Pardon the age of this item, but it's on an issue of campaign history. On March 13, NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviewed new CNN host Jake Tapper about politics and journalism, and whether there was blowback from presidents and candidates over tough questions. But Gross felt compelled to bring up the "lies" told about John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign -- without expressing anything specific.
Tapper said he was assigned as a Swift Boat Veteran fact checker by ABC. Gross said, "So you were fact-checking some of the Swift Boat attacks against presidential candidate John Kerry. There were so many lies in those attacks. What was the fact-checking like, and how effective do you think it was in trying to counteract the lies?"
For ABC's Good Morning America, favoring more guns on the streets is "controversial" but President Obama's plea for gun control is simply news.
"Those who argue that the best way to stop mass killings is to have more guns in the right hands at the right time, even in the classroom. It's a controversial debate," reported co-host George Stephanopoulos on Thursday. In contrast, ABC's Jake Tapper framed the Newtown shooting as a "tipping point" amidst Obama's push for more gun control.
At his news conference on Wednesday, President Obama opened with a statement of over 1,100 words, all of it on gun violence, including his announcement that "I’ve asked the Vice President to lead an effort that includes members of my Cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January -- proposals that I then intend to push without delay."
That should reasonably have been expected to put the gun control issue to bed for the rest of the day. How many meaningful questions could reporters possibly pose after all of that (other than the one Jake Tapper of ABC asked, which will be seen later in the post)? But as Ben Sisario at the New York Times's Media Decoder blog reported Wednesday afternoon, that didn't satisfy many media critics, who -- with Sisario seeming to agree -- expected and wanted to see an all-gun-control, all-the-time exercise, and were angry that it didn't unfold that way (bolds are mine throughout this post):
For the third day in a row, ABC's Good Morning America used the horrific Newtown tragedy to push its gun control agenda. On Wednesday morning, both ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas and Pierre Thomas hyped that now is a "watershed moment" and a "tipping point" as stores halted sales of some guns and Democratic NRA member Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) considered changing his views on gun laws.
"Big-city mayors and one of the nation’s biggest police unions have called for a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity clips. And for some long-time allies of the gun lobby, this week was a tipping point," Thomas touted voices favoring gun control. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
One year ago, Barack Obama backed a budget solution that would not "hike" tax rates. Now, the President rejects this plan, an apparent flip-flop only ABC's Jake Tapper reported. House Speaker John Boehner has proposed a plan that increases revenues though the closing of loopholes and the elimination of deductions.
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Tapper reminded that "what the Republicans are offering sounds a lot like what the President wanted during last year's budget showdown." He then played a 2011 clip of Obama requesting, "Give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] CBS This Morning and NBC's Today both ignored this quote.
Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Sunday actually raised the issue of media bias, highlighting that Mitt Romney operatives "generally think that the media is in the tank for President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Some of Tapper's colleagues on ABC have given Republicans good reason to believe this.
The journalist was responding to weekend GMA anchor Dan Harris's question about whether the "stage may now be set for an Obama comeback narrative." Tapper replied, "absolutely" and added, "So, yes, they [Team Romney] think that, without question, the media is ready to write the Obama comeback story."
Given the recent death of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya, one would expect the three news networks to investigate the grotesque failures by the federal government to protect our embassies overseas.
Unlike NBC’s Today, ABC and CBS’s Friday morning shows both covered recent State Department emails showing they denied a request by officials in Libya for increased security in May leading up to the terrorist attack on our Libyan Embassy last month.
Unlike the journalists at NBC, who dismissed as old news a just released 2007 video of Barack Obama discussing race, ABC's Jake Tapper highlighted the tape of the then-senator praising the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. NBC's Today completely ignored the footage of Obama touting Wright as a "great leader, not just in Chicago, but all across the country."
On Good Morning America, Tapper relayed that "critics say the President was divisively pandering to a black crowd by suggesting malicious discrimination against New Orleans." He noted that in the video, Obama was "using a different speaking style than usual." In regard to the President's campaign claiming that Obama was simply discussing disaster relief, something he had done previously, Tapper pointed out that the Democrat "did speak about it a little differently in the Senate."
In a dispatch today, an unbylined AP report headlined "Romney: Benghazi a 'Terrorist Attack'" seems to act as if this is some kind of revelation to the GOP nominee even though everyone except Obama administration insiders desperately trying to bring life to the corpse formerly known as the Arab Spring have been saying that for well over a week. It gets much worse than that in the report's third paragraph:
On Monday, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today failed to air any full reports on the continuing inquiry into the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and mentioned the issue only in passing. CBS This Morning did devote a full segment to the dispute between the State Department and CNN over their use of a Ambassador Chris Stevens' personal journal, but didn't mention President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name.
