The way the news media fawned over the Democratic 111th Congress -- which passed the wildly unpopular ObamaCare -- while smearing the Republican House in the 112th is like a bad Saturday Night Live skit, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Sean Hannity on the January 3 edition of his eponymous Fox News Channel program.
"Look, what they're saying is, when the Democrats were in charge with the 111th Congress they did all these things moving the agenda to the left, and, oh happy days, look at all the wonderful left-wing things they did," Bozell noted, but then, "The112th Congress comes around and Republicans try to put a stop to the madness and it's called tyrannical." [Watch the full "Media Mash" segment in the embed below the page break]
Over 13 months ago, the NBC, CBS and ABC newscasts touted Barack Obama as a tough talker who wouldn't back down on threatened spending cuts. Now, that he's backed down, the same networks have ignored the President's retreat. On November 21, 2011, Obama thundered, "My message to [Congress] is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This allowed the then-presidential candidate to portray himself as a budget hawk taking a hard line on sequestration. Nightly News anchor Brian Williams introduced Obama's comments by describing the country as a "nation of addicts, spending addicts kicking the can down the road." According to Williams, the President "pushed back hard." Williams and other journalist didn't question the seriousness of Obama's pledge. On Wednesday, the President signed a deal to avert the fiscal cliff and kept those cuts from going into place.
As 2012 winds down, we're reliving some of the worst media bias of the year with our Best Notable Quotables of 2012. Yesterday, I recounted some of the nastiest barbs journalists threw at the GOP ticket; today, a look at some of the most egregious favors committed on behalf of Barack Obama's campaign.
While conservatives like Rick Santorum were often cast as radical or weird, journalists lovingly fawned over President Obama as if he was still the rock star of Campaign 2008. Sherri Shepherd, co-host of ABC's The View, won our "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award," for obsequious Obama interviews, after a September 25 encounter in which Shepherd seemed intent on casting the President as the Romancer-in-Chief.
During a segment on Monday's NBC Nightly News supposedly devoted to tackling the issue of mental health in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, NBC chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman instead used the opportunity to tout more anti-gun rhetoric: "One person who we spoke with....and I'm going to quote him, he says, 'It's easier to get an assault rifle today in the United States than it is to get adequate mental health care, and that's wrong.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snyderman followed the provocative statement by declaring: "And I think, speaking on behalf of parents like you and me and American citizens, you cannot disagree with that statement, Brian." Anchor Brian Williams replied: "That's a heck of a powerful quote."
Yes, the newscasts were dominated by the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, yet the NBC Nightly News managed to squeeze in 24 seconds to note Scott’s historic appointment.
[UPDATE, 3:10 PM EDT Dec 18: On Tuesday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America spiked the news of Scott’s appointment, yet had time for far more frivolous matters, while CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today squeezed in very short items, though Today’s didn’t air until the third hour of the program.]
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams was eager to seize on any perceived momentum for greater gun control in the wake of Friday's school shooting: "The President said he would use the power of his office to prevent more gun tragedies, and tonight he is being joined by a growing number of prominent voices."
In the report that followed, correspondent Tom Costello listed some of those voices. While pro-gun Democratic senators like Joe Manchin and Mark Warner were noteworthy, Costello attempted to pad the list with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime anti-gun activist. To create the appearance of bipartisanship, Costello even threw in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who he pointed out was a "former Republican Congressman." On Thursday's Today, he went so far as to label Scarborough an "influential Republican."
In an exclusive interview on Thursday's NBC Rock Center with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice following her withdrawal of her name to be secretary of state, host Brian Williams worked to portray her as a victim of unwarranted political attacks: "She's been under withering attack for weeks....Were you set up? Were you a victim of circumstance? Bad data? Bad information?...Are you blameless in all this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to her Sunday show statements on the Benghazi attack, Rice responded: "I'm not a victim. I wasn't set up....I don't think anybody is ever wholly blameless, but I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't mislead. I didn't misrepresent. I did the best with the information the United States government had at the time."
