CBS This Morning correspondent Bill Plante on Tuesday hyped a new report about Barack Obama's "telephone diplomacy" as an example of just how the President is focused on the multiple foreign policy crises exploding around the world. Charlie Rose trumpeted, "President Obama is spending more time talking with foreign leaders than he has in years." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Promoting phone logs analyzed by USA Today, reporter Bill Plante touted, "President Obama made at least four calls in July to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, three to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu." The segment featured White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken who praised "the 50th call or video conference the President has had with European counterparts since the beginning of this crisis."
All three network morning shows on Tuesday noted how President Obama agreed to meet with Governor Rick Perry to discuss the illegal immigration crisis, all labeling the Texas Republican to be the "harshest" and "strongest" "big critic" of the commander-in-chief's mishandling of the chaos on the border. The only problem was that none of the broadcasts featured a single second of Perry actually voicing that criticism. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, White House correspondent Jon Karl summarized Perry's recent condemnation of Obama's lack of action on the issue: "Perry has been one of the harshest critics here. On This Week he said he doesn't believe the President really cares whether or not the border is secure." Co-host George Stephanopoulos chimed in: "Yeah, he suggested there might even be a conspiracy to have more kids come over."
The broadcast network morning newscasts came and went on Tuesday with NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America ignoring President Obama’s latest rant against Republicans. This was despite the fact that both broke their regular scheduling on Monday to cover remarks in full.
For it’s part, CBS This Morning devoted a full 2 minutes and 45 seconds to Obama’s rant against House Republicans for refusing to accept his parameters for immigration reform and bucking their own Speaker on his willingness to take up the matter. In his report, CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante cast Obama in a heroic light, heralding how he: [MP3 audio here; Video and quote below the jump]
The evening newscasts of all three broadcast networks tonight reported on the unanimous decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that President Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in making recess appointments when the U.S. Senate was technically in session. Rather than couching the ruling as a stunning rebuke of presidential overreach by Mr. Obama, however, coverage on CBS and NBC made it sound like an intrusion on presidential prerogative. ABC's Terry Moran described the ruling as the Court saying "no, no president has [the] power" to make recess appointments when the Senate declares itself to be in session (no matter how sparsely attended).
By contrast a search of Nexis transcripts reveals that on June 28, 2004, when the Supreme Court reached a 6-3 decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld -- a Fifth Amendment due process case regarding an American citizen captured in Afghanistan as an enemy combatant -- the network evening newscasts hailed the ruling as "a real blow to the Bush administration" (ABC's Charles Gibson), a ruling that "struck at the very core of the way President Bush has been conducting the war on terrorism" (ABC's Manuel Medrano), with "the justices... say[ing] the Bush administration cannot expect the courts to stay on the sidelines in the war on terror" (NBC's Pete Williams).
Thursday’s edition of CBS This Morning featured the latest installment in the media’s love affair with President Barack Obama. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante switched course from a constructive work of journalism he did Tuesday to a fluff piece on how Obama uses letters Americans send to the White House “to construct his political agenda.”
The story comes as Obama is going to Minnesota today where he’ll have lunch with a woman who wrote to him about how sending her two children to daycare costs more than her family’s mortgage payment. Plante marveled about how the woman’s letter “fit perfectly into the president's agenda to emphasize the difficulties facing working families.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
It turns out that Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that he’s not wealthy and does not own any stocks, bonds, or a savings account isn’t entirely true. Unfortunately, only one network did the work to debunk his statement from a speech at the White House Summit on Working Families yesterday.
CBS This Morning was the only broadcast network show on Monday evening or Tuesday morning that looked into Biden’s claims, which CBS News Senior White House correspondent Bill Plante found to be partially false. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
The Obama administration has given a fresh explanation to justify its secret deal with the Taliban to exchange five Guantanamo Bay detainees for Bowe Bergdahl: the radical Islamists who held the Army sergeant would execute him if the terms of the exchange were made public before the handover was carried out.
Yet among the Big Three network evening newscasts tonight covering developments in the prisoner-swap saga, only NBC's Nightly News hammered home the point that the Obama White House's story has significantly changed and that without a sufficient explanation from White House aides. What's more, only NBC's Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski pointed out that the administration did give a heads up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) prior to the deal going down -- which, logic dictates, unnecessarily risked a leak which could have endangered Sgt. Bergdahl's life [Listen to MP3 audio montage here; Video follows page break]:
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]
While Monday's NBC Today began its 7 a.m. ET hour coverage of the ObamaCare enrollment deadline by noting the healthcare.gov website had crashed yet again, it took an hour for ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning to notice the malfunction and mention it in their reporting. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Good Morning America's initial coverage was particularly stunning in that it touted how well the website was supposedly working. Co-host George Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "After all those early problems with the website, the White House now saying things are now back on track." White House correspondent Jon Karl declared: "That's right, George. They say they saw a huge increase of traffic to the website over the weekend....And so far, the website seems to be handling it without any major problems."
