The extent of the media's influence to shape public opinion was on full display in a new Pew Research Center poll that shows, even though gun crime has dropped by half since its peak in the mid '90s, most Americans (56 percent) wrongly think gun violence has increased.
In anL.A. Timesarticle that highlighted the poll, Emily Alpert posited "It's unclear whether media coverage is driving the misconception that such violence is up. The mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., were among the news stories most closely watched by Americans last year, Pew found."
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly touted gun control supporters going after Republican New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte at a recent town hall meeting: "Pushing back. A tense moment as a U.S. senator gets an earful about her no vote on gun control." Williams hopefully added: "And with lawmakers home from Washington on a break, is this about to start happening more often?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While Williams promoted the incident as a genuine public uprising, emphasizing "9 of 10 Americans support expanded background checks," he failed to mention that President Obama's campaign machine, Organizing for Action, was motivating many of the anti-Ayotte protests. On FNC's Special Report on Wednesday, anchor Bret Baier reported: "OFA took to the streets of New Hampshire at the end of April for an impassioned protest against [Ayotte]...One sign spattered in what appears to be fake blood reads, quote, 'More shot in one day than marathoned.'"
On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News covered the Dr. Kermit Gosnell case for the very first time, a whopping 44 days after the opening of the trial, and only after the jury had finished its first full day of deliberations. Stephanie Gosk wasted little time before emphasizing that Gosnell's clinic was "one of the only places in this low-income neighborhood in Philadelphia where pregnant woman could afford to go for abortions" [audio available here; video below the jump].
Gosk's report was also the first time that Big Three aired a report on the trial on its evening newscasts, even as ABC and CBS's evening newscasts continued their blackout. Previously, the only time that a NBC journalist mentioned the murder case on-air was when Savannah Guthrie asked President Obama if he had been "watching the Gosnell trial....and do you think it animates a larger debate about abortion in this country" on the April17, 2013 edition of Today.
While NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd pressed President Obama during a Tuesday news conference on the possibility of ObamaCare being a "train wreck," the network coverage of the presser completely avoided any mention of the question, instead seizing on Obama being pressured from the left to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Anchor Brian Williams lead off Tuesday's Nightly News by declaring: "The hunger strike at Guantanamo that's now gotten so bad prisoners are being force fed, as the President faces tough questions." Introducing a report on the topic, Williams lectured: "We don't get to see them or know their names, and most Americans actually prefer not to spend a whole lot of time thinking about the men who've been rounded up as enemy combatants and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, during a round-up of news stories that were eclipsed by coverage of the Boston bombing, anchor Brian Williams highlighted the failure of gun control legislation, noting that it "broke through last week but otherwise would have dominated our coverage..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the brief item, Williams recalled how President Obama labeled the political defeat "a shameful day in Washington" and lamented: "Upwards of 90% of the American people support it, but not enough members of the U.S. Senate." Williams then declared: "The President showed a rare flash of anger. The Newtown families went home still grieving."
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly parroted Obama administration talking points when it came to blaming the sequester for sporadic flight delays: "The traffic jam starting to build up at our airports. Flight delays just beginning to emerge today as those budget cuts in Washington begin to hit home." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on the broadcast, Williams again declared the delays to be a sign of "the impact of Washington all across this country" and predicted: "Now the American people as a whole just might take further notice because now the sequester is responsible for delaying airline flights across this country."
Well that didn’t last long. In fact, it barely happened at all. After a month of ignoring the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist accused of murdering one woman and seven infants, it looked like the media had been shamed into covering the story.
Barely. Even after the most gruesome detail in a trial full of them came out – a baby who survived an abortion “swimming” in a toilet and “trying to get out” – the silence resumed. In fact, the only major news outlet that bothered to report on that testimony was The Chicago Tribune. CNN.com mentioned it, it got no air time. Video after the break
After the media spent the week praying the Boston Marathon bombers wouldn't have ties to radical Islam, it's now going to be interesting to see how they report the religious beliefs of the Tsarnaev brothers.
Failing miserably Friday was NBC's Nightly News which despite airing a 90 minute special broadcast on the ensuing manhunt in Watertown, Massachusetts, according to an examination of the closed-caption transcript didn't once mention the Tsarnaev's Muslim connection.
Weeks after White House hype over the budget sequester fizzled as the policy went into effect, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams signaled a new media push to scare viewers about the modest reductions in government spending: "On the subject of air travel, sooner or later the so-called sequester in Washington is going to affect all Americans." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following gun background check legislation being voted down in the Senate on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams led off NBC Nightly News that evening by proclaiming: "There are cries of 'shame' from victims of gun violence watching from the Senate gallery and the President reacts with anger." Williams later touted how Obama "called it 'a pretty shameful day for Washington'" when ranting about the loss from the Rose Garden that afternoon. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell portrayed opponents of gun restrictions as unsympathetic to shooting victims: "...many of those Newtown families watched senators they had personally met with vote down expanded background checks....Patricia Maisch, [a] Tucson shooting survivor who shouted at senators, 'Shame on you!'" A sound bite was included of Maisch condemning senators who voted against the bill: "They have no souls. They have no compassion."
