The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday highlighted the upcoming sentencing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, but only CBS's Early Show identified the disgraced politician as a Democrat and devoted a full segment to him. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today omitted his party ID, and just gave news briefs on the convict's possible sentence.
CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers wasted little time before noting that "the former Democratic governor was convicted on 18 counts of corruption, after being caught on a profanity-laced federal wiretap offering political favors in return for financial gain." Bowers played two sound bites from the wiretap recording, including the infamous "bleeping golden" clip from Blagojevich.
According to Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Monday, the Occupy "protests within sight of the White House turned violent over the weekend." Actually, the protests occurred at McPherson Square, two blocks from the White House and not in "sight" of it. (See a map here.)
Perhaps Mr. Elliott, who grew up in California and went to high school in Los Angeles, can be forgiven for such an error. It's bizarre that the Washington Post, in a front page story, made the same mistake. Monday's paper claimed the latest protest occurred "in view of the White House."
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."
Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Monday repeated White House talking points in regard to the booing of Michelle Obama at a NASCAR event on Sunday. News reader Elliott played a clip of the booing and then parroted, "The White House says it was a chaotic event. It was not clear, perhaps, what the boos were specifically for."
The Today show didn't cover the event at all. On the Early Show, Jeff Glor linked, "Some people booed [Michelle Obama and Jill Biden] when they showed up last night. They were on hand to honor military troops and their families." [See video of the booing here.]
The network morning shows on Thursday took a mostly light-hearted look at clothing company Benetton's ad campaign featuring the Pope kissing a Muslim cleric. The ads, which have now been pulled under legal pressure, were summarized by Good Morning America's Josh Elliott. He parroted, "It was part of Benetton 's Unhate campaign, challenging people to have the courage not to hate."
Elliott described the company's removal of the ad as "bowing to pressure from the Vatican." None of the networks, however, mentioned any possible negativity from Muslims. Only NBC's Today referred to them as "very, very controversial," with fourth hour co-host Hoda Kotb blanching, "Put your breakfast down. Because you're going to want to."
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows found time to tout the defeat of an Ohio law curbing union power in Tuesday's election, while ignoring passage of another ballot initiative that made the ObamaCare heath insurance mandate illegal in the state.
On NBC's Today, news anchor Natalie Morales declared: "In Ohio, voters rejected a new law that would limit the collective bargaining rights of some 350,000 unionized public workers. Labor unions there are calling the news their biggest victory in decades." On ABC's Good Morning America, Josh Elliott similarly announced the "big victory for labor unions." On CBS's The Early Show, Jeff Glor described how "voters handed union workers a victory."
The CBS and NBC morning shows on Tuesday both ignored an embarrassing gaffe committed by Barack Obama: Being caught on an open mic, mocking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Only ABC's Good Morning America covered it with a single news brief.
News anchor Josh Elliott explained, "At last week's G20 summit, the BBC reports that President Sarkozy was overheard calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a liar. In response, President Obama told Sarkozy, and I quote, 'You may be sick of him, but I have to deal with him every day.'"
On Tuesday, the morning shows of the Big Three networks omitted the party affiliation of Jon Corzine as they reported on the federal investigation into his brokerage firm, something that even the liberal New York Times gave in their coverage of the story. ABC's Good Morning America also failed to include Corzine's name during their news brief on the investigation.
News anchor Josh Elliott noted in a 13-second brief that "a Wall Street brokerage firm run by New Jersey's former governoris filing for bankruptcy. Regulators say some $700 million belonging to MF Global's customers is apparently missing." Apparently, the name of the Democrat's firm is newsworthy at ABC, but his name and his party ID isn't.
According to the network morning shows, violent Occupy Wall Street protesters are fighting back against government officials who are trying to rein them in. Early Show's Erica Hill highlighted "this growing crackdown on the anti-Wall Street protests around the country." She added, "In Oakland, California, the protesters are pushing back."
The "pushing back" came in the form of throwing rocks and bottles at police officers who attempted to remove them from a public encampment.
ABC News did not get around to the story that Michelle Obama wore a $42,000 set of bracelets to a Democratic fundraiser. But they certainly helped the Obama campaign by touting her appearance on Sunday night's season debut of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The Obama campaign used the appearance to promote the First Lady's work on behalf of military families (and let's not recall how her liberal husband won the Democratic nomination by promising to clear American soldiers out of Iraq by like, yesterday.) This episode dealt with a woman helping homeless female vets.
On Thursday's Good Morning America, news anchor Josh Elliott prodded Extreme Makeover host Ty Pennington to tell the folks at home just what a "cool lady" the First Lady was, and promote the "very special episode" ABC made. Pennington insisted she wore low-top Converse sneakers [video follows page break]:
The Big Three networks unequivocally celebrated the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a "historic moment" on their Tuesday morning programs. CBS's "Early Show" turned to a discharged Air Force major who pushed for further recognition of same-sex couples by the military. NBC's "Today" brought on a homosexual playwright to promote his one-man movie on the policy. ABC's "GMA" only had a news brief on the development, but still highlighted how a magazine is "publishing photos of more than 100 active duty gay and lesbian troops who served in silence until now." None of the programs brought on dissenting voices to advocate the continuation of the policy.
