In the wake of the “big three” networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) devoting 25 minutes to the indictment of Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) in the story’s first two days, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer continued the network obsession with the potential 2016 presidential candidate.
On Monday, August 18, anchor Diane Sawyer introduced a report on Perry by proclaiming “back here at home to Texas and a kind of high noon for Texas Governor Rick Perry facing indictment, but defiant again today.” [See video below.]
All three network morning shows on Monday continued to hype the Friday indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry but none of the broadcasts mentioned prominent liberals like Obama adviser David Axelrod or Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz coming to Perry's defense and dismissing the charges as politically motivated.
On NBC's Today, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed Perry to be "the first Texas governor to be indicted in nearly a century." The reporter then attempted to paint the entire field of possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates as plagued by scandal: "It's another possible 2016 contender with a blemish on his resume. You've got Perry's indictment, Chris Christie's bridgegate, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker under new scrutiny for allegations of campaign finance violations." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Several journalists at Food Safety News and The New York Times were subpoenaed in the the latest development in the legal fight between a beef producer and ABC News, according to Columbia Journalism Review (CJR). Beef Products Inc. (BPI), which filed the $1.2 billion lawsuit, claimed the attacks had cost more than $400 million and destroyed more than 700 jobs.
BPI, a South Dakota-based company, sued ABC News over alleged “disinformation” against the beef industry. The company said ABC’s repeated use of the slur “pink slime” in reports about its lean finely textured beef which had been USDA-approved cost BPI jobs and millions of dollars. According to CJR, the lawsuit moved forward on July 23 when journalists’ including the Times’ Michael Moss received subpoenas for their communications with ABC on the subject.
All three morning shows on Tuesday worried about Governor Rick Perry's "controversial," expensive move to send the National Guard to the Texas border. But it was ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday that offered the most annoyed commentary. GMA correspondent Jim Avila began his report by lecturing, "But the border patrol says [National Guard troops are] not needed because federal law prohibits the military from enforcing civilian laws."
Avila also highlighted that Operation Strong Safety comes "with a hefty price tag of $12 million per month." The journalist continued his critique, deriding, "The head of the border patrol telling ABC News he has other needs. It's not about detaining the child immigrants. They're giving themselves up." An irritated Avila added, "It's about where to put them and neither Governor Perry or the Guard has offered any help with that." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The growing threat of pneumonia, influenza and other serious diseases at the border has not been a concern for ABC. Since June 8, the network completely ignored the potentially grave threat as illegals stream into America. Yet, on Thursday, Good Morning America's Jim Avila warned, "...Some children are leaving border patrol processing centers with high fevers, flu-like symptoms and other contagious diseases." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Highlighting children flown from a screening center in California, Avila noted that the youths were sick with "fevers and coughing." He added, "Others had chicken pox and Coxsackie virus." Ominously, the journalist revealed, "ABC News has learned of one confirmed case and two probable cases of the H1N1 influenza strain commonly known as swine flu linked to the unaccompanied children."
Jose Antonio Vargas, a 31-year-old illegal immigrant, was detained by border patrol agents while trying to board a plane from McAllen, Texas without proper documentation. Following his arrest, the “big three” networks did their best to promote his cause on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning broadcasts.
ABC’s Good Morning America did the most to cheerlead for Vargas, with reporter Jim Avila declaring him “America’s most famous undocumented immigrant” without ever referring to him as an illegal immigrant. To their credit, both CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today correctly labeled Vargas as “illegally” living in the United States. All three networks did play up the fact that Vargas was a “Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.” [See video below.]
While all three networks played clips of Barack Obama on Monday blaming the GOP for the border crisis, they have been reluctant to cite the President’s own failure to enforce immigration laws as a cause for thousands of immigrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.
From June 8 through the morning of July 1 ABC, CBS and NBC have offered a total of 45 stories on the border crisis, on their evening and morning shows, and in only 5 (11 percent) have they brought up Obama immigration policies as a possible cause for the most recent surge of illegal immigrants, including unaccompanied children, crossing the border. (Video after the jump)
This afternoon outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took questions from the press corps in his first daily press briefing since announcing his resignation. The questions dealt primarily with the controversy surrounding the release of five high-level Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the sole American POW from the war in Afghanistan, and one who reportedly was judged by the Pentagon.
ABC’s Jim Avila got into a tense exchange with Jay Carney when he asked about the words Obama national security advisor Susan Rice used to describe Sergeant Bergdal’s service in the military. Avila asked Carney how exactly Bergdahl served, as Rice put it, “with honor and distinction.” He gave Carney the opportunity to say the national security advisor misspoke, but he did not.