Reporting on the Supreme Court taking up the issue of gay marriage for the first time, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, justice correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The fact that the Court has agreed to take up both cases could mean that the Justices are prepared to get to the heart of the same-sex marriage issue, and that could result in what would essentially be the Roe v. Wade of gay rights." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the broadcast, anchor Brian Williams billed the upcoming report as "big news...that could change everything." Introducing a repeat of the story on Saturday's Today, co-host Lester Holt announced: "Game changer? The U.S. Supreme Court plans to tackle two cases involving same-sex marriage. So will this become the law of the land?"
In an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams wondered why the tech giant couldn't be a "made-in-America company" and outlined a political scenario in which President Obama was all-powerful: "Let's say our Constitution was a little different and Barack Obama called you in tomorrow and said, 'Get everybody out of China and do whatever you have to do, make these, make everything you make in the United States.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Employing sanctimonious rhetoric to paint Senate Republicans as cruel and heartless for opposing a U.N. treaty on disabled rights completely redundant to the Americans With Disabilities Act, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams lectured: "If you want to know how broken, how partisan our Congress and our government has become, all you need to look at is this one day in Washington....Senator John Kerry called this one of the saddest days he's seen in close to three decades in the U.S. Senate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell pointed to the GOP as the source of the sorrow: "For those looking for cooperation tonight, only disappointment, even real sadness over what happened with this treaty intended to help the disabled....Five Republican votes short of the 66 needed....it's unusual to see tears shed in the Senate chamber, I witnessed that today....I saw a woman in a wheelchair, leaving with tears rolling down her face."
Striking a sympathetic tone toward the U.N. ambassador on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams lamented: "It was another one of those days for Susan Rice....who again found herself today in the middle of a power struggle between some Republicans on the Hill on one side, and the President..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell eagerly described a moment in a recent Obama cabinet meeting: "With Hillary Clinton nodding her approval, the President sent a strong message to Senate Republicans, 'Don't mess with my U.N. Ambassador.'" Mitchell observed: "For Rice, a welcome signal that her nomination is still alive, despite another brutal day on Capitol Hill."
Following the lead of NBC political director Chuck Todd lamenting House Republican committee chairs being "all white men," on Wednesday's Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams similarly declared: "...the GOP is dealing with the issue of optics and diversity in politics. Getting a lot of coverage, of the congressional committee chairs selected thus far for the next Congress, they are all white males." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams briefly noted the reason: "The leadership points out they were all selected for a reason, including seniority." He then proceeded to shill for the Democrats: "...on their side of the aisle, white men are now the minority among House Democratic members."
In yet another example of climate change fearmongering following Hurricane Sandy, on Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams hyped a fantasy illustration from the New York Times: "...an artist's depiction of the Statue of Liberty submerged in New York Harbor, a kind of what-if warning about climate change and our new coastlines up and down the east coast." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson used Sandy to bolster the case: "...train stations in New Jersey inundated by torrents of water from Superstorm Sandy....scientists say this kind of destruction could become far more frequent because of the heat-trapping greenhouse gases warming the planet."
A picture of Mitt Romney pumping his own gas in La Jolla was a big hit on the internet Tuesday after getting posted at Reddit.
For some reason NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams decided to do a story on it Tuesday evening specifically designed to mock the former presidential candidate (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Leading off Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams wrung his hands over Israel suffering fewer casualties than Gaza in the ongoing Mideast conflict: "It is a lop-sided fight right now, the estimated death toll is more than a hundred in Gaza, with three Israelis reported dead. The fusillade of rockets from Gaza into Israel is being answered by air strikes, many from drones, many aimed at individuals inside buildings, inside densely packed neighborhoods."
Williams's desire for a fairer fight was reminiscent of former NBC commentator John Chancellor's reaction to the Persian Gulf War in 1992, telling then-Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw: "Greenpeace, the public interest organization, believes that the Iraqi death toll, civilian and military, before and after the war, may be as high as 198,000. Allied military dead are counted in the low hundreds. The disparity is huge and somewhat embarrassing."
Two days after the national election on November 6, Brian Williams -- anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News -- made a peculiar comment during that Thursday's edition of Rock Center, the network's prime time news program.
“With the election now over, it is once again safe to talk abut the economy and jobs, Now that it is not a campaign issue, it's back to reality,” he stated despite the fact that he had regularly discussed the topic during the campaign in a manner that always favored President Obama.
In a series of reports following President Obama's Wednesday afternoon press conference, NBC News repeatedly portrayed Obama as a magnanimous victor "reaching out" to his opponents, while Republicans were tarred as uncooperative and on the attack.