Bill Plante acted as a stenographer for the Obama administration on Thursday's CBS This Morning, as he spotlighted the "multi-tiered state and national effort to get young people enrolled" in ObamaCare before the end of March. Plante touted the "supportive celebrity Tweets and videos....and a tongue-in-cheek tool kit that teaches parents how to get on social media and 'nag' their children 'mercilessly.'"
The correspondent again noted Zach Galifianikis' mock interview of President Obama, which the Big Three networks spent 100 times more coverage on than the low enrollment the previous week. However, CBS This Morning at least mentioned how the administration fell millions short of its original seven million goal. ABC nor NBC have yet to mention the new enrollment figures on their morning and evening newscasts. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Longtime CBS reporter Bill Plante gave an interview to Steve Johnson at his hometown Chicago Tribune and discussed how we face a “state-run media” in recent years. It began under Bush, he suggested.
“He was neither as stupid or as disconnected as people thought, not at all. If he saw somebody leaking he didn't like it,” Plante said. “And this president doesn't like it any more than that.” He said it’s “just a lot harder” to get information now from squabbling camps inside the White House staff. So Plante made waves last year when he said Obama was undercutting the First Amendment and defining what the news was:
The journalists at CBS This Morning on Wednesday swooned over Barack Obama's fake interview with an actor/internet chat show host. Offering almost no criticism of the viral video designed to boost ObamaCare enrollment, co-anchor Gayle King lauded, "Humor works. Bravo to Zach [Galifanakis] and bravo to the President!" [See video below MP 3 audio here.]
In a follow-up interview with senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, King enthused over the Funny or Die video: "It's certainly gone viral, which I would think you guys are doing the hula over there." Jarrett assured her that "we are." The Democratic strategist then shifted into full-commercial mode and told the hosts: "Everyone who is watching your show, go on the website today. HealthCare.gov. It's working just fine."
Viewers of ABC's morning and evening newscasts on Friday would have been left unaware of President Obama's gaffe of elementary proportions during a White House concert on Thursday evening. Both Good Morning America and World News omitted how the Democrat left out the first "E" in the title of Aretha Franklin's most famous song: "When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her."
By contrast, the network's competitors at CBS and NBC covered the President's trip-up on their morning shows and evening news broadcasts. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams even mentioned a infamous spelling flub by a former Republican vice president: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Acting like the White House press office, Tuesday's CBS This Morning devoted a 3-minute report to President Obama's habit of binge watching his favorite TV shows, with correspondent Bill Plante gushing: "He may be the leader of the free world, but when it comes to unwinding, President Obama – well, he's a lot like us....The President tunes in to tune out. And when he needs his television, step aside." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Plante described how Obama asked HBO CEO Richard Plepler for early copies of certain shows during the recent state dinner for the president of France. Plante added: "Then later in the week, this appeared on the President's Twitter account. 'Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please.' A reference to one of his favorite shows."
On Tuesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts all hyped the White House's announcement that President Obama's would meet with Pope Francis in March, and emphasized their apparent agreement on economic issues. On CBS This Morning, Bill Plante touted the "chance for him [Obama] to align himself with the agenda of the very popular new pope, at a time when the President's own popularity here at home is at a low point."
ABC's Robin Roberts even asserted on Good Morning America that the two world leaders are "very similar." However, none of these morning shows reported that just a week earlier, the Pope's secretary of state "expressed [his] concern...for the healthcare reforms in relation to the guarantee of religious freedom and conscientious objection" during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. [MP3 audio available here; video clips below the jump]
ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted air time to the Obama administration's latest "fix for the botched health care rollout"on their Friday morning newscasts, but failed to include any conservative or Republican reaction to this development. Good Morning America minimized their coverage, airing just two news briefs on "the White House offering relief now for people who lost their health insurance because it didn't meet standards required by the...health care law."
Today and CBS This Morning both spotlighted the insurance industry's worries over this change, but didn't get around to the possible political fallout over the White House announcement. Guthrie only vaguely asserted how the "fix" might be "more ammunition for the critics of the law."
Now that the Nobel Peace Prize winner has been announced, it’s a good time to notice which Nobelist doesn’t tend to get mentioned any more. With all the talk of war in Syria, after leading from behind in Libya, and approving the takedown of Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama’s Peace Prize is almost never mentioned on TV.
Is that embarrassment for Obama? It can’t be disaste for Obama. It might be embarrassment for the Nobel bureaucrats for the attempt at pre-emptive accolades. But a survey of ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS newscasts since the 2012 election shows only one news report – from Chuck Todd in June – acknowledged Obama won the Peace Prize, and one wisecrack from PBS NewsHour analyst David Brooks on September 13:
During a Tuesday press conference at the White House, CBS's Bill Plante channeled his colleague Bob Schieffer's 2009 "open sore" pronouncement about Guantanamo Bay as he asked President Obama about an ongoing hunger strike among many of the detainees there. Plante hinted at sympathy for the prisoners as he wondered, "Is it any surprise, really, that they would prefer death rather than – have no end in sight to their confinement?"
