Earlier today, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell accurately noted that the Big Three TV news networks are "as guilty in ... (the Benghazi) cover-up as is the administration." He did so based on the fact that "For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11."
Not that it mitigates the legitimacy of Mr. Bozell's outrage, but one can take some comfort in the fact that fewer people are tuning in to the three nightly news broadcasts than were doing so a year ago, and that their ratings in the 25-54 demographic in the past five weeks are down by almost 20 percent from the same five-week period during the 2008 presidential cycle. A table containing individual results from the past two weeks and the average results from the past five is after the jump (a previous NewsBusters post on the first three weeks is here).
During a 20-minute interview with President Obama aired on Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams devoted a total of 1 minute 36 seconds to the subject of the terrorist attack in Libya. At the same time, four segments of soft coverage of the President's re-election campaign received a combined total of 2 minutes 19 seconds.
The promotional fluff included the President stopping by a pizza shop in Iowa (1 min 3 sec), appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (30 sec), having singer Katy Perry perform at a rally in Las Vegas (31 sec), and him picking up some donuts at a Krispy Kreme in Tampa (15 sec).
Even after all the e-mails and information has come out over the past few weeks proving dissembling by President Obama himself and other administration officials on what they knew about the Benghazi attack and how their public pronouncements did not match reality, NBC’s Brian Williams, on Thursday’s Rock Center, treated President Obama as a victim of bad intelligence who is struggling to find the truth.
Incredible. The perfect definition of “in the tank.”
Williams spent a couple of days with Obama for campaign travelogue pieces which consumed the first 25 minutes of the prime time hour. In Colorado with Obama on Wednesday afternoon, Williams posed this obsequious question:
A night after NBC’s Brian Williams used a series of interview sessions with President Barack Obama to express bewilderment Obama is not running away with the presidential race, the anchor touted Colin Powell’s endorsement, pressed Obama from the left to go further in denouncing Republicans on abortion and cued up the President to decry the high level of campaign spending.
It was Williams’ “third interview with him in the past 24 hours” leading up to multiple segment on tonight’s (Thursday) Rock Center at 10 PM EDT/PDT, 9 PM CDT.
In an interview with President Obama on Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams lobbed this softball: "How is it that with – what, 13 days to go, you're fighting for your life in a 47/47 race?... So after the excitement of '08, given the power of incumbency, you got Bin Laden, you did not expect to be sitting on a more substantial race than we are as we sit here today?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Obama argued he was exceeding media expectations: "...we always knew this was gonna be a close race from the start....you guys have some short memories. Folks in your business were writing me off a year ago, saying there's no way I would win."
In a continued effort to tag Mitt Romney with a flip-flopper label, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that Romney's performance in the final presidential debate "seemed to be a move to the center" on foreign policy issues and asserted that the Governor was "taking positions he has not taken before."
In the report that followed, correspondent Andrea Mitchell declared: "Mitt Romney's switch to a more moderate foreign policy last night was clearly aimed at independent women voters.... Clearly having decided that undecided voters, those swing voters, are more likely to choose a moderate Republican than a hawk."
Barack Obama continues to avoid press conferences in favor of protective liberal softball venues. He's appearing on NBC with Jay Leno and with Brian Williams. (Quiz: which interviewer will be softer? It's anybody's guess.)
On Friday, Obama's doing another razzle-dazzle appearance on MTV with black veejay Sway Calloway. They're calling it “Ask Obama Live: An MTV Interview With the President” at 5 pm Friday from the White House. MTV’s Andrew Jenks will be posted at a Washington college with students who have questions. The Washington Post says the network will focus on "jobs, the cost of college, rising student-loan debt, such social issues as LGBTQ rights and immigration."