In the days leading up to Margaret Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday, the three networks repeatedly hyped hateful, ugly attacks on the former Prime Minister of Britain, describing her as a "polarizing," "divisive" figure. On Rock Center, his low-rated Friday night show, Brian Williams explained that it was "sad, but necessary to report" that, while Americans may like Thatcher, "It's been a harsh couple of days ...Tonight, the number one song on iTunes in Great Britain is the Wizard of Oz classic [Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead], in this case celebrating the death of the Iron Lady."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Sunday's Today, Lester Holt began by insisting, "Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is proving to be as polarizing in death as she was in life." He, too, highlighted angry liberals in Britain gleefully playing the mocking song. Leftist journalist Martin Bashir appeared on the program to bemoan the "controversial" Thatcher. He touted, "An online campaign has pushed the song Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead up towards the top of the British music charts."
Sometimes liberal bias goes so far it actually becomes absurd, like Roseanne Barr saying that she would bring back the guillotine in order to behead any rich people who wanted to keep more than $100 million of their own money. She set the bar (or the guillotine) higher than her $80 million net worth. But it wasn’t just extreme left-wing celebs like Roseanne and Michael Moore, news anchors and hosts have spewed anti-business, anti-wealth, or anti-capitalism nonsense too.
The Business and Media Institute hunted down some of the most outrageous anti-business, anti-wealth, or anti-capitalism comments by news and entertainment media people in the past year and came up with this list of eight individuals. After all, it is April Fools Day.
In an interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his two brothers, Hollywood agent Ari and bioethicist Zeke, on Friday's NBC Rock Center, anchor Brian Williams sounded like an adoring fan as he described the prominent family: "Theirs is, after all, a unique American story....It was an unusual family, intellectually rigorous, boisterous, physical, hyper-successful, they may be America's Jewish Kennedys. Their mother marched on Washington and took them to hear Dr. King speak in Chicago." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie billed the upcoming segment as "an American success story times three." Williams kept that theme going as he proclaimed: "We're pretty sure they are the most prominent three brothers from any one family in public life in America today....In most families, you hear parents talk about the kid who grew up to be the successful one, or the smart one, or the famous one. But in this family, that's all of them."
Previewing a fawning Brian Williams interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his brothers, Ari and Zeke, set to air on Friday's NBC Rock Center, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed the siblings to be "an American success story times three." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the clip that followed, Williams enthused: "The Emanuel brothers, three super achievers, raised under the same roof. The big city mayor, the Hollywood super agent, and the medical bioethicist. And if you're going to sit down with all three brothers at once, be ready, bring your best game, because it's not for the faint of heart."
After President Obama scolded NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd as "incorrigible" for asking too many tough questions during a Wednesday press conference, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams mocked Todd's grilling and agreed with the President: "He is incorrigible, come to think of it. Our own Chuck Todd called out today in Jerusalem, and guilty as charged, truth be told." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing a clip of Obama lecturing Todd, which completely edited out any of the challenging questions, Williams explained: "Both leaders had opening statements, the actual press conference part was limited to two questions from Israeli journalists and two questions from the visiting Americans. So when our own friend Chuck Todd asked a multi-part question, he got called out for it."
In a recent interview with Salon, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell candidly revealed just how much he dislikes his current job as the host of MSNBC's prime-time commentary show The Last Word. In fact, the former actor who just so happens to have a cameo in the new movie Olympus Has Fallen as a news anchor admitted that he still has no idea what he's doing.
O'Donnell had recurring roles in the past on TV dramas like HBO's Big Love, USA's Monk, and NBC's The West Wing, writing and producing the latter as well. When comparing the two experiences, he said working for a cable news network is "tragic" for him. And the very thought of doing his show with an unrehearsed first draft every night is just "horrendous" and "offends (his) artistic sensibilities in some ways," he explained.
Just how superficial is ABC? On Monday and Tuesday, the network allowed a mere 20 seconds to "outrage" over a plan by the European Union that would have seized ten percent of the money Cyprus residents had in their bank accounts. ABC's World News skipped the story entirely, as did Monday's Nightline. Good Morning America on Tuesday offered 20 seconds. In contrast, the program devoted over five minutes to important topics, such as the newest season of Dancing With the Stars.
NBC and CBS both showcased more coverage. On Monday, Nightly News's Brian Williams featured the story in a full report. Describing the potential default of Cyprus as a "banking crisis," he explained, "European leaders decided to take a chunk of that bailout money directly out of the bank accounts of everyone in the country." Displaying interest not seen on ABC, Williams added, "It was a shocking move heard around the globe today and the fear on the Mediterranean island rippled through world financial markets today."
The Obama administration in 2009 dropped the Bush administration’s plan to add missile interceptor capability against North Korea, yet on Friday, when Obama’s Pentagon realized their error and scrambled to announce a reversal to implement the Bush plan, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to mention Obama’s dereliction. (Below: Krauthmmer zinged “Democratic resistance” to missile defense. “Reagan was right.”)
