As if more proof were needed that the broadcast networks don’t get religion, and really don’t get Catholicism, analysis of the evening news programs from Feb. 11 showed a how inadequate the assumptions of liberal secular journalists were in explaining the Church, its mission and its role in the lives of the faithful.
On the day of the surprise resignation of 85-yr-old Pope Benedict XVI, ABC, CBS and NBC all danced the “The Papal Reporting Two-Step”: dwell on the negatives of the recent past before wondering hopefully if the Church will now finally step out of the dark ages of orthodoxy. Of the three, however, ABC was far and away the worst. Video after the Break.
Of the three morning shows, only ABC's Good Morning America on Monday highlighted two drunken delegates at the Democratic National Convention, one of whom was forced to leave North Carolina. Fill-in host Lara Spencer touted the story, asserting that "things are already off to a shaky start."
Reporter Cecilia Vega explained, "Two California Democratic delegates partied into the wee hours of Sunday morning. In the lobby of their Charlotte hotel, one was so drunk he apparently passed out and was taken to the hospital." She added that the unidentified delegate was "belligerent" and threatened with arrest for impersonating a congressman. ABC reported the story in the 7am and 8am hour. CBS This Morning and NBC's Today, however, skipped it.
The Big Three network morning shows on Monday all reported on the possible showdown between Occupy L.A. protesters and the LAPD. NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show highlighted that the left-leaning demonstrators held a "block party" as they defied law enforcement. All three media outlets also played up the supposedly "peaceful" nature of the protest, while ignoring other media reports of violence.
On Saturday's Good Morning America, ABC's Ron Claiborne claimed that "unlike other cities, the ['Occupy'] protests there in L.A. have been peaceful." However, Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times noted in a November 5, 2011 article that "police were called to two violent incidents at Occupy Los Angeles on Friday, adding to questions about the protest and its future."
Through the month of October, as this MRC study found, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks completely ignored the numerous charges of sexual assaults at OWS protests on their evening and morning news shows. In fact, it wasn’t until this weekend that one and only one network, ABC reported on the rape of a woman in Philadelphia, and that was only after that city’s Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter expressed concern about safety.
On the November 13 edition of ABC’s World News reporter Cecilia Vega mentioned: “In Occupy Philadelphia, an arrest after a woman was dragged into a tent and sexually assaulted.” Vega then threw it to a soundbite from Nutter charging: “Occupy Philly has changed. We’re seeing serious health and safety issues playing out on an almost daily basis. The people of Occupy Philly have also changed and their intentions have changed.”
The Big Three networks' seeming desperation to report on "Occupy Wall Street" reached a new level on Friday, after they led their morning shows with New York City's decision to not clear the park where the protesters are camped. NBC touted how the demonstrators were "proclaiming victory" in response to the move. ABC highlighted the "celebratory" atmosphere, while CBS played up the "mood of jubilation" there.
Today show anchor Ann Curry noted that a "showdown [was] averted at the site of the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement here in New York." She then turned to correspondent Maria Schiavocampo, who reported live from Zuccotti Park, the home base of the left-leaning protesters for about a month. The correspondent immediately zeroed-in on how one could "hear the celebrations taking place behind me here as protesters are proclaiming victory in their showdown with the park's owners."
ABC stepped up its promotion Sunday night on behalf of the far-left protesters, which they failed to label, making a special effort to explain and frame their grievances – a service they never provided to the Tea Party. “Tonight, the anger spreads,” anchor David Muir hailed in teasing World News on Sunday night. “Those Wall Street protests now going global. This evening here, we learn about the lives behind the protesters here in this country, showing up in cities coast to coast.”
Muir pointed viewers to a sign he liked: “Look at the images coming in tonight, spelling out the anger. This sign in New York, ‘The rich get bailed out, the poor get sold out.’” He relayed ABC’s goal, “We ask a simple question: What’s happened in the lives of the Americans who’ve joined these protests. What was it that set them off?”
Friday’s NBC Nightly News once again promoted the left-wing/anti-capitalist protests which Brian Williams non-ideologically described as “a protest against economic and social inequality” that “has now spawned organized marches in 45 states.”
Reporter Chris Jansing featured a man whose “frustration brought him to lower Manhattan” and he pronounced: “I think it's our Arab Spring.” Jansing next trumpeted how “‘Occupy Wall Street’ is drawing historical comparisons,” a quest for historic impact the networks never sought for the Tea Party. Her expert, Georgetown University history professor Michael Kazin, whom she failed to note is co-editor of the far-left quarterly, Dissent.
CBS and NBC led Wednesday night with glowing stories about the growth and diversity of the far-left “Occupy Wall Street” protests, though without any ideological label applied nor any critics allowed, a promotional approach the networks never provided in Tea Party coverage.
“We begin tonight with what has become by any measure a pretty massive protest movement,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced. “While it goes by the official name ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ it has spread steadily and far beyond Wall Street, and it could well turn out to be the protest of this current era.”
ABC’s Cecilia Vega touted how “it is a crowd that grows daily in size and diversity,” CBS’s Michelle Miller heralded “they’re gaining momentum and new recruits” and NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo trumpeted “the largest crowd yet, and more varied in age and background.”