all covered the story. Of the six evening and morning shows, however, only three featured the liberal American Civil Liberties Union decrying this move by a Democratic president.
World News reporter Jon Karl at least pointed out the obvious contradiction of liberals who railed against supposed torture by George W. Bush, reminding, "As soon as he became President, Barack Obama stopped CIA tactics like wateboarding that he considered torture. But this justifies outright killing a suspected terrorist." The journalist added, "How does dropping a bomb on an American citizen without any judicial review, any trial, not raise any human rights questions, or more human rights questions than something like waterboarding?" (Or, one might also wonder, putting a catepillar in a box with a terrorist. Under George W. Bush, ABC labeled this "torture.")
Leave it to CBS News to push a liberal talking point as evidence of a national consensus on a highly contentious political issue. Such was the case on February 5, when CBS This Morning brought on former General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre to push to Obama administration’s decision to help bail out General Motors and Chrysler.
Speaking to Whitacre on Tuesday, co-host Charlie Rose introduced the segment by asserting that, “Everybody assumes this was money well spent by the U.S. government.” Whitacre, who was brought in by GM in 2009 while the federal government was partial owner, heaped praise on the decision to bail the automaker out:
No, I wouldn't. I think the government did exactly the right thing. I think it was the right thing for America, I wholeheartedly supported that. I think it worked really well. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Take heart, everyone: the NFL is changing. Football players these days are more tolerant, more willing to embrace social progress. They are moving in the direction of the country as a whole. Such were the conclusions reached by CBS’s Jim Axelrod.
In a segment aired one day before the Super Bowl on CBS Saturday Morning, Axelrod proudly told his audience that players’ attitudes toward gay marriage are evolving. Players like the 49ers’ Chris Culliver, who recently said a gay teammate would not be welcome in his locker room, are a dying breed. What’s more -- and this is apparently newsworthy to CBS -- football players are actually capable of disagreeing civilly and rationally about gay marriage. [View video after the jump. MP3 audio here.]
CBS co-anchor Charlie Rose on Tuesday lobbied Eric Cantor to adopt "fundamental changes" in the Republican Party and not just accept "tweaks." Rose and CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell also pushed the House Majority Leader to sign onto immigration reform.
Charlie Rose, lectured, "There's this issue that seems to be going in Republican Party circles that the party has to rebrand and reform. Governor Jindal called it the stupid party." Regarding Marco Rubio's immigration plan, the journalist demanded, "Is this a recognition that the Republican Party has not spoken to the American people about issues that concern them and how government can work for them?"
At next week’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama is likely to continue his ongoing push for more gun control. It’s a push first spurred on by Obama’s gun control allies in the liberal media. In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks quickly moved to exploit the tragedy to push for more gun control legislation while mostly ignoring solutions that respect gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.
On February 1, 2003, seven astronauts on board Space Shuttle Columbia died during re-entry as they returned to Earth from the STS-107 mission. Friday was the 10th anniversary of the disaster, but none of the Big Three networks morning newscasts marked this somber occasion.
ABC's Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and NBC's Today understandably devoted considerable broadcast time to the upcoming Super Bowl on Sunday. However, this coverage contained segments to frivolous, celebrity-driven stories that could have been whittled down to air even a mere brief on the anniversary of the tragedy. Here are examples from each morning show:
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday continued to ignore the developing prostitution scandal surrounding Democratic Senator Robert Menendez. NBC highlighted the story on the Today show. CBS covered the story, but reporter Jan Crawford suggested the allegations have "all the earmarks of an orchestrated smear campaign."
ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday skipped the news that federal agents are removing evidence from the office of Solomon Melgen, a Florida doctor who flew Menendez on trips to the Dominican Republic. There, the New Jersey senator allegedly engaged prostitutes. On CBS This Morning, Crawford charitably explained, "Now, on the one hand, they've got all the earmarks of an orchestrated smear campaign. But the question is, are they true?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes falsely characterized the weapon used in the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Cordes noted that former astronaut Mark Kelly, "whose wife...Gabrielle Giffords was badly injured in the Tucson shooting," would call for a ban on "assault weapons like the one that was used to wound his wife and kill six others."
However, Jared Loughner, the perpetrator of the massacre, used a Glock 19 handgun with a 33-round magazine, not the military-style, semi-automatic rifles that are often labeled "assault weapons" by gun control supporters. The journalist even showed a photo of the firearm in question as she misrepresented its type. [audio available here; video below the jump]
The three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning hailed a "historic" potential change by the Boy Scouts that would lift the ban on gays in their organization. ABC compared the move to a famous Norman Rockwell painting. NBC featured voices complaining that the decision doesn't go far enough.
