The journalists at CBS This Morning on Thursday skeptically examined a new law in Tennessee that allows criminal charges for pregnant women who abuse drugs. Co-anchor Norah O'Donnell warned, "...The ACLU says this law is dangerous. It could prevent women from getting necessary prenatal care."
Talking to CBS legal analyst Rikki Klieman, co-anchor Gayle King fretted, "But doesn't it raise a question if the state is trying to get involved in what a woman can and cannot do with her body?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Of course, the fact that drug use is already illegal didn't seem to cross King's mind. She continued, "Doesn't that raise a whole other set of issues that no one wants to get involved with?" Among the networks, CBS alone has covered the newly signed law, while ABC and NBC ignored it.
Ten days after touting the best marijuana in Colorado, CBS This Morning journalists woke up to some potential dangers for the state's decision to legalize pot. Gayle King on Wednesday informed viewers, "Colorado is rethinking the rules for pot-infused food this morning after two recent deaths." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Journalist Don Dahler explained, "Last month, a 19-year-old student jumped to his death off a Denver hotel balcony after friends said he ate a single marijuana cookie." Autopsy reports cited "marijuana intoxication" as a significant contributing factor. He added, "In another case just this month, woman called 911 to say her husband had eaten pot candy and was hallucinating." The man later shot his wife. This type of coverage is a far cry from previous CBS This Morning stories.
Wednesday's CBS This Morning featured a full report on an outrageous attempt by Illinois Democrats to shove through $100 million in taxpayer funds for Barack Obama's future presidential library despite the state being $7 billion in debt. Meanwhile, NBC and ABC ignored the brewing controversy.
This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell noted the proposed massive spending was "a controversial move for a state that's pretty deep in debt." Correspondent Nancy Cordes explained: "That's right, $7 billion in debt. But Democrats in Illinois say allocating this money will help to convince the Obama Foundation to locate the Obama Library in Chicago, while many Republicans argue the President's hometown is the front-runner anyway and that this is an expense their state can't afford." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday April 29, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate air pollution from power plants that cross state lines yet NBC and ABC failed to cover the story.
Despite the unprecedented ruling by the court, only CBS bothered to cover it, with Scott Pelley giving it a mere 22 seconds on the CBS Evening News on Tuesday night. Unlike the EPA ruling, all three networks provided extensive coverage of last week’s Supreme Court ruling that voters could decide whether or not they want to limit the use affirmative action in their respective state. [See video of Fox News’ coverage of the ruling below.]
[UPDATE: As of Thursday the total was 165 minutes.] When network journalists decide a story is important, they make sure it dominates the airwaves. Over the course of three and a half days, ABC, CBS and NBC vigorously investigated a racist rant by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, offering 146 minutes and 39 seconds of coverage since Saturday night. CBS devoted the most, a whopping 52 minutes and 13 seconds.
NBC came in second with 48 minutes and 36 seconds. ABC was a close third with 45 minutes and 40 seconds. In contrast, important stories over the same time period that cast Barack Obama (or Democrats in general) in a bad light were buried by the network evening and morning shows. For instance, new White House e-mails released on Tuesday show that the administration played a direct role in creating misleading talking points on the Benghazi scandal. Only CBS This Morning covered the story -- and for a mere two minutes and 50 seconds. NBC and ABC skipped it.
After White House emails released on Tuesday showed the Obama administration had a direct hand in crafting false talking points about the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2012, Wednesday's CBS This Morning was the only network broadcast to cover the latest developments in the ongoing scandal. None of the network evening newscasts covered the story Tuesday night, with NBC and ABC continuing to be out to lunch Wednesday morning.
Introducing a full report on the Benghazi emails, This Morning co-host Charlie Rose announced: "New emails are renewing controversy this morning over the Obama administration's response to Benghazi. The documents were obtained by the conservative organization Judicial Watch. Four Americans died in the 2012 assault, including Ambassador Chris Stevens." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose provided viewers with a mere 30-second news brief on Secretary of State John Kerry sparking a "storm of criticism" by claiming that Israel would become an "apartheid state" if it did not accept a two-state solution with Palestine: "Secretary of State John Kerry's backtracking after controversial comments about Israel....Kerry released a statement last night saying, quote, 'If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word.' Kerry says he's been a staunch supporter of Israel for years.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That quick mention of the controversy was far more than NBC or ABC provided. Both networks have continued to ignore the story that first broke on Sunday.
ABC, CBS, and NBC spotlighted the issue of child sex abuse by priests on their Saturday morning and evening newscasts – twenty-four hours or less before the Catholic Church canonized Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. CBS and NBC both uncritically turned to the president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), but didn't mention her controversial affiliations with prominent anti-Catholics.