On Wednesday's Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd nearly ran out of positive adjectives to describe the President's demeanor at the presser: "It was a loose, confident, and at times aggressive President Obama....He even extended an olive branch and encouraged growing common ground between the two parties....he was genial and even reflective."
According to Todd's account, the only thing that spoiled Obama's sunny disposition was having to respond to "negative comments from Republican senators on the possibility that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice could become secretary of state." Comments that made the commander-in-chief "visibly angry."
Following President Obama's Wednesday afternoon press conference, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams continued his longtime obsession with the liberal fantasy film The American President and his eagerness to compare Obama to Michael Douglas's fictional presidential character: "...the President today almost conjuring the wording of Aaron Sorkin from the movie American President, as will be pointed out all day, really decided to throw down." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to Obama's indignation at critics of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who made false statements about the terrorist attack in Libya, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell gushed: "This was President Andrew Shepherd really coming through in the East Room of the White House. Because this was President Obama saying, 'If you want to pick a fight with my U.N. ambassador, and blame her for something that was not her responsibility on Benghazi, then you come after me'....It was dramatic. He is angry."
In a transparent effort to yet again applaud the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams introduced the broadcast's Making a Difference segment by proclaiming: "We all remember the Occupy Wall Street movement. We covered them here a lot....Whatever you think of their agenda and them, they've re-formed now, into Occupy Sandy. They're redirecting their energy into helping hurricane victims..."
In the report that followed, correspondent Katy Tur announced: "Remember the Occupy Wall Street movement famous for taking over New York's Zuccotti Park and coining the term 1%? Well, now they have Occupy Sandy. Within days after Sandy hit, Occupy went to work."
Over the past week, the media have been obsessively attributing the GOP’s election loss to the party’s embrace of conservatism. It began with a predictable assault on the standard bearer of conservative thought over the airwaves, Rush Limbaugh. On election night, NBC’s Brian Williams opined that Rush was a liability for the GOP. And it didn’t stop with Williams.
As NBC anchor Brian Williams appeared as a guest on Wednesday's The Late Show on CBS, host David Letterman charged that Republican political strategist Karl Rove "lied to" and tried to "frighten" the electorate in 2012, referring to the former George W. Bush strategist as a "tubby little weasel." Letterman:
When NBC announced Thursday it was doing a "Coming Together" telethon to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims, many people including myself worried that given the list of scheduled performers, it would turn into a one-hour Obama campaign ad.
Much to my surprise and delight, Matt Lauer and guests did a classy, somber, respectful, and at times tear-jerking presentation totally absent politics or the mention of either presidential candidate's name.
ABC, CBS and NBC did their part Friday night to minimize the negative impact to the Obama campaign from the rise in the unemployment rate from 7.8 to 7.9 percent in October.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer allocated a piddling 18 seconds to the news as she characterized the 171,000 jobs growth as “beating predictions,” NBC’s Brian Williams stressed how the 171,000 additional jobs number “was better than the experts had expected” and the CBS Evening News focused on one “flourishing” company which has grown this year from 80 to 450 workers.
Americans of all political stripes were distressed by the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador. But the reaction of the national broadcast networks has been demonstrably and shamefully partisan from the beginning of this story.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack, all three broadcast networks touted the political angle that the events would bolster President Obama — “reminding voters of his power as commander-in-chief,” as NBC’s Peter Alexander asserted on the September 14 edition of Today — while Mitt Romney would be damaged by his supposedly flubbed initial reaction.
But as the story progressed and reports indicated that the Obama administration knowingly misrepresented the nature of the attack, failed to provide adequate security, and refused to authorize a potential rescue mission to save those under fire, those same journalists have been either slow to report those developments, or altogether silent.
NBC anchor Brian Williams went deep into the floodwaters of bias at the end of Rock Center on Thursday night, ripping into Michael Brown and Rush Limbaugh about Hurricane Sandy and then bizarrely claiming these men were playing politics – as if he wasn’t. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams boiled over: “In a related story, ‘Brownie’ is back. Michael Brown, who helped bring us the largest domestic human rights outrage of the modern era – the Katrina response – said this week the lesson of Hurricane Sandy is that people need to chill.”
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.