Norah O'Donnell unsurprisingly conducted a confrontational interview of Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, pummeling the Kentucky Republican for his strong opposition to the National Security Agency's controversial PRISM surveillance program. The anchor played up how "all three branches of government have approved this surveillance" after Paul asserted that "we don't want the government looking at our entire life."
O'Donnell also hammered the senator for supposedly not speaking up earlier about his objections to this electronic monitoring: "There was an invitation in 2011 for...all lawmakers to view this classified report on what was going on....Did you go to that? Why not? Why only now raise these concerns? Congress was briefed on this." [audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday, CNN ignored a CBS News report that, according to the State Department's Inspector General, the department stymied investigations into allegations of sexual assault by its security employees. Neither NBC nor ABC touched the story either.
As CBS reported, an Inspector General memo detailed specific examples of alleged sexual assault and soliciting of prostitutes by State Department security officials abroad. The department's watchdog tried to investigate the cases but the investigations were "influenced, manipulated, or simply called off." The memo noted that security details engaging prostitutes in foreign countries was an "endemic" problem.
The ABC and NBC morning shows on Monday ignored or downplayed the role the President of the United States played in the unfolding spying scandal that broke last week. The journalists at Good Morning America never once uttered the name Barack Obama. The hosts of NBC's Today left it to their guest to question the implications for the President.
It was CBS This Morning that saw possible damage to Obama. Major Garrett warned, "The White House knows that this is an intelligence crisis that could become a political crisis." The reporter added that the administration "had to admit a politically and tactically startling truth: It conducts more surveillance than the Bush White House." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Sunday's CBS Evening News, John Blackstone spotlighted the sob story of fourth graders who are lobbying President Obama to allow the return of their former classmate, Rodrigo Guzman, who was deported with his family back to Mexico. Blackstone sympathized with the schoolchildren who "hope to visit Washington, to personally lobby for Rodrigo's return."
The correspondent trumpeted the children's cause: "The students' activism shouldn't be surprising, perhaps, in a class where they've been studying civil rights leaders." The only soundbites that Blackstone played during the report came from the fourth grade teacher and students at Guzman's former school in the leftist enclave of Berkeley, California [audio available here; video below the jump]
Another week, another scandal, as we learn of more malfeasance at the State Department when Hillary was at the helm, but while CBS is all over the story today, their rivals at ABC and NBC censored the story. In fact, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today decided to skip the story entirely.
The contents of the documents obtained by CBS outline lurid details of prostitution and sexual assault committed by State Department officials. Additionally, an underground drug ring in Iraq supplied State Department security contractors with narcotics:
It seems that the media cannot resist spitting on the Romneys when they are down. On last Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Ms. Witt decided to cover Ann Romney’s recent interview with CBS This Morning as part of her end-of-show The Big 3 segment. Witt played a clip from that interview in which Romney bemoaned Americans’ lack of trust in their government due to the current scandals.
After the clip, Witt tag-teamed with liberal journalist Patricia Murphy, editor of Citizen Jane Politics, to bash the Romneys for re-entering the national political conversation. “Patricia, too early for the Romneys to resurface?" Witt inquired. "You think the public really wants to hear from them after the last election?" she asked, a not-so-subtle way of passive-aggressively wishing the Romneys would crawl into a hole. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd cheered President Obama picking Susan Rice to be his new national security advisor and nominating Samantha Power as U.N. ambassador: "They are now among the most powerful women in the American foreign policy community. Behind-the-scenes power players now front and center."
Amid sound bites of Obama praising both women, Todd joined in extolling their accomplishments: "Both come with a long list of impressive credentials. Rice, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford. In 1990's she served as assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Power is a human rights expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; she's also the mother of two young children."
Both NBC and CBS led their Thursday morning shows with news that the Obama administration has secretly obtained the phone records of millions of Americans, but ABC's Good Morning America started its show reporting on Tropical Storm Andrea in Florida instead.
