Appearing on Friday's CBS This Morning, Sirius XM radio and CNN host Michael Smerconish hocked his new fictional novel about the talk radio business entitled Talk, and denounced the industry: "I think it's entertainment masked as news and I wanted to expose it because I think it's had a horrific impact on polarization and incivility in the country." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Smerconish was teed up by co-host Gayle King, who described the book as "the story of an influential conservative radio personality at a crossroad against the backdrop of a presidential race," before proclaiming: "...many times when I used to listen to talk radio, it's hard to do now, I used to listen to these guys, Michael, and say, 'They can't possibly believe what they're saying.' And after reading your book...the character says it's all for show. Half the time they don't mean what they're saying. It just is a way to just rile up the crowd."
The House on Thursday voted to create a select committee to investigate Benghazi, but NBC's Today, a four hour program, on Friday totally ignored the story. In contrast, the show spent two minutes on the topic of how many times a week should people shower. ABC's Good Morning America allowed a mere 12 seconds for the latest details. News reader Amy Robach emphasized, "Republicans on Capitol Hill are opening an eighth investigation into the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi." She added, "Today, Democrats are meeting to decide whether to boycott the new investigation, calling it election year politics."
CBS This Morning offered a scant 15 seconds. Co-host Charlie Rose quickly derided, "Thursday's vote to create the committee stayed mostly along party lines with 225 Republicans voting in favor. Only seven Democrats backed the probe." On Thursday, CBS's Nancy Cordes featured Democrats such as Congressman Gerry Connolly complaining, "For political reasons, to keep the base fired up between now and the midterm elections." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Not even a full vote by the House of Representatives to hold Lois Lerner in contempt can shake the networks out of their slumber in covering the IRS scandal. On Wednesday the House voted 231-178 (all Republicans voted yes with six Democrats) to hold Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. Total coverage by ABC, CBS and NBC? Just a 15-second brief on Thursday’s edition of ABC’s Good Morning America.
However the Big Three networks did find the 110x more time this week to tout the “dire” and “alarming” findings from the White House climate change report.
After enthusiastically promoting an upcoming White House climate change report on Tuesday, all three network morning shows on Wednesday happily touted interviews with President Obama on the subject and continued to hype the "dire" and "alarming" findings. Meanwhile, critics were dismissed as an anti-science minority. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "Millions coping with the first record-breaking heat wave of the season, while the White House issues a dire warning about the nation's climate change." In the report that followed, weatherman Al Roker dutifully parroted White House talking points: "This report has taken years to complete with input from hundreds of scientists and technical experts. The President saying the report's conclusion is clear: If we want to stop climate change, the time to act is now."
Summary: After a partisan report last June absurdly suggested that progressive groups were just as likely to be scrutinized as conservative ones, ABC, CBS and NBC essentially abandoned their coverage of the IRS targeting scandal which broke one year ago this week. After producing 136 stories on their morning and evening news show during the first seven weeks of the scandal, broadcast news coverage dried up, with just 14 more reports over the next 10 months, as the Big Three ignored numerous damning developments in the case.
The hosts of CBS This Morning on Tuesday featured Lynne Cheney to talk about her new book on James Madison. However, predictably, the topics drifted towards a grilling on gay marriage and her daughters' public spat over the subject. Additionally, Norah O'Donnell rather obviously quizzed Cheney on whether being a Secretary of State, like Madison, would still be a good path for the president in 2016.
On the subject of Liz Cheney's Senate run, O'Donnell lectured, "I do think this was an interesting story, not because it's two daughters of a prominent vice president, but also because Mary then said that her sister was on the wrong side of history." She added, "Was Liz on the wrong side of history?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Obviously, it was a painful thing for a mother to see her two daughters fighting publicly. If Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, will the co-host bring up painful, personal topics from her marriage?