Wednesday's World News on ABC minimized any sense of the Obama administration's responsibility in the ongoing V.A. scandal, and spent the least amount of air time on the issue among the Big Three networks' evening newscasts. The program actually aired segments on pickpocketing and custom mobile homes than lasted about a half a minute longer each than their report on the scandal.
Diane Sawyer spotlighted how the President "weighed in – talking tough and talking action" on the "growing outrage over veterans hospitals." Jim Avila noted how multiple V.A. medical facilities in several states are now being investigated, and let the relative of deceased veteran decry the President's handling of the scandal. However, he didn't mention that the wait lists have been around for years – something that CBS Evening News mentioned in its coverage of the controversy: [MP3 audio from the ABC report available here; video below the jump]
Since a massive scandal involving the Veterans Affairs department became public, the three networks have devoted a combined 71 minutes and 55 seconds (or 38 stories) to investigating a secret list delaying treatment to military personnel. That total time included a scant five seconds of criticism for Barack Obama. Instead, ABC, CBS and NBC focused their stories on Secretary Eric Shinseki and to assuring Americans that the President was on top of the situation.
NBC dedicated 32 minutes and 25 seconds to the revelation that up to 40 patients in Arizona died due to lack of care. CBS managed 28 minutes and two seconds and ABC allowed 11 minutes and 28 seconds. In addition to avoiding culpability for the White House, the networks got to the story late. The story broke on April 23, but NBC didn't get around to it until the May 6 Nightly News. CBS and ABC discovered the controversy for that day's morning programs.
The Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Friday jumped on the latest development in the traffic scandal surrounding Chris Christie. NBC and CBS both led with the accusation from the former Christie appointee, who claims that the New Jersey governor knew more about the lane closures than he previously asserted. CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "Chris Christie just got thrown under the bus in that traffic jam scandal that has jeopardized his presidential ambitions."
Brian Williams hyped the "explosive new allegations," and that "this scandal has again engulfed Chris Christie – embarrassingly on the eve of the Super Bowl, the first ever held in New Jersey." On World News, ABC's Diane Sawyer played up the "bombshell of a new accusation," and correspondent Jim Avila spotlighted that New Jersey's "largest newspaper has published this: 'Christie is now damaged goods. If... [the] disclosures are as powerful as he claims, the Governor must go.'" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The journalists at ABC News have refrained from questioning Barack Obama's unilateral tone at the State of the Union address. Reporter Jim Avila on Tuesday's Nightline went so far as to compare the President to an iconic movie character. Regarding Obama's threats to use executive actions to accomplish his goals, Avila enthused, "This was President Obama, the go-it-alone Terminator, mindful he has only three years left." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The ABC journalist heralded, "This was a stare down, chest pumping President, angry and resentful about a Congress determined to log jam his ideas." Avila did describe the second term Commander in Chief as "on the downward slide" and as losing his "power to persuade" with Congress. But the reporter failed to offer skepticism about the executive orders.
All three networks on Tuesday morning continued to pile on Chris Christie, offering gloating coverage about how his “glory days” have gone terribly wrong. After recounting everything that has gone awry for the Republican, Good Morning America's Jim Avila imagined, “You can almost see at the inauguration today, Governor Christie raising his right hand and shaking his head at the same time. “ [See video below.] Co-host Robin Roberts added, “It’s not what they thought today was going to be.”
After reiterating that the new year is “not at all going to plan” for Christie, Avila continued, “Instead, [the governor has been] forced to play scandal whack-a-mole, with new poll numbers falling.” CBS This Morning offered a network graphic that trumpeted, “Christie Crisis.” Journalist Elaine Quijano featured Alex Burns from the liberal Politico to lecture that in order to run for President, Christie needed to “run up the legislative score board in New Jersey. I think we can safely say that all those plans are on hold.”
Spinning liberal-friendly stories as the end of the world is a popular thing at ABC. Good Morning America's Jim Avila on Wednesday hyped the scandal involving Chris Christie as "traffic armageddon," a hyperbolic term the network loves. On Saturday, Avila mentioned the "four-day traffic armageddon." [See video of both below. MP3 audio here.]
As the sequester set in on April 22, 2013, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos freaked out: "Breaking this morning: Airport armageddon. Almost seven thousand flights could be delayed." On March 1, 2013, a GMA graphic warned of "budget armageddon." On April 23 reporter Matt Gutman predicted an "airline apocalypse."
The same network evening news shows that ignored vindictiveness by the Obama administration during October's government shutdown were up in arms Wednesday over New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" and the possible tarring it could give his image.
NewsBusters already counted 17 times more network coverage of Christie's controversy than of Obama's IRS scandal in the past six months. That same double standard was evident in the treatment given the Christie administration versus the non-coverage of any Obama administration wrongdoing during the shutdown.