On Monday's World News, Diane Sawyer trumpted that change is "afoot in an iconic American institution." She lamented, " For generations, becoming a Boy Scout was an American tradition. But not for all." Regarding the move to allow gays in, Sawyer prompted her colleague, reporter David Muir, "But we were talking earlier about the Norman Rockwell painting, the classic painting of the Cub Scout dreaming one day of becoming a real Boy Scout. And you were saying, the caption to that painting is?" "Can't wait," he solemnly responded. "Can't wait," Sawyer marveled. [See video below MP3 audio here.]
If you deny global warming, you are on par with those who believe the Earth is flat or the moon landing never happened, at least, according to Jeffrey Kluger, TIME Magazine senior editor for science and technology. Kluger appeared on Saturday’s CBS This Morning to discuss the recent trend toward warmer weather.
Co-host Jim Axelrod asked Kluger if the record-setting temperatures of the past year would finally end the debate among scientists over global warming. Kluger responded by slamming those who question manmade climate change: “Well, I think of the folks who are the climate deniers as the flat Earthers and the people who say the moon landings never happened.” [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell gushed over Steve Kroft's interview of President Obama and Hillary Clinton, twice emphasizing the supposed "warmness" between the two Democrats. O'Donnell asserted that the interview was "a long way from where they were in 2008 in that bitter primary battle....This time, they were leaning into each other. There was clearly a warmness between them."
John Dickerson later hyped how the Kroft segment on Sunday's 60 Minutes came at an opportune time for Mrs. Clinton, after her contentious appearances before a Senate committee about the Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
On their evening and morning news shows on Thursday and Friday, NBC and CBS were quick to tout Democratic efforts to reimpose an assault weapons ban, with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaiming the move to be "the latest step in the ongoing response to the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings."
On CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes described the scene as the legislation was announced on Thursday: "Flanked by police officers, doctors, and mayors, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California made her case today for banning the types of weapons used to carry out mass shootings." Cordes further highlighted the stagecraft: "Feinstein also asked half a dozen gun victims to share their stories, to give the measure a human face. Lilly Habtu was shot three times at Virginia Tech."
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, John Dickerson stood by his Friday column for Slate where he concluded that President Obama "can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP." Dickerson answered conservative critics of his piece by claiming that he "wasn't trying to give advice. I was trying to highlight, in a very stark way, what seems like an impossible-to-avoid conclusion about this second term."
The liberal CBS News political director also repeated many of the points he made in a follow-up column for Slate on Tuesday [audio clips available here; video below the jump]:
On Tuesday, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson broke on Twitter that the Obama administration "has indicated that it will not be answering Benghazi question we've been asking since Oct." Attkisson, who has provided hard-hitting reporting on the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, listed many of the questions that the executive branch has yet to answer about the story.
The journalist noted in a later Tweet that "CBS News FOI'd Benghazi info from State Dept, CIA, FBI and Defense Dept. None has been provided." Attkisson also pointed out a false claim by the administration:
CBS’s John Dickerson has once again used violent imagery to describe President Obama’s relationship with congressional Republicans in his second term. Speaking prior to President Obama’s second inauguration ceremony on live network coverage shortly after 10:30 a.m. Eastern Monday, Dickerson insisted that, “only aggression will get deals made.” So much for "changing the tone" in Washington or appealing to the "better angels of our nature" to borrow from President Lincoln.
Dickerson’s violent rhetoric comes just two days after he commented that, “Obama can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP.” Dickerson seems to place blame solely at the feet of House Republicans while the victimized President Obama needs to strike a “more aggressive tone” during his second term. “He [Obama] just thinks that a deal made with Republicans in Congress in the House specifically will not get through the House.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell granted staunch gun rights supporter Michael Bloomberg a platform to blast the NRA as "stupid", and brush aside gun-owning Americans as a radical minority. O'Donnell set up the New York City mayor to accuse the gun rights group of being under the thumb of gun manufacturers.
The CBS anchors also took a more subdued approach to the Bloomberg segment, compared to their contentious interview of NRA President David Keene just minutes earlier. Co-anchor Charlie Rose led the segment with a softball question to the billionaire politician [audio clips from the Bloomberg interview are available here; video below the jump]:
Norah O'Donnell barely contained her contempt for NRA president David Keene during an interview on Thursday's CBS This Morning. O'Donnell confronted Keene over a new ad that ripped President Obama's support of gun control and referenced the armed Secret Service protection for Sasha and Malia Obama: "The NRA put out this ad in which you mentioned the President's kids....Why is it not off-bounds to use the President's kids or anybody's kids in a political ad?"