Overall, Thursday's two hour-long GMA spent less than three minutes total on the phone tracking story, giving over five times more coverage to the attempted suicide of Michael Jackson's daughter Paris. Back in 2006, however, ABC showed far more scrutiny to a similar story of the Bush administration tracking phone calls.
Wednesday's CBS This Morning minimized Susan Rice's refuted claims about the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi as they covered her appointment as national security adviser. Charlie Rose and John Dickerson dwelt more on outgoing national security adviser Tom Donilon's term, with Dickerson only vaguely mentioning how Rice was "the focus of so much controversy in the Senate."
The only time that a CBS News personality specifically mentioned Benghazi during the segment was when Gayle King wondered if President Obama's decision to choose the current U.N. ambassador to succeed Donilon was a "message to Republicans who came down hard on Susan Rice during the Benghazi hearings."
Friday's CBS This Morning touted Oprah Winfrey's recent Harvard commencement speech, airing over a minute of half of footage from the former daytime TV host's address. The morning newscast spotlighted how Winfrey took the opportunity to promote two liberal pet causes: gun control and "a clear path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants.
The show's three anchors all sang the billionaire's praises. Charlie Rose gushed over Winfrey's "remarkable speech". Norah O'Donnell trumpeted the TV star's "important message". Gayle King, who is Oprah's longtime friend, marveled over the address: "She did a great job yesterday." The three hosts didn't once mention King's close connection to Winfrey [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
Wednesday's CBS This Morning zeroed in on the House Judiciary Committee's inquiry into whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during his testimony regarding the Justice Department's controversial investigation of journalists. Jan Crawford's two-and-a-half minute report on the congressional investigation into Holder stood out as the only coverage on the Big Three networks on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts.
Crawford underlined that "conservative and liberal voices" are clamoring for Holder's resignation in the wake of the questionable surveillance of the Associated Press and Fox News' James Rosen. She also asserted that "everyone in Washington is talking about is whether...a survivor, like Eric Holder, gets drummed out."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, John Dickerson spun a front page scoop from the Washington Post that spotlighted the several private meetings that a top Obama health care adviser had with investment firms on the future implementation of ObamaCare: "It's a little hard to see what those investment firms got that wasn't already publicly available."
The liberal CBS political director brushed aside concerns that "some traders are gaining access to information that is not available to investors in general or the wider public", as Post writer Tom Hamburger outlined in his Sunday article. Dickerson asserted, "There's a lot of information exchange that wouldn't necessarily have to be sinister."
Leading off a report on Tuesday's NBC Today about President Obama's trip to survey recovery efforts along New Jersey's shoreline after Hurricane Sandy, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "[The President's here] really to see the improvements to this area, and also to refocus the conversation away from some recent headlines. Focusing on what he wants to focus on: government at its best, bipartisanship, and efforts to improve the economy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meanwhile, on CBS This Morning, correspondent Major Garrett almost identically announced: "President Obama is eager to look at federally-financed repairs on the Jersey shore – to his mind, a welcome contrast to IRS bungling and Justice Department snooping....Today's trip could also inject some life into Mr. Obama's scandal-starved push for Beltway bipartisanship."
Touting the Boy Scouts' "landmark" and "historic" decision to allow openly-gay members, CBS, ABC, and NBC gave supporters of the decision three times as many quotes as their opponents got on Friday morning's news stories.
The networks gave 10 soundbites to supporters of the new Scouts policy and only three to its opponents. Supporters included President Obama, gay scout Pascal Tessier, and former den leader Jennifer Tyrell.
Friday's CBS This Morning, unlike NBC's Today, briefly picked up on NBC journalist Michael Isikoff's significant reporting from Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder's "signed off on a controversial search warrant" against Fox News' James Rosen and "authorized seizure of his private emails." However, unlike their strong "Obama's war on journalism" label of the scandal on Thursday, Gayle King and Bob Schieffer gave a more subdued response to this new detail.