Shortly following the conclusion of the final presidential debate Monday night, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams posed this question to Richard Haas of the Council on Foreign Relations: "I noticed a columnist for the New York Times tonight tweeted out that this was an etch-a-sketch moment for Governor Romney....Did you see that kind of movement on his part?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams reminded viewers of the origin of the phrase: "It was obviously a knock of the campaign story that came up about changing policy, moving toward the center with an ease of erasing an etch-a-sketch." Haas avoided any validation of the liberal talking point: "I'm almost more comfortable, Brian, leaving the politics to others, about, you know, what Governor Romney was trying to do tonight."
Moments after the final presidential debate ended NBC's Brian Williams, on Monday, declared that Barack Obama came up with the line of the night. During NBC’s live post debate coverage the NBC Nightly News anchor told viewers: "We always try to look for the phrase or expression that will live forever out of these. Tonight has to be 'horses and bayonets.'"
Williams went on to call Obama’s snide comment "a very sharp comeback" to Mitt Romney. (video after the jump)
The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) gave the faux furor over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” statement in Tuesday’s debate a whopping 22 mentions through Friday morning. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden, on Thursday, told an audience member that Republican “young guns” like Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had “bullets” aimed at him the networks delivered just a scant two total mentions (on NBC and CBS, ABC skipped the gaffe entirely.)
On the morning after the debate ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, on Good Morning America, singled out the “binders” comment: “You remember the Big Bird line that dominated the conversations online and around the water cooler, in essence, after the first debate? Last night, it was another Romney comment, ‘binders full of women’ that caused the heat to turn on.”
At the end of Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams touted an "unexpected moment" with the widow of Robert F. Kennedy when he asked "what she remembered about Fidel Castro, who, it turns out, she's met several times." Kennedy fondly remembered: "He was very warm, very emotional. He clearly would have liked to have been friends with President Kennedy and with Bobby."
Williams lamented the friendship that never was: "It certainly didn't work out that way. And of the three men, only Castro survives."
On Friday afternoon, Joe Biden lived up to his reputation for committing gaffes, not even a day after Paul Ryan zinged the Vice President over how "sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way" during Thursday's debate. At a rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden claimed Planned Parenthood "under law cannot perform any abortions." In reality, the organization is the largest abortion racket in the country.
Hours later, none of the Big Three's Friday evening newscasts had covered Biden's patently false claim. But just two days earlier, these programs devoted a combined five minutes and 1 second on Wednesday to Mitt Romney's statement to The Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regard to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." NBC's Brian Williams mouthed the Obama campaign's spin - that "what Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams recited Obama campaign talking points as he proclaimed: "What Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
Moments later, Williams attempted to frame Romney's innocuous comments on the subject to the Des Moines Register as a misstep: "Mitt Romney is trying to take advantage of a bounce coming off the last debate, but it was something he said on the subject of abortion that is getting a lot of the attention today and tonight. It's where we begin tonight..."
Liberals, Peggy Noonan noted on Sunday’s This Week roundtable, want Mitt Romney “to be more specific so that you can rouse people against” budget cuts to any program. Indeed, earlier in the program, host George Stephanopoulos cited Romney’s wish to end the federal subsidy for PBS, pointing out how PBS “only takes about 1/100th of one percent of budget” and asking if “it a mistake to target” Big Bird?
On Friday night, NBC’s Brian Williams provided a full brief in defense of PBS’s subsidy, misleadingly suggesting the end of the federal subsidy would mean the end to children’s television programming and forwarding its small share of the federal budget as a justification for it, but if you can’t eliminate the small stuff how will you ever take on the big stuff?
On NBC News’ live Wednesday night debate coverage a clearly upset David Gregory was shocked that Barack Obama didn’t hit Mitt Romney with the liberal media’s favorite talking point, as he whined: “He didn’t bring up the 47 percent!” Obama not mentioning the hidden camera video of Romney talking about the 47 percent also stunned NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams who asked Savannah Guthrie: “Were you surprised we didn’t hear the number 47?”