Keene tried to explain the intent behind the ad, but the anchor interrupted him mid-answer. The outrage in her voice was unmistakable [audio available here; video below the jump]:
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Bill Plante refreshingly spotlighted how firearms are used to protect the lives of ordinary Americans. Plante noted how the National Rifle Association "Tweeted a story...about Melinda Herman, a Georgia woman who shot an intruder in self-defense as she waited with her two children in a closet....She fired at the man multiple times with a .38 caliber handgun."
The two other Big Three morning shows failed to mention this story during their coverage of the current gun control debate. ABC's GMA actually minimized the air time they devoted to the issue. News anchor Dan Harris gave just one news brief to the next meeting of Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force:
Thursday's CBS This Morning trumpeted Piers Morgan's "crusade against gun violence in America", and gave the CNN host four and half minutes to spout his pro-gun control views unopposed. Morgan endorsed implementing something akin to the "really draconian" firearms regulations that the U.K. passed after the 1996 Dunblane massacre.
Despite denying that he wanted to take guns away from Americans, the British anchor repeatedly called for complete bans on "assault weapons" and handguns, along with high-capacity magazines [audio available here; video below the jump]:
ABC and CBS on Thursday hit Barack Obama from the left, fretting about a lack of diversity for his second term cabinet picks. The two network morning shows ignored substantiative criticism about Treasury Secretary choice Jack Lew, but highlighted the cutesy story of his messy handwriting.
Correspondent Jon Karl chided, "Well, some critics are looking at that emerging second-term cabinet and wondering, where are the women?" He touted a New York Times article fretting about the "all-male look" of the new picks. Karl noted that "the President will have to replace Jack Lew as chief of staff. The top candidates are, you guessed it, men." Rather than worry about meeting a liberal quota, Karl could have noted Lew's total lack of experience in business.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared on all three network morning shows on Wednesday and was greeted in each interview by the host seizing on his harsh words for congressional Republicans over a delayed vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "You're not happy, it seems, with the course of the Republican Party right now. You blasted some Republicans in Congress last week after their inaction over Hurricane Sandy. You said they showed 'callous indifference, selfishness, duplicity,' they were, 'practicing toxic politics.' Strong letter to follow. Those aren't the words of a guy who's happy with his party."
CBS This Morning's slant towards gun control emerged again on Tuesday as they reported on the upcoming meetings of Vice President Joe Biden's task force on new firearms regulations. Despite a graphic spotlighting how "activists on both sides" were ready for a "fight" on the issue, the morning show only featured pictures of pro-gun control demonstrations, including one of a far left Code Pink protester disrupting a recent NRA press conference.
Anchor Charlie Rose also asked CBS News political director John Dickerson an eyebrow-raising question regarding the passage of federal gun control legislation in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut [audio available here; video below the jump]:
Exactly three years ago, on January 7, 2010, during a press conference regarding the 2009 attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan declared to reporters: "I told the President today I let him down." That admission of responsibility for a major intelligence failure was completely absent from Monday's network morning show coverage of President Obama nominating Brennan to be CIA director.
While NBC, CBS, and ABC focused much of their attention on the President's nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense and the likely confirmation fight that would result, Brennan's nomination was only a brief side note.
Good Morning America's Martha Raddatz on Monday seemed perplexed as to why conservatives would oppose Chuck Hagel's nomination for Secretary of Defense. According to the journalist, one might think the former Republican senator is the "perfect choice," a man who "dared [to] speak out" against George W. Bush's troop surge in Iraq -- the same surge that candidate Obama later admitted had "succeeded beyond our wildest dreams."
Raddatz mentioned concern about Hagel's stance toward Israel, but didn't explain what his "controversial" votes were. Instead, she blurbed, "You might think that a Republican Vietnam veteran, former senator with all kinds of foreign policy experience would be the perfect choice to ease the rancor on Capitol Hill." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted the passage of Senate Democrats' temporary fiscal cliff fix by the House as a "big bipartisan victory", immediately after pointing out that "the votes were about two-to-one Democratic in favor of the bill." Cordes also hyped how the bill is "a milestone, finally settling a decade-long debate over the Bush-era tax cuts," despite the fact the bill raises tax rates on top earners.
The correspondent also likened Congress to a teenaged student: "Well, if this was high school, you'd say they turned in the assignment a little bit late. It was kind of a rush job, but at least they got it done."
With four days until the "fiscal cliff," CBS This Morning peppered its report on the Congressional negotiations with four Democratic sound bites compared to just one from Republicans.
Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) three times and simply relayed his smear of Rep. John Boehner's Speakership as a "dictatorship." Both ABC and NBC called out Reid's rhetoric, however. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]