King pointed out that "Holder signed off on allowing an investigation into some reporters' e-mails", but merely wondered if President Obama was in an "awkward position" as a result. Schieffer did assert that "there's no question in my mind this was an outrageous overreach", but didn't call for an investigation into the administration's surveillance of Rosen and the AP [audio available here; video below the jump].
As of Friday morning, NBC News broadcasts had completely ignored an important scoop from the network's own national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the Justice Department's aggressive investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen. Meanwhile, both CBS News and FNC provided on-air coverage of the new development. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an article for NBCNews.com on Thursday, Isikoff reported that Holder "signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a 'possible co-conspirator' in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News."
The Big Three networks coverage so far of the Justice Department's questionable investigation of Fox News' James Rosen has followed a similar pattern to that of their coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case. Jan Crawford's report on Thursday's CBS This Morning was the first full report on growing controversy on ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts. NBC briefly covered the investigation on Tuesday's Today, and ABC has yet to mention it.
Crawford pointed out how the DOJ's "unprecedented" surveillance of Rosen has "really just set off a firestorm of criticism from the left and right. For the first time ever, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime, and a reporter like a criminal suspect." [audio available here; video below the jump]
While the three network morning shows on Thursday all promoted President Obama's "renewed focus on transparency" in an upcoming national security speech, none of the broadcasts made any mention of the administration's deception in the ongoing scandal surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander declared that Obama would be "highlighting new efforts to bring about transparency and even new restriction in the so-called hidden war" while citing "evidence of that renewed focus on transparency" in the form a Justice Department letter to Congress officially acknowledging the already widely-reported fact that drones were used to kill American citizen and terrorist cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki.
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, open Obama supporter Gayle King strongly hinted to Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn that he would face voter backlash for seeking cuts in the federal budget to pay for tornado disaster relief: "You voted against relief plans for Hurricane Sandy, and it sounds that you would do the same if it was raised in Oklahoma. Do you worry about alienating your constituents?"
The Republican politician shot back that he didn't want the next generation to foot the bill for the recovery from the EF-5 tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, and then strongly criticized the multi-billion dollar Hurricane Sandy relief package audio available here; video below the jump]:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is under fire for soliciting donations from health care companies to underwrite ObamaCare PR efforts to increase enrollment but you wouldn't know that if you only got your news from ABC and NBC or skipped Sunday's edition of CBS's Face the Nation.
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have effectively buried the scandal that was first broken by the Washington Post on May 10.
In the latest instance of liberal journalists thinking alike, Charlie Rose asked practically the same question on Friday's CBS This Morning that ABC's George Stephanopoulos did on Good Morning America. Rose wondered if congressional Republicans "may overplay their hand and somehow squander what they think is opportunity" on the three scandals currently surrounding the Obama White House.
The CBS anchor proposed this question not even four minutes after Stephanopoulos asked ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl, "Are some of [the GOP] leaders worried that some of the Republicans may be overplaying their hand?"
Thursday's CBS This Morning did its best to shift blame away from President Obama on the IRS, Justice Department, and Benghazi scandals currently surrounding his administration. Bob Schieffer shot down comparisons to the Watergate scandal that led to former President Richard Nixon's resignation: "This is not the Nixon administration, where you had burglars and people talking about blowing up the Brookings Institution. This is more of a case – is anybody home?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Anchor Charlie Rose seconded Schieffer's assessment, asserting that the President "seems like a bystander in his own government." He later stated that "the President has to take control of his own government."
Charlie Rose acted as an apologist for President Obama on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, after former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asserted that the second-term executive was avoiding responsibility for the recent spate of scandals surrounding his administration.