Matt Lauer vaguely referenced the "new wave of anti-Americanism" in the Islamic world during an interview of Tony Blair, but it took the former British prime minister to specifically point out the "tragic death of your ambassador" in Libya. During a report on the presidential race, ABC's Jake Tapper did briefly note how the President "described some of the events as bumps in the road. The Romney campaign saying that the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador in Libya, is far worse than a bump in the road."
Early Friday afternoon, the Washington Post's David Nakamura confirmed that on Tuesday, September 11 -- before the attack in Benghazi that killed Amb. Chris Stevens -- the Obama National Security Council asked YouTube to pull down a video "trailer" for "The Innocence of Muslims," saying it may violate the video-sharing service's "terms of service." Such a move would have removed the film from the site worldwide, something YouTube has refused to do, even though parent company Google "is honoring requests to block the video the site restricted access in Libya and Egypt because of the unrest."
But despite the troubling implications of U.S. government officials waging a specious "terms of service" complaint about a private citizen's video on a video-sharing site, a search of Nexis reveals that absent a very brief mention by ABC's Jake Tapper on the September 14 World News, the broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- have ignored the story:
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)
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel informed President Obama yesterday that it found his controversial Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius violated the federal Hatch Act back in February. ABC News's Jake Tapper noted the finding in a September 12 Political Punch blog post at ABCNews.com, but World News editors apparently thought the matter unworthy of coverage last night. The story was also unreported on NBC's Nightly News and CBS's Evening News.
The Hatch Act forbids federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity and Sebelius did just that in off-the-cuff remarks as the keynote speaker at a February 25 gala for the Human Rights Campaign, Tapper noted (emphasis mine):
In light of the tragic events that just transpired in Egypt and Libya on Sept. 11, both presidential candidates felt obligated to host separate press conferences that aired just 30 minutes apart. In yet another example of the ‘journalistic integrity’ that saturates the MSNBC network, the Jansing and Co. hostess and guests openly showed favoritism to President Obama, who was glaringly devoid of any time for questions from the media.
Anchor Chris Jansing engaged in a conversation with NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd that continued off and on throughout the allotted hour. Republican challenger Romney was taken to task for sharing his opinion on the matter without the benefit of “any foreign policy experience,” or as they described it as “launching a political attack” after the murder of an ambassador.
That it’s entirely possible there were dangerously incompetent policies in place regarding diplomatic security in both Cairo and Benghazi were not even considered.
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday buried coverage of the embarrassing spectacle of Democratic delegates booing the reinsertion of God and Jerusalem to the party's platform. World News,Nightline and live coverage of Wednesday's convention completely ignored the gaffe.Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Thursday breezed by it with a single sentence: "Lots of infighting about the party platform."
What was the problem, exactly? Tapper didn't say. (He did explain it online.) NBC's Nightly News and the CBS Evening Newsboth covered it, Wednesday night. On Thursday, CBS This Morning's Nancy Cordes observed that "earlier in the day," the "party had to publicly rework the Democratic platform because they forgot to put a mention of God in there and a mention about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel." The program then featured video of convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa trying to force through the additions of God and Israel. Boos rained down. [See video below. See MP3 audio here.]
News outlets are focusing on the latest gaffe from Vice President Joe Biden who said to a largely African-American audience that the GOP was “going to put y’all back in chains.”
Just over two years ago, the gaffemaster joked that he had “never had a gaffe” in a July 18, 2010 interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper.
Even then, that claim was itself a joke. It came only a few months after his March 23, 2010 announcement that the signing of healthcare law was “a big f---ing deal.”
Other famous gaffes include when Biden asked wheelchair bound Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham to “stand up, let the people see you,” and when Biden told an Indian American man that “in Delaware…you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a light Indian accent. I’m not joking.”
The three major networks have repeatedly glossed over Biden's blunders. Brent Bozell, the President of the Media Research Center, described Biden as a "gaffe-a-minute disaster" in a recent column.
NewsBusters reported Tuesday Barack Obama is now telling reporters what questions to ask of him.
NBC's Jay Leno must have seen this news for the Tonight Show aired a mock video of ABC's Jake Tapper reading a question at Monday's press conference from cue cards held by the President (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Although the Obama/Biden campaign has plenty of gaffes and erroneous statements to answer for from the past five-and-a-half months -- the last presidential press conference was March 6 -- Associated Press White House correspondent Jeff Kuhnhenn opted to toss a softball to President Obama today as he was selected by the president to ask the first question at the chief executive's impromptu session with reporters in the White House press briefing room.
"You are no doubt aware of the comments that Missouri Senate candidate, Republican Todd Akin made on rape and abortion. I wondered if you think those views represent the views of the Republican party in general. They have been denounced by your own rival and other Republicans. Are they an outlier or representative?" Kuhnhenn asked, having obviously answered his own question. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
On Saturday's World News, ABC correspondent Jake Tapper explained President Barack Obama's deceptive strategy of trying to get voters to believe that Mitt Romney supports lowering his own tax rate to less than one percent by attacking a tax plan which his running rate, Paul Ryan, once proposed in Congress which is not part of Romney's own plan.