Back in 2010, this award was “won” by then-MSNBC star Keith Olbermann, who on January 5 of that year lambasted conservatives for daring to oppose Obama's big government solution: “What would you do, sir, if terrorists were killing 45,000 people every year in this country? Well, the current health care system, the insurance companies, and those who support them are doing just that....Remind me again, who are the terrorists?”
This year, as ObamaCare began to unravel, the media cheerleaders were still out in force. (Winners and videos after the jump.)
At least for Thursday, the network morning shows admitted that ObamaCare is an "embarrassing," "botched" failure that has landed with a "resounding thud." ABC, NBC and CBS offered blunt, stark descriptions of the health care law's low enrollment rates and the disastrous implementation. Good Morning America reporter Jim Avila explained, "The President's signature achievement, health care for everyone, officially got off to a resounding thud." He added that Republicans are "seizing on the botched rollout."
Over on NBC's Today, Savannah Guthrie unloaded on the President: "A new poll that has the President's approval rating hitting an all-time low as the administration is forced to acknowledge health care enrollment numbers that are embarrassingly low." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Correspondent Peter Alexander marveled, "For a better sense of just how few Americans signed up for ObamaCare in the first month – 106,000 total – consider that's barely enough to fill a large football stadium and only one-fifth of what government officials had projected."
ABC and NBC journalists on Wednesday and Thursday hailed Kathleen Sebelius as "falling on her sword" and "taking responsibility" for the ObamaCare website debacle. On World News, reporter Jim Avila complained about the Sebelius grilling as a "rude grandstand" and a "three hour circus of a congressional hearing." He dismissed it as "official finger pointing day on Capitol Hill."
Yet, on Thursday, Avila sympathized with the Democratic Health and Human Services secretary, praising, "...The woman in charge of the Affordable Care Act fell on her sword with her first full-throated apology." The Obama official "was reluctant to pass the buck, even when pressed." Over on NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer gushed, "Kathleen Sebelius went before Congress yesterday and she did something you don't see happen in Washington very often, she took the blame." [Video of both morning shows below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalists at Good Morning America on Wednesday conceded that Barack Obama may have "misled the public" on the health care law, that "some call it a lie." But at the same time, reporter Jim Avila helpfully told viewers that Americans would be only be losing "cheap, underperforming insurance." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Anchor George Stephanopoulos introduced the story on Kathleen Sebelius's testimony before Congress as the "latest firestorm over ObamaCare."
The co-host revealed, "All this is happening as we learn of a new report from inside the administration that warned these website problems were coming." Avila related that the Health and Human Services Secretary will blame the disastrous launch of "contractors who built the site" and take "none of the" responsibility. The journalist explained, "A document posted overnight by a congressional committee shows that the main contractor did warn the government more testing was needed before launch."
Jumping in to excuse President Obama for making the false promise (“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”), ABC News on Tuesday night rationalized how ObamaCare is simply saving people in the individual market from being victims of awful policies forced upon them by insurance companies.
On World News, Jim Avila cited the case of Julie Prince, who has been notified her policy will be canceled. Avila turned to an ObamaCare advocate and asked: “Julie tells us that she doesn’t have hospital care on this cheap insurance plan. Is that dangerous?” Lynn Quincy of Consumers Union agreed: “Absolutely. That’s on enormous hole in her coverage.”
The new Fusion Network debuted on Monday with an exclusive Barack Obama interview. Journalist Jim Avila offered mostly softball questions and avoided any mention of disastrous launch of the ObamaCare website. Avila pushed the President from the left on immigration, wondering, "...Why if you have been able to by presidential fiat say that dreamers will not be deported, why not their parents? Why not, why is it the splitting of families bothers them?"
Avila prefaced his question as coming from "some of the younger people Fusion listens to." (The query was in reference to Obama's 2012 decision to stop deporting illegal students eligible for the Dream Act.) On the issue of ObamaCare, the journalist vaguely wondered, "I guess the main question for Fusion-type listeners is, what's in it for the young people?"
All three networks on Thursday night and Friday morning highlighted the photographs of a gubernatorial candidate from Maryland at a teen party that featured underage teens and drinking. Yet, ABC failed to mention that Doug Gansler, the top tier candidate, is a Democrat.
ABC featured the most aggressive coverage. Reporter Jim Avila confronted the "would-be governor." While showing a photo that "Maryland's top cop...would love to forget," the journalist narrated, "The attorney general, right in the middle of teenage partiers, celebrating their high school graduation." At no time did the report, which aired on World News and Good Morning America, refer to Gansler as a Democrat. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday rightly highlighted the "outrage" over the delay of death benefits to the families of fallen U.S. soldiers. A day later, the program's hosts barely had time for the story, allowing a mere 28 seconds (within a larger report). Reporter Jon Karl briefly referred to the "disaster on military benefits," but he didn't explain that a private charity had stepped in to solve the problem.