The correspondent's leading question allowed the President to revisit the issue and call for the closure of the facility, just over three months after his administration closed the office tasked with shuttering the prison camp [audio available here; video below the jump]:
Does journalistic insistence on catapulting President Barack Obama into historic greatness and relevance know no bounds? CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley on Tuesday night insisted upon trumpeting Obama’s proposal, to spend $100 million to map the human brain, through the hagiographic maneuver of putting Obama into a trilogy with the triumphs of Thomas Jefferson and John Kennedy:
"Finally tonight, for Thomas Jefferson it was the Louisiana Territory; for John F. Kennedy, the moon. Well today, as Bill Plante reports, President Obama announced a mission to explore and map another frontier filled with mystery and possibility."
Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to zero in on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's false assertion about the sequester – that "there are, literally, teachers now who are getting pink slips; who are getting notices they can't come back this fall". Correspondent Bill Plante noted that "Duncan conceded he knew of only one county nationwide where there had been notices", and underlined that "those notices weren't sequester-related."
CBS News political director John Dickerson also highlighted that "the Washington Post caught...Duncan in an exaggeration about those effects." Actually, "exaggeration" is an understatement on the part of Dickerson, as the Post's Glenn Kessler ripped the Cabinet official over several statements he's made on the sequester issue:
Bill Plante, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent, made a rather shocking statement Sunday about the Obama administration's media strategy.
Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, Plante said that to the extent the White House is able to "put out their own material" without the Washington press corps, "they're undercutting the First Amendment...it's state-run media" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Wednesday's CBS This Morning played up the supposedly gargantuan cuts in government spending that would go into the effect if the sequester goes into effect on March 1. Charlie Rose trumpeted the "massive spending cuts" set to take effect, while Gayle King underlined that the "deep automatic spending cuts" were quickly approaching. But neither anchor pointed out that $85 billion in cuts come out of a $3.5 trillion federal budget.
Correspondent Bill Plante hyped the effect of the possible "massive layoffs" on the Washington, DC region. But he only included one soundbite from a Republican/conservative, while playing three clips from President Obama and second Democrat.
The irony must have been lost on Bill Plante when he reported on Monday's CBS This Morning that President Obama "did golf with Tiger [Woods], but we didn't see a picture of it. They [the Obama administration] don't like to show a picture of the President at leisure doing anything. They see this as propaganda for the Republicans."
However, exactly two weeks earlier, on February 4, 2013, Plante acted as an Obama administration stenographer as he pointed out a photo released by the White House of the President "at leisure" – specifically, firing a shotgun. He also spotlighted menu choices for the chief executive's Super Bowl festivities:
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:
The media agenda against guns is nothing new. But recent mass shootings have encouraged supposedly neutral journalists to push for gun regulation instead of reporting the facts surrounding the tragedies.
One thing the media seldom mention is that both the Newtown and Aurora shootings occurred in gun free zones. In the Clackamas Town Center Shooting in Oregon, however, a gunman was stopped when someone with a concealed carry permit intervened. There were only two casualties in this shooting which received little media attention. If this incident was mentioned, the concealed carry part of the story was almost completely ignored.
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:
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.
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted that the Obama campaign is "turning lemons into lemonade" as she reported that the Democratic operation is "arguing that Romney had a great performance at the debate, but only because he was untethered from the truth." Not once did the correspondent or colleagues Norah O'Donnell and Bill Plante critically examine the claims from the incumbent or his operatives.
O'Donnell even spotlighted how "we heard David Axelrod say that they're going to change some things. They're even suggesting that Mitt Romney is a liar for what he said in the debate."
Immediately following Bill Plante's declaration on Thursday that Barack Obama is "one of the greatest orators of his generation," CBS This Morning co-anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell conducted an interview with Caroline Kennedy. Instead of discussing her upcoming speech at the Democratic National Convention, they excessively flattered her family and party affiliation.
While reminiscing about the last presidential campaign season, O'Donnell spoke of the transference of "Kennedy magic" to Obama when he received an official endorsement from the former president's daughter and her more recently deceased uncle in 2008. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Bill Plante pointed out that "a new poll shows President Obama's support slipping in one key demographic that helped him win in 2008: white men." However, Pew Research Center's presidential exit poll from that year found that Obama actually lost 57 to 41 percent to Republican candidate John McCain.
Plante noted "concern in Mr. Obama's own party that his economic message in recent months is not connecting with voters," but led his report with a silver lining for the chief executive: "The President...has been claiming for months that he inherited the nation's economic problems, and in the new Gallup poll, more than two-thirds of Americans agree. They say that former President George Bush deserves either a moderate amount or a great deal of blame."