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, on the eve of the Wednesday election of Pope Francis, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed to viewers: "...this is a decidedly bad time for the Catholic Church. There are hopes among many that the new pope will signify a new direction." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Lester Holt hyped the divide between the Vatican and some liberal American Catholics: "It's roughly 4,000 miles between Vatican City and the nearest shores of the U.S., but for American Catholics who often find themselves out of step with the Church here, it can seem a lot farther....Abortion, the role of women, and attitudes about homosexuality have been at the heart of much of the disconnect between American Catholics and the Church."
Introducing a report on Monday's NBC Nightly News about a New York City ban on large sugary drinks being overturned by a New York State Supreme Court judge, anchor Brian Williams touted how Mayor Michael Bloomberg "is saying this isn't over yet."
In the report that followed, correspondent Rehema Ellis proclaimed: "In a city of more than 8 million, where health officials say the obesity epidemic is responsible for more than 5,000 deaths a year, the Mayor says his fight to make New Yorkers healthier will continue."
Two food bloggers have launched an attack against Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, referring to an outdated study, and ABC and NBC have been quick to rush to their aid.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Nightly News” both ran stories promoting the crusade. The bloggers claim Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 food dyes used in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese can lead to hyperactivity and other health problems in children. They are petitioning Kraft to stop using the dyes in their products.
Both dyes have been approved by the FDA, though they have been banned in the small nations of Norway and Austria.
"I think that for democracy to survive and thrive, I think we need a vigilant media. You know, we now have a lap dog, thrill up our leg, a**-kissing, suck-up, lapdog media. How do we have a thriving democracy when people can't get accurate, fair information? That seems to be hard to me."
So marvelously said Fox News's Sean Hannity on his program Tuesday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing on left-wing actor Alec Baldwin's weekly WNYC talk radio show, Here's The Thing, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams laughably asserted that his reporting was void of any political bias: "My work has been so cleansed, as I see it, and as I've tried, of political opinions over 27 years....I can try to call it down the middle, and try to be fair about it, and do a 'just the facts'..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Throughout the interview, Baldwin gushed over how supposedly objective Williams was: "Although loud personalities with extreme views gobble up more air time, television news is an industry that still rewards unbiased, thoughtful, and direct reporting....many people in your business, you can feel little belches and little fissures of their opinions coming through, or a sense of that, and with you, there's none....I think that's what makes your program so successful. That's why I watch you."
“Deadline day. Hours, now, until massive government cuts go into effect that could impact every American. Jobs vaporizing. Flights delayed. Even criminals walking free.” That’s the call to panic with which ABC’s Josh Elliot greeted viewers on the March 1 Good Morning America. Elliot’s frenzied tone, on the day sequestration was going into effect, was typical of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network coverage of Washington’s most recent fiscal debate.
MRC analysts reviewed all of the 88 sequestration stories, from when coverage began on February 14 through March 1 when the “cuts” took effect, and found 58 (66 percent) of them advanced the most horrific Obama administration talking points. Another 10 offered the same scary forecasts but at least included the skeptical view that the sequestration reductions weren’t that big and their effects were being overhyped. (Videos after the jump)
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams made this hyperbolic declaration: "A moment of crisis for the Catholic Church hit by a wave of scandals, just as the leaders must gather to select a new pope." Introducing the lead story moments later, Williams further hyped: "The problem for the Catholic Church is the drumbeat of scandal is now growing so loud and so vast, it's taking a lot of attention from this process." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Anne Thompson ominously declared: "... the world is seeing the darker side of the Church, the in-fighting and scandals....It's all revealing the sometimes nasty politics behind the pageantry."
Sadly, MSNBC cannot follow sister network NBC’s lead in reporting the story of disgraced Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill) and his impending prison sentence for illegally using campaign funds for personal usage.
On the February 20 edition of NBC Nightly News as well as on the February 21 edition of Today, both shows correctly identify Jesse Jackson Jr. as a Democrat, but their MSNBC morning show Morning Joe skipped the important detail. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
What does it take for the networks to focus on a Joe Biden gaffe? Apparently, it's enough to suggest that a shotgun is ideal for home defense. On Tuesday's Nightly News and the morning shows on Wednesday, journalists, who often overlook the Vice President's verbal miscues, highlighted his comments about shotguns.
In an online chat with Parents magazine, Biden suggested, "If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun." He went on to say that he owns two such weapons and has instructed his wife to use them if needed. This led Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to joke, "VicePresident Joe Biden is out with another one of those sound bites that could live on for a long time." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] On Wednesday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos described Biden as "unplugged." He warned, "Biden and those [Parents] magazine readers got a little more than they had bargained for."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that Florida Senator Marco Rubio taking a sip of water during his response to the State of the Union was "the televised moment from last night that just might live on forever." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams expounded: "Well, it's one of the cruelest aspects of politics in the television age. No matter how well-crafted the content, no matter how thoughtful a person you are, it's the television moments, the superficial, purely visual moments that are often remembered forever instead. And that will certainly be the case with Florida Senator Marco Rubio's GOP response last night."