Obama’s debate performance threw the NBC News crew for a loop as even the normally liberal team admitted Romney scored a stylistic victory, as he appeared more “energetic, aggressive” and “crisp” than the incumbent Obama. (video after the jump)
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams framed President Obama's address to the United Nations as him getting tough on Iranian nuclear ambitions: "Drawing the line. The President today with a strong new warning to Iran, plus what he had to say about the recent violence against Americans."
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd touted that Obama "appeared to draw a real line in the sand on Iran's effort to build nuclear weapons." Todd then sneered that "the President's strong words weren't enough to satisfy Mitt Romney."
“Game changer,” said NBC’s Brian Williams. “Seismic,” proclaimed ABC’s Diane Sawyer. “Shaken up the race,” announced CBS’s Scott Pelley. Those were the reactions of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) evening news anchors to the hidden camera tape of Mitt Romney expressing a basic breakdown of voters who weren’t likely to vote for him. What was a simple analysis by Romney of 47 percent of the electorate was turned into a “political earthquake” that threatened to sink the GOP nominee’s chances.
Over three full days of coverage, on the Big Three evening and morning shows, liberal anchors and reporters devoted almost an hour and a half (1 hour, 28 minutes, 23 seconds) to the Romney tape that made up all or a portion of 42 total stories. In contrast, when tape emerged of Barack Obama stating he was in favor of “redistribution” of wealth, reporters barely broached the story, spending only six minutes, 28 seconds over eight stories.
Since September 2, NewsBusters has been showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala next week.
Click here for blog posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2004. Today, the worst bias of 2005: NBC’s Brian Williams equates America’s Founding Fathers with the zealots running Iran; ex-New York Times editor Howell Raines goes on a post-Katrina rant about the human carnage caused by the Bush administration’s “churchgoing populism,” and Ted Turner tries to defend North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il . [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Once again serving as the broadcast arm of MSNBC, Monday’s NBC Nightly News devoted a full segment to the supposed outrage over what Mitt Romney said in a surreptitiously-recorded video promoted by the left wing Mother Jones magazine, remarks which Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow put at the top of their MSNBC shows. And CNN soon joined in the hysteria with Anderson Cooper 360 treating it as “Breaking News.”
Of course, Romney had simply provided an obvious assessment of the state of the electorate where many have an “entitlement” mentality and nearly half avoid the income tax.
Barely able to contain his glee over the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams enthused to political director Chuck Todd: "...some of these numbers are ahead of the wildest dreams of the Democratic campaigners." Todd agreed: "They are." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd touted leads for President Obama in the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, and eagerly noted: "...the right track, wrong track numbers, for the first time since we've been testing in these state polls, the right track is over 40%." Todd then cited partisan talking points to explain the modest improvement: "Some Democrats have been telling me, that's the Clinton bump, referring to Bill Clinton's speech [at the Democratic National Convention]."
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) Wednesday evening newscasts devoted more than 9 minutes (9 minutes, 28 seconds) to the flap over Mitt Romney's statement criticizing the administration's handling of the Libyan crisis but spent just 25 seconds on questions regarding Barack Obama's Middle-East policy, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity.
NBC's Brian Williams opened the Nightly News telling viewers: "Romney is taking fire tonight for the way he went on the attack politically...somehow [Romney] wanted today to be about America apologizing for its values, even after it became clear today was about the death of an American ambassador and others." CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley dutifully noted: "Democrats said the governor had injected politics into a tragedy." Over on ABC's World News Diane Sawyer announced: "Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney under fire for comments he made about the upheaval as it was unfolding." (video after the jump)
Brian Williams, on NBC’s Thursday night coverage of the DNC, unleashed the biggest howler of the night when he told White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett: “You, I guess have to play mistake-free ball now for 60 days, hope for nothing but positive coverage. That's a tall order.”