"The Early Show" devoted the most amount of air time to the expiration of the policy, and led the 7 am Eastern hour with a slanted report from correspondent David Martin. Martin played sound bites from President Obama and outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, both opponents of the ban on open homosexuals from serving in the military, but none from supporters:
In the midst of the failure of President Obama’s $800 billion or more “stimulus spending” program, ABC on Friday night asserted the solution to the devastating report, of zero jobs created in August, is...more stimulus spending. Since “the debt, say most economists, is only a long-term concern and the U.S. can borrow money right now at practically no interest,” reporter Jim Avila contended the federal government “should launch a stimulus program as big as the one that was launched in World War II.”
Avila insisted “the non-political, overwhelming answer from a dominant majority of economists” as to what the government should do “is spend and build. Roads, bridges, schools. A $200 billion a year investment would produce two million jobs and lower unemployment by a point.”
On Wednesday evening, the NBC Nightly News devoted a segment to a recent study involving the World Health Organization asserting that infant mortality in the United States has fallen behind 40 other countries, including Cuba. NBC's Today show and ABC's Good Morning America also mentioned the study briefly earlier the same day.
NBC's Snyderman on Nightly News even seemed to hint that universal health care in Vermont may play a role in that state's ranking that is relatively higher than other states, even though several other states she named as relatively higher do not have universal health care.
ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to mention former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's affiliation with the Democratic Party on their Monday evening news broadcasts and the Tuesday morning shows. Blagojevich was convicted by a jury on Monday on 17 out of 20 charges, mainly related to the attempt to sell the Senate seat of President Obama. Only CBS's Early Show noted his party with a "D" on-screen.
NBC devoted the least amount of time to the breaking news, a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds between NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Brian Williams actually didn't mention the party of the new felon or his predecessor during his report on Monday, but noted that "Blagojevich will become the fourth Illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. His predecessor, George Ryan, is still in federal prison, also for corruption." The following morning, news anchor Natalie Morales gave three news briefs on Blagojevich, all about 15 seconds long each.
The network morning shows on Monday hyped the "extra spectacular" gay pride parades in the wake of New York's newly passed same sex marriage legislation. Both ABC and NBC highlighted the "hero's welcome" Governor Andrew Cuomo received after signing the bill. At the same time, they ignored dissenters.
On Monday's Today, news anchor Natalie Morales touted, "Gay pride parades around the country turned into victory laps..." and added, "Gay and lesbian couples spoke about finally realizing their decades-long dream of walking down the aisle."
Reporter Mara Schiavocampo openly opined, "This year's parade isn't just a celebration of pride, but for the first time, equality."
NBC barely covered the Thursday arrests of two Islamists in a planned terrorist attack on a military facility in Seattle. The network didn't cover the breaking news at all on Thursday's Nightly News, and devoted only 17 seconds to it on Friday's Today Show. Thursday's CBS Evening News had a minute-long report on the arrests, while ABC had full reports on the arrests on World News and GMA.
CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced correspondent Bob Orr's brief report on the terror plot: "It has been a busy 48 hours for the FBI. We learned today that agents have arrested two men in what the feds say was a terrorist plot to attack a military recruiting station in Seattle." Orr only made one indirect and vague reference to the suspects' religion: "The two men...somehow had become radicalized on their own." Actually, in an online report on Thursday, ABC referenced unnamed officials who stated that they are "believed to have met in prison and to have converted to Islam in prison."
On Friday, the morning shows of the Big Three networks barely touched on President Obama approving the renewal of key provisions in the Patriot Act, avoiding the kind of criticism they launched during the terms of former President George W. Bush. During that time, the networks often expressed "concern...that civil liberties are threatened as never before" by the law, as CBS Evening News put it in 2003.
ABC's Good Morning America devoted one news brief to the development 17 minutes into 7 am Eastern hour. News anchor Josh Elliott noted how "President Obama signed an extension of the U.S. Patriot Act. He used a device called the auto pen because the bill had to be signed before midnight Washington time." NBC's Today show devoted the most attention to the presidential action with three news briefs from Ann Curry at 15 minutes past the 7 am Eastern hour, and at the top of the 8 and 9 am hours.
On The Early Show, CBS's Jeff Glor's brief on the Patriot Act extension, which aired at the same time as Curry's first brief on NBC, gave the most negative hint against the law of the three networks:
All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered Democrat Kathy Hochul winning the special election in New York's 26th congressional district and framed the outcome as a rejection of Republican plans to reform Medicare. On NBC's Today, news reporter Ann Curry proclaimed: "The race hinged on Hochul's opposition to a Republican-led plan to make deep cuts in Medicare." [Audio available here]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news reporter Josh Elliot declared Hochul's win to be "a seismic event in the political world" and a "shocking upset." Like Curry, he declared: "The GOP candidate lost after backing that Republican plan to cut billions from Medicare." In reality, the Republican budget plan increases Medicare spending from $563 billion to $953 billion ten years from now. That’s an increase of nearly 70%.
On Wednesday, all three major broadcast networks' morning shows played up a homosexual activist throwing glitter at Newt Gingrich during a book signing in Minneapolis. Both CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today show played footage of the attack on the Republican presidential hopeful at the top of their programs, while ABC's Good Morning initially failed to mention the left wing cause of the protester.
A minute into the 7 am Eastern hour of The Early Show, anchor Chris Wragge previewed a report on the former House Speaker's campaign woes from correspondent Jan Crawford by highlighting the video: "Look at this: a gay rights protester throws glitter all over Newt at an event last night." During the report itself eight minutes later, Crawford noted, "More embarrassment Tuesday in Minneapolis, when a gay rights activist glittered Gingrich at a book signing." The protester, which the AP tentatively identified as Nick Espinosa, shouted during the attack, "Feel the rainbow, Newt. Stop the hate! Stop anti-gay politics!"