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.]
Both NBC and CBS covered the outrage Thursday morning over a New York newspaper publishing the names and addresses of gun permit holders in two counties. ABC made no mention of the controversy, however.
"A suburban New York City newspaper is in the middle of a big controversy this morning after it put up online the names and addresses of everyone with a gun permit," reported CBS This Morning co-host Jeff Glor. "Call it a battle between the First and Second Amendments," said NBC News correspondent Katy Tur on the Today show.
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Rebecca Jarvis asked a pollster for a liberal anti-gun group what he thought of the NRA's response to the Newtown shooting.
CBS hosted Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist but also a pollster for Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Co-host Rebecca Jarvis asked him, "what do you make of the NRA's strategy here to say there should be someone in every school system in America holding a gun protecting the kids?"
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, national correspondent Chip Reid glossed over proposals in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's fiscal cliff plan that would add to the deficit.
"The bill would also extend long-term unemployment benefits, patch up the alternative minimum tax that threatens to hit even more middle class families and prevent a scheduled dropoff in Medicare reimbursement to doctors," Reid rattled off the proposals without noting whether they would add to or subtract from the deficit.
Norah O'Donnell helped Bob Schieffer hype his upcoming segment with actor/director Ben Affleck on Thursday's CBS This Morning. O'Donnell played a clip of the soon-to-be aired interview and remarked, "He sure does sound like a politician. He won't give you a straight answer!"
Schieffer ballyhooed Affleck's supposed credentials to be a possible replacement for Senator John Kerry, who could be named the next Secretary of State [audio available here; video below the jump]:
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett tried to shoehorn Steven Spielberg's screening of his recent film "Lincoln" for the Senate into his report on President Obama's Wednesday press conference on the fiscal cliff and gun control. Garrett hyped how the movie "celebrates presidential power and crafty legislative strategy," and that Obama "may need the wisdom of Lincoln for his latest legislative battle - gun control."
The correspondent even played a clip from the film about the sixteenth President to hint at a parallel between the passage the 13th Amendment, which happened after the carnage of the Civil War, and possible new firearms regulations in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre [audio available here; video below the jump]:
Bill Plante apparently couldn't be bothered to find more than one conservative/Republican for his report on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. Plante aired one soundbite from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but followed it with three straight clips from liberals/gun control supporters - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the Brady Campaign's Dan Gross, and Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth, who attacked the NRA's leadership as "bullies".
The correspondent hyped supposed "public outrage over the massacre [that] has also emboldened members of Congress to challenge the power of the gun lobby." Plante also spotlighted the NRA's multi-million dollar lobbying campaign in 2012:
News of the State Department report on the U.S. government’s failures surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, broke too late last night for the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, but all three broadcast networks had full reports on their Wednesday morning shows.
Of the three, ABC’s Good Morning America was the most perfunctory, with a less-than 90 second report from correspondent Martha Raddatz that completely failed to mention the controversy over the Obama administration’s preposterous initial explanation that the attack was the result of a “spontaneous” demonstration over an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube.
But as detailed in the very first of the official report’s “Findings,” the determination that there was no “spontaneous” demonstration: “The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.”
Yes, the newscasts were dominated by the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, yet the NBC Nightly News managed to squeeze in 24 seconds to note Scott’s historic appointment.
[UPDATE, 3:10 PM EDT Dec 18: On Tuesday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America spiked the news of Scott’s appointment, yet had time for far more frivolous matters, while CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today squeezed in very short items, though Today’s didn’t air until the third hour of the program.]
Bill Plante slanted four-to-one in favor of gun control on Monday's CBS This Morning as he reported on congressional Democrats' efforts to introduce new firearms regulations. Plante played soundbites from Senator Dianne Feinstein, Carolyn McCarthy, and President Barack Obama. His sole pro-gun rights talking head was Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who came only after the clips from the liberals were played in succession.
Despite Obama's recent hint towards supporting more gun control laws, in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Plante's clip of Obama came from a 2008 campaign rally where the then-senator tried to reassure gun owners.
Charlie Rose and Gayle King pressed outgoing Senator Jim DeMint on Thursday's CBS This Morning over congressional Republicans resistance to tax hikes. When DeMint stated that President Obama will "probably eventually get his tax increases one way or another", Rose replied, "So, if he will get them, why not get them now and compromise and avoid going off the fiscal cliff?"
Open Obama booster King added the bad polling numbers for Republicans into the mix as she tried to get the senator to surrender to the President's demand: "You released a statement...saying this is not rocket science...with that in mind, why can't we come to terms? The public is viewing the Republican Party very negatively. Are you concerned about that?" Rose later wondered why DeMint was leaving the Senate to head the conservative Heritage Foundation.
All three networks on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning ignored the violent assaults by union protesters in Michigan, instead vaguely insisting that activists were simply "voicing their anger" at the "showdown raging in the heartland." The morning shows on Wednesday allowed little coverage of Michigan at all, a mere 72 seconds out of eight hours of programming. (On Tuesday, the nightly newscasts offered eight minutes out of a possible 90 total.)
On Tuesday, World News reporter Alex Perez put the focus not on out of control violence, but on the fact that Michigan's right-to-work bill actually passed. He began, "The anger boiling over. Officers turning to pepper spray to control the crowd at least 10,000 deep. But it wasn't enough." One might think the journalist was speaking of the attack on Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. No. Perez kept the attention on the new law: "Michigan Republican lawmakers approving landmark legislation, lifting the requirement that workers in unionized workplaces pay union dues." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday, CBS This Morning shipwrecked its aim to be the hard-news alternative to ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today. Its only coverage of the passage of the right-to-work law in Michigan was a clip of Comedy Central's Jon Stewart ripping the legislation. Anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell laughed on air in reaction to Stewart's shtick, with O'Donnell adding, "That's pretty good."
The liberal Daily Show host poked fun of the "right-to-work" phrase as an Orwellian reversal of reality (audio available here; video below the jump):