In another example of censoring a Barack Obama scandal, NBC has ignored the brewing controversy impacting American veterans and a shocking lack of access to hospital care. Though the news of up to 40 patients dying in Arizona has been going on for months, ABC finally covered the story on Tuesday's Good Morning America, offering a scant 29 seconds. Reporter Amy Robach informed that the President is "standing by his Secretary of Veterans Affairs," despite a call by the American Legion on Monday for his ouster. CBS This Morning gave it 18 seconds.
Robach explained that the nation's largest veterans group has accused "Secretary Eric Shinseki and his top aides of, quote, 'poor oversight and failed leadership,' after reports that as many as 40 patients in Phoenix may have died because of delays in care and allegations that hospitals have tried to cover up other delays." Despite the controversy, this was the first time Shinseki's name has been uttered on ABC since his nomination on December 6, 2008. Fox News and CNN have both covered the scandal, but NBC has avoided it. [See video of CNN's coverage below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday, the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows all seized on a new climate change report being released by the White House ahead of a slate of interviews with President Obama conducted by network meteorologists. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, weatherman Al Roker stood in front of the White House holding up a draft copy of the report and proclaimed: "This is why we're here. This document, the National Climate Assessment Report, it comes out later this morning, and once it does, there are going to be administration officials, scientists around, we'll be talking with them. And then this afternoon we interview the President of the United States about this report."
In April, CBS and NBC found no time to cover the protests against Michelle Obama's planned graduation speech to high school students in Kansas. But both networks on Monday hyped the bullying of Condoleezza Rice from speaking to Rutgers University. Some of protest signs included an ugly caricature of the first female African American Secretary of State. Instead of discussing this, CBS This Morning journalist Elaine Quijano reported that "some felt" Rice "didn't deserve the honors because she championed war in Iraq and supported harsh questioning of detainees." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Quijano included two clips of liberal students chanting, "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Condi Rice has got to go!" She then featured a clip of a professor deriding, "A person who has condoned and been involved in torture is not an appropriate person to receive an honorary degree of laws, no less."
On Monday, the three network morning shows provided 12 minutes 24 seconds to Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner but only CBS This Morning reported House Speaker John Boehner on Friday announcing a new investigation into Benghazi – a news brief that totaled a mere 47 seconds. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose noted: "Both parties on Capitol Hill are sniping over new a investigation of the deadly Benghazi attack." After a soundbite of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham discussing the scandal on Sunday's Face the Nation, Rose added: "House Speaker John Boehner is calling for a new investigation based on a White House memo released last week. Republicans say the document proves the Obama administration tried to spin the attacks for political gain." NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story on Monday.
CBS This Morning journalists on Friday continued the show's obsession with legalized pot, offering an uncritical puffing of a new marijuana lobbyist in Washington D.C. Gayle King touted, "Marijuana is now legal in some form in nearly half the country. The growing cannabis industry wants a voice in Washington." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] A CBS graphic promoted, "Making Friends in High Places: Cannabis Industry Hires First Full-Time Lobbyist."
Nancy Cordes insisted, "And it's just inevitable that as the benefits and drawbacks of marijuana become more widely known, there are going to be more attempts to legislate it at the federal level." But she offered zero examples of what possible "drawbacks" could be. Instead, she repeated the talking points of pot lobbyist Michael Correia: "He spends his days urging members and their staffers to change the law that prohibits banks from lending to marijuana venders."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to set aside any air time to a mass abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from a school in northern Nigeria on April 16, 2014. Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram raided the government-run institution and forced the students into vehicles. On Thursday, the girls' parents and their supporters led a demonstration to pressure the government into action.
The last time the Big Three networks covered the ongoing insurgency in Nigeria was on the April 14, 2014 edition of NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams gave a 26-second news brief about Boko Haram's bombing in the capital of Abuja, which took place mere hours before the jihadist group kidnapped the students. Nine days later, CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted a full segment on his Wolf program to the school incident with correspondent Vladimir Duthiers: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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.”