On Wednesday, a graphic for a Jim Avila full report insisted that "outrage grows for America's heroes." The journalist featured a clip of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy trashing, "And now, because of a small group of Tea Party Republicans, we say we can't even take care of your family when you die in the service of the country." On Thursday, Karl lectured that "the only thing both parties seem to agree on" is that "it's inexcusable to deny help to family members of those who have given their lives serving the country." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] It's true that the House acted 425-0 to pay the death benefits, but Harry Reid's Democratic Senate has not acted. [UPDATE: 12:48pm ET The Senate has now moved on approving benefits. SECOND UPDATE: But the White House has rejected it.]
Nancy Cordes stood out on Wednesday's CBS Evening News for pointing out Senator Harry Reid's eyebrow-raising "why would I want to do that" answer to a question about approving funding for cancer research for children. Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, John Yang hyped how "200 patients a week...including about 30 children" had been turned away from "last-resort medical treatment" due to the government shutdown, without mentioning Reid's gaffe.
Jim Avila also ballyhooed the detrimental effects of the shutdown on World News, and used man-on-the-street interviews to hint that Tea Party Republicans were mainly to blame for the issue. But the ABC evening newscast also ignored the Senate majority leader's remark. Hours later, none of the Big Three's morning shows mentioned Senator Reid's misstep during their reporting about the shutdown. [MP3 audio from Cordes' Wednesday report available here; video below the jump]
Although most of the evening newscasts on Tuesday and morning shows on Wednesday ignored Barack Obama's plan for a "grand bargain," ABC's Good Morning America covered the latest budget move and wondered why Republicans would "reject a tax cut for corporations."
Reporter Jim Avila offered an incomplete description of the President's latest plan, citing personal animus on the part of the Republicans: "When would Republicans reject a tax cut for corporations? Answer, when it's proposed by this man, the President, who says he wants to break the capital logjam, by agreeing to lower taxes for businesses." Obama's proposal would lower the corporate income rate from 35 percent to 28 percent. Yet, as the Business Insider and the Wall Street Journal pointed out, it's not much of a deal.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Friday worried that "inhospitable" Republicans in the House would leave the Senate immigration bill as "half-made history." Reporters Dan Harris and Jim Avila offered little in the way of explanation as to why a GOP Congress member might possibly oppose such a bill.
Avila lectured, "...History has been half-made. Now, the big question, will the euphoric momentum in the Senate halls push the GOP-controlled House into passing a similar immigration reform bill?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Dan Harris lamented, "The issue is about to move to the inhospitable Republican-controlled House." Avila read through a litany of supposedly tough measures in the legislation, but didn't explain, for instance, that the Senate bill is riddled with pork.
Liberal media members love to demonize any politician who stands in the way of their notion of progress, and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has planted himself squarely in the path of the current immigration reform train. It was no surprise, then, that ABC News opted to berate him in an interview posted online to the network’s Power Players blog. [Read the post and watch the video here.]
Even the headline accompanying the blog entry -- “Sen. Jeff Sessions Almost Single-Handedly Trying to Derail ‘Gang of Eight’ Immigration Bill” -- was clearly intended to isolate and demonize Sessions. ABC senior national correspondent Jim Avila, who conducted the interview, put Sessions on the defensive right from his opening question (which was not really a question):
On Tuesday's World News and Wednesday's Good Morning Ameica, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Jim Avila ballyhooed far-left magazine Mother Jones's secretly-recorded audio recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy meeting with political advisers about potential opponent Ashley Judd. Stephanopoulos touted the "startling secret tape revealing how the Senate's top Republican was planning to go after...Judd if she ran against him."
Avila played up McConnell's apparent "cutthroat attack on a Hollywood opponent" and the Republican's "private and politically-embarrassing strategy session", all the while omitting left-of-center ideology of the publication that released the audio clip and minimizing the possible illegality of its recording.
New EPA regulations could increase the price of gas by nine cents or more when they take effect in the next four years, American Petroleum Institute (API) scientists say. However, ABC, CBS and NBC news programs gave little credence to those concerns, and hyped EPA’s claims of “significant health benefits” instead.
ABC was the worst of the three. Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila on the March 29 “World News” spoke of alleged benefits of the new environmental regulations which would further reduce sulfur emissions. Meanwhile, “World News” not only failed to give equal time to opponents of the regulations, they portrayed them as greedy.