Rumsfeld snarked that "the only thing the President has really taken responsibility for is SEAL Team Six killing Osama bin Laden." Rose interrupted his guest and replied, "Oh, that's not true." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
ABC and NBC led their morning shows on Tuesday with nearly 10 minutes of "breaking news" coverage of Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy. This celebrity-driven story was apparently deemed more important than abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell being found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, as Good Morning America and Today devoted just 38 seconds to the Gosnell trial. (audio clips of Jolie coverage available here; video below the jump)
Altogether, the ABC and NBC morning newscasts aired 19 minutes and 3 seconds of coverage on Jolie. Tuesday's CBS This Morning waited 12 minutes to cover the Hollywood news item, but ultimately ended up setting aside 7 minutes and 49 seconds of air time to the surgeries, versus a 18 second news brief on Gosnell. The total Big Three coverage of Jolie on Tuesday morning, including CBS's reporting, added up to 26 minutes and 52 seconds, as opposed to 56 seconds on the Gosnell case.
While the Big Three (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks have all done stories on the Obama administration's seizure of Associated Press (AP) reporters phone records, what is striking is their reluctance to attach Barack Obama's name to the controversy. In seven total stories aired on their evening and morning shows, since the story broke on Monday afternoon, Obama's name was used only six times. Reporters were much more likely to use the generic term "government." For example, CBS's Bob Orr on Wednesday's This Morning described the controversy this way: "The government just simply came in, got the subpoenas, took the phone logs and then notified the AP after the fact."
The reluctance to put Obama's name in these stories is important because it allows the low-information voter to write off the scandal as one caused by faceless government bureaucrats.
Jeffrey Kluger showed up on Saturday’s CBS This Morning to do what he does best: clang the alarm bells over global warming. The TIME magazine senior editor even went so far as to warn that Manhattan may soon be underwater.
Kluger was brought on to discuss a recent reading -- atop an observation station on a dormant volcano -- finding that atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its highest level in 2 million years. Back then, he informed us, sea levels were 66 feet higher than they are now. He then struck an ominous tone: “What this means is we are on the west side of Manhattan at this moment. If this keeps up to what it was back then, we would be swimming at this address.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
My alternate headline for this item: “NBC’s Today Show on Benghazi: ‘There Are So Many Issues the Country Faces. This Is One of Them.’” That dismissive attitude came from ABC News veteran Mark Halperin, now MSNBC’s senior political analyst who also toils for Time magazine, putting the burden on Republican to make an issue of Obama administration dishonesty on Benghazi.
Failing to see any role for the news media after months of malfeasance, Halperin put the burden on a political party: “I think the events of this week mean Republicans now have a chance to make the case to the American people. There are so many issues the country faces. This is one of them.”
Friday's CBS This Morning played up the "vocal opposition" of liberal activist groups who are railing against the possible sale of several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, to the libertarian Koch Brothers. Charlie Rose trumpeted that "critics fear politics could get in the way of journalism" if Koch Industries purchases the media outlets.
Jan Crawford underlined how "the rumors are causing anxiety and protests from unions, and liberal groups are seeking to block any sale to the Koch brothers. Some newspaper staffers also avowed they would quit, fearing the Koch brothers could impose their conservative slant to the news."
The network morning shows on Thursday went into tabloid overdrive for the Jodi Arias verdict and an abduction case in Ohio, offering a staggering 56 minutes of coverage. In contrast, NBC, CBS and ABC allowed just under seven minutes combined to hearings on the 2012 terrorist murder of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya. This is a disparity of eight-to-one.
Good Morning America proved to be the least interested in the national security issues raised by Benghazi. The morning show devoted 19 minutes to the Arias conviction and the kidnapping of three women in Ohio. Yet, whistleblower testimony in Washington D.C. warranted a mere 53 seconds. The four hour-long Today show on NBC spent 27 minutes on the two cases and a scant two and a half minutes on Libya. The most balanced network turned out to be CBS.
CBS's Sharyl Attkisson is apparently viewed by network executives as "wading dangerously close to advocacy" in her coverage of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, as Politico's Dylan Byers asserted in a Wednesday item. Byers reported that "Attkisson can't get some of her stories on the air, and is thus left feeling marginalized and underutilized."
Attkisson's minute-long report about the House Oversight Committee's latest hearing on the attack on Wednesday's CBS This Morning was actually the first time since November 23, 2012 that the journalist reported about the story on air, according a search on Nexis.