CBS and ABC also hyped how "some of the faithful have complained the canonization process was fast-tracked." ABC's Terry Moran even inserted some slanted labeling of the Catholic practice of venerating the relics of saints on Saturday's World News, and wondered if modern people could relate to the Church's examples of holiness: [MP3 audio from the networks' reporting available here; video below the jump]
The Friday before the Catholic church would celebrate the canonization of two popes, NBC's Today hyped the "controversy" of the jubilant fans of Blessed John Paul II "drowning out dissent" from those who felt "stomped on" during his papacy.
Raining on the canonization parade, NBC's Anne Thompson said the crowds who chanted "sainthood now" at John Paul II's funeral were "drowning out dissent" from folks like, as leftist religion reporter David Gibson told NBC, "Voices of women, voices of sex abuse victims, voices of the more progressive folks in the church who felt they had gotten stomped on during the 26, almost 27 years of John Paul II's papacy." [Audio here; video below the jump]
Norah O'Donnell pursued Texas Governor Rick Perry on Thursday's CBS This Morning over the controversial land dispute between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal government. O'Donnell asked Perry, "What do you make of this standoff? What do you think of Clive Bundy? Do you think what he's done was a good thing?"
When the Republican politician replied that Bundy is a "side story," and that "rather than sending armed troops....I hope our government officials...use common sense when it comes to these issues of conflict...dealing with something...in a substantially-less confrontational way," the CBS anchor followed up by spotlighting the rancher's racially-charged remarks: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
President Obama is currently on a week-long tour of Asia and all three networks took the opportunity to promote the tenure of Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. On Thursday April 24, all three morning shows sat down with Kennedy and heaped praise on the long-time Democrat.
ABC’s Jonathan Karl and NBC’s Chuck Todd both used their interviews to plead for Kennedy to support Hillary Clinton’s prospective 2016 run for president, with Todd beaming that “Ambassador Kennedy said she was looking forward to Hillary Clinton running and thought she’d make a great candidate. [See video below.]
The broadcast networks have still not reported a new Justice Department initiative that would consider clemency for thousands of drug offenders.
As NewsBusters reported on Tuesday, Monday evening's news casts ignored the story while Fox News reported it. The broadcast network blackout continued through Tuesday and Wednesday. Fox News continued with the story on Wednesday evening as Special Report fill-in host Shannon Bream reported that "the nation's top cop today outlined a plan to get more people out of prison."
Tuesday's World News on ABC stood out as the only Big Three network evening newscast to cover a new "watchdog report" that found that the IRS "handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to employees who were delinquent on their federal taxes." Jeff Zeleny also pointed out how "more than 1,000 IRS workers, who didn't pay their taxes, received not only cash bonuses, but extra time off." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Tuesday both devoted air time to the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. NBC's Brian Williams also gave a 28-second news brief on Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to Ayers Rock in Australia, where they posed at the same spot as the prince's parents during the 1980s:
The journalists at CBS This Morning, Wednesday, highlighted the "impassioned dissent" of liberal Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor on affirmative action. All three networks covered the 6-2 ruling upholding a state's right to ban race as a factor in public universities. But it was CBS's Jan Crawford who focused on the liberal anger, noting that Sotomayor "took the unusual step of reading [her dissent] aloud." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Crawford dramatically recounted, "She spent about 12 minutes really saying that the six justices in the majority just don't get it, that race still matters. It felt almost personal at times." The journalist added, "[Sotomayor] talked about the experiences young people face, racial indignities and discrimination and how race still matters and what the court did yesterday was put unique burdens on minorities."
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is often talked about as the liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. As such, the hosts of CBS This Morning used their exclusive interview with the Massachusetts Democrat to press her on her presidential ambitions as well as promote her liberal agenda.
Appearing on CBS on Tuesday, April 22, co-host Gayle King lobbied Warren to consider running for president: "You sit today as a United States senator. And people are already thinking, buzz, buzz, buzz, president president, president. I have heard you say no. I've heard you say no. But you have said no to many things. Why would you not even consider this with the passion that you have?" [See video below.]
CBS This Morning journalist Barry Petersen on Monday offered a puff piece on legalized pot in Colorado, displaying no skepticism about health effects. Instead, he happily explained that "more than 60,000 gathered to party for 4/20. In marijuana lore, the day in April to celebrate all things pot." Petersen noted that the convention includes "an actual trophy for the best pot." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He informed viewers that the award went to "a Denver-grown variety called Ghost Train Haze." The entire story contained zero mention of any downside to increased pot use, despite the just-released study concluding that even casual marijuana use may damage your brain.
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.