As he introduced a deceptive soundbite from President Obama, host David Muir raised the issue:
ABC News's Jake Tapper noticed an interesting trend with President Obama. He hasn't been around to take any questions from the press lately. In fact, he has evaded the national press corps for more than two months. However, as Tapper noted on his blog today, Obama did have time to talk to "reporters from People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight." In addition, "during his three-day Iowa bus tour this week, for example, he conducted three interviews with local radio stations, including a sports talk radio show, and a roundtable discussion with columnists from three Iowa papers, in addition to sitting down with People and Entertainment Tonight. On July 12, he did an interview with Charlie Rose for CBS This Morning."
Chuck Todd has chutzpah. Jake Tapper has some integrity. For decades, journalists have aided liberals by mischaracterizing proposed slight reductions in the rate of spending hikes on a program as a “cut” or “slash” to it, so many trusting people, naively presuming the words have meaning, thus assumed there’d be an actual reduction.
NBC’s Peter Alexander repeated this fallacy on Monday’s Today when he described Paul Ryan as “the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare...” NBC’s chief political correspondent, Chuck Todd, however, had the gall to correct Mitt Romney over a “cut” claim while ignoring Alexander’s falsity.
UPDATE: The AP has corrected its story. The related NewsBusters post is here.
In his coverage of the latest Monthly Treasury Statement showing July and year-to-date federal budget deficits of $69.6 billion and $974 billion, respectively, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, cut President Obama a significant break when he wrote that "GOP candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for failing to cut the deficit in half, as he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign."
The problem is that Obama's "pledge" wasn't a campaign promise at all. It was a promise made on February 23, 2009, over 3-1/2 months after he won the presidential election and more than a month after his inauguration. The, uh, Associated Press had the scoop that he would make this promise two days earlier:
Good Morning America on Monday hyped the liberal "barrage" on Bain Capital and the push to get Mitt Romney to release more tax records. Over the span of three minutes, ABC featured Barack Obama's attacks three separate times for 35 seconds. Reporter Jake Tapper showcased two more right-leaning talking heads chiding Romney. That's a total of five voices piling on the candidate. Only a single clip of conservative Mary Matalin appeared as a rebuttal.
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos probed for weakness from Romney, telling Tapper that "conservatives like George Will, Bill Kristol" are "saying he has to do more on these tax returns. You sensing any give on the Romney team?" Informed by Tapper that only the last two years will be released, Stephanopoulos lamented, "But no more than those first two years?"
In Thursday's campaign report by ABC's Jake Tapper, the Obama campaign received four soundbites as opposed to just one for Romney surrogates. The sharp imbalance was capitalized by Tapper choosing the word "nefarious" to describe the Obama campaign's caricature of Romney.
"Others in the Obama campaign discussing wealth Romney has invested overseas in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda painted an even more nefarious picture of the presumptive Republican nominee," Tapper relayed the Obama campaign's message to viewers of ABC World News. [Video coming soon. Audio here.]
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said Sunday that if Rob Portman were Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate, he "just might eviscerate" Joe Biden in a vice presidential debate.
Appearing on ABC's This Week, Noonan added, "I think that might lead to a certain sense, this growing meme out there of the administration as a house of cards. There's something not fully stable, not fully operating, not fully right about this thing" (video follows with transcript and commentary).
The most entertaining thing about Aaron Sorkin's upcoming HBO series, "The Newsroom," could well be the scathing review of the show by ABC News senior White House correspondent, Jake Tapper, which appeared in The New Republic. As a bonus, Tapper also provides an hilarious takedown of the increasingly annoying SorkinSpeak, the bizzare shorthand manner in which his characters communicate with each other. So take it away, Jake:
“The Newsroom,” which debuts June 24 on HBO, is sadly disappointing. There’s much to criticize in the media—and TV news in particular. But though “The Newsroom” intends to lecture its viewers on the higher virtues of capital-J journalism, Professor Sorkin soon reveals he isn’t much of an expert on the subject.
Good Morning America, hosted by former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos, highlighted panic, Wednesday, about Barack Obama's reelection campaign. GMA's Jake Tapper warned, "Top Democrats are sounding the alarm. They are worried that President Obama's economic message is tone-deaf."
The segment featured James Carville, who worked with Stephanopoulos in the Clinton administration. Carville fretted that when the White House talks, "people take that as a signal that [the Obama administration] thinks things are fine." Carville and other Clinton operatives have produced a memo on Obama's precarious situation. CBS and NBC have not highlighted this.