Delivering positive coverage for Obama was certainly not a "tall order" for Williams and his fellow NBC News colleagues, as they spent most of the night praising Team Obama and dumping on Mitt Romney. (Video after the jump)
Last week in Tampa, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, both hit Ann Romney with a pointed political contention from the left, but tonight (Thursday) in Charlotte, neither challenged Michelle Obama with any political argument forwarded by conservatives.
Williams posed a long-winded question about the Obama daughters and cued up the First Lady to assess a New York Times reporter’s take that President Obama is “‘a proud yet humbled President, a confident yet scarred President, a dreamer mugged by reality.’ Does that resemble the man you know?”
On NBC’s Tuesday night coverage of the Democratic National Convention Chuck Todd claimed the crowd at the Republican National Convention could not compete with the “passion” seen “throughout the evening” at the DNC. When asked, by Brian Williams, to compare their respective excitement levels, Todd dissed the GOP attendees: “You saw it only in the last hour...It was almost as if they waited for the television cameras to come on.”
The following exchange was aired on NBC’s September 4 live coverage of the Democratic National Convention, right after San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered his Keynote speech: (video after the jump)
Andrea Mitchell gushed over Michelle Obama on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, labeling her a "political superstar" and "her husband's best campaigner, hardly needing to practice with the Teleprompters or get a feel for the stage." Mitchell went out of her way to point out how Mrs. Obama apparently is "all about hugs, connecting to people with a physical embrace." [audio available here; video below the jump]
The correspondent also emphasized the First Lady's supposed celebrity status by noting how she has "become a regular on late night," and playing clips from interviews she gave to Ryan Seacrest, David Letterman, and to E! News.
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams touted the stimulus spending that went to renovating the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC: "Tourists in Washington this holiday weekend will find water in the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool for the first time in two years. It was actually stimulus funding that paid for the major renovation project - $34 million worth."
Scott Pelley also gave a brief on the pool's renovation on Friday's CBS Evening News, but chose not to play up the stimulus detail, only noting that "the pool was closed, so that workers could fix leaks and stop it from sinking."
New York Times "TV Watch" columnist Alessandra Stanley focused Friday on MSNBC's embarrassingly partisan coverage of the Republican National Convention and tried to contrast it with the struggle of NBC's more objective reporters to remain above the fray: "MSNBC, Arch Counterprogramming to Fox." The online head was more interesting: "How MSNBC Became Fox’s Liberal Evil Twin." Stanley even accused MSNBC host Chris Matthews of "thuggish" behavior in an interview with a female Republican governor.
But do NBC reporters Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd (or anchor Brian Williams) really "keep their opinions to themselves" as Stanley claims? Hardly. In fact, they fit in quite well with the liberal partisans at MSNBC.
Just moments after Mitt Romney finished his acceptance speech, NBC’s Tom Brokaw and Chuck Todd painted the GOP nominee as a backwards-looking candidate who was going back to the GOP’s “extreme” and less “inclusive” past.
On NBC’s live coverage of Thursday’s Republican National Convention, Brokaw recalled covering Romney’s father and observed that while George Romney “fought” to make the GOP “more moderate,” “less extreme” and “more inclusive” his son was becoming “much more conservative.” For his part, Todd thought Romney’s speech was full of “optimistic nostalgia” and “return to” phrases that reminded him of failed ‘96 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole’s acceptance speech that looked “backwards.” Todd added: “I think the Obama folks are gonna be responsive to that.”(video after the jump)
NBC News demonstrated again Thursday night it has become little more than the more-watched broadcast arm of MSNBC, advancing the same left-wing attacks on conservatives as first trotted out on the cable side. While ABC and CBS managed to refrain from airing entire stories and interviews aimed to discredit Paul Ryan, NBC did not.
In packaging Obama campaign talking points, however, Chuck Todd had to concede the accuracy of what Ryan asserted in his Wednesday night convention address, humorously leading Todd to conclude that “what he said many times was technically factual” but, “by what he left out,” he “actually distorted the actual truth.”