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)
Thursday's CBS This Morning rushed to President Obama's defense over the spat between the Democrat and opponent Mitt Romney over a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt condemning an obscure Internet video about Muhammad. Minutes after Steve Kroft tossed softballs at the President and let him speak uninterrupted for two and half minutes, the show confronted Republican Senator Rob Portman for defending Romney's attack.
Anchor Norah O'Donnell hounded Portman, interjecting five confrontational questions in just over two and half minutes, about the same amount of time that Obama spoke without any disruption. O'Donnell cried, "You're mistaken, Senator," and read statements from Peggy Noonan, Nick Burns, and Mike Rogers to emphasize that "Republicans...are saying that Governor Romney stepped in it." [audio available here; video below the jump]
The New York Times spelled out its habit of trying to wrong-foot Mitt Romney on Thursday's front page coverage of the violence in Egypt and Libya. The banner headline over Thursday's front page, "Attack On U.S. Site In Libya Kills Envoy; A Flash Point For Obama And Romney," ushered in coverage of the attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt, with the assault in Libya resulting in four deaths, including the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Times reporters Peter Baker and Ashley Parker made sure to follow the media template in characterizing Mitt Romney's criticism of the Obama administration as "clumsy and badly timed and Romney himself as "on the defensive" (twice!) in "A Challenger's Criticism Is Furiously Returned."
GOP strategist Ari Fleischer set the record straight about the media infatuation with Mitt Romney's statements on the embassy attacks. On Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360, he called out the media's "double standard" and defended Romney's criticism of the Obama administration.
"Debates about foreign policy are an absolute vital part of our democracy and I don't know why the media is rushing to criticize Mitt Romney for criticizing a foreign policy when they did not do that to Barack Obama or John Kerry when they exercised their right to criticize Republican foreign policy," stated Fleischer. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Continuing to attack Mitt Romney's reaction to the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie urged Senator John McCain to admit Romney made a mistake: "Was it correct for Mitt Romney to seize on that political opportunity at a moment when the U.S. Ambassador had been killed?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain stood behind Romney's criticism of the Obama administration's initial response to the attacks and added some of his own: "Look, what this is all about is American weakness and the President's inability to lead....Iraq is dissolving, our relations with Israel are at a tension point. He – I'd like to see the President of the United States speak up once for the 20,000 people that are being massacred in Syria. There is an absence of American leadership in the region..."
Remember the uproar from the mainstream media when presidential candidate Barack Obama used the U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan to attack President George W. Bush and John McCain? Oh, you don't remember? Perhaps that is because, unlike the MSM throwing a conniption fit over Mitt Romney criticizing an apologetic statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo which Obama himself later disavowed, the press was absolutely silent in its reactions to Obama's 2008 criticism. John Kaczynski of BuzzFeed found this video of candidate Obama and made this observation:
The Obama campaign hit Mitt Romney for using the “tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya” to “launch a political attack.” On a July 2008 appearance on CNN, then-Senator used the death of U.S. troops in Afghanistan as talking point to ding John McCain and President Bush for their support of the Iraq War.
As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, CBS and NPR reporters were caught on a hot mic plotting to ensure Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would be asked if he regrets scolding Barack Obama for his response to the recent anti-American hostilities in Egypt and Libya.
On Thursday's Fox & Friends, conservative author Michelle Malkin said the people involved were Obama's "tools' and "stenographers," and that this represented "an underline and exclamation point on the obituary of main stream objective news" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Conservative author Ann Coulter on Wednesday called the media out for its attacks on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's criticism of Barack Obama's response to Tuesday's anti-American hostilities in Egypt and Libya.
Appearing on Fox News's Hannity, Coulter said, "You know that Romney’s statement was devastating to President Obama because the media is screaming bloody murder" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Facing criticism for failing to mention American troops or the Afghan war effort in his convention speech, Mitt Romney spoke before National Guard members on Tuesday and called for robust support of the nation’s armed forces, saying that “the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts.”
Mitt Romney's statement yesterday evening slamming the Obama administration for the U.S. embassy in Cairo's attempt to appease the Islamist protesters was "naive," MSNBC's Alex Wagner and Time magazine's Rana Foroohar agreed in a segment on the September 12 edition of Now with Alex Wagner.
While Wagner said the initial statement condemning the anti-Muhammad movie was intended to calm tempers and save lives, Foroohar went into an odd analogy that compared Islamist hatemongers with conservative radio host Glenn Beck (MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break):
The media's full-throttle attack on Mitt Romney's condemnation of Barack Obama's weak handling of the Libyan crisis isn't surprising given they invested so much time praising the President's Libyan policy in 2011. During the Arab Spring of 2011, Time's Mark Halperin called the administration’s policy toward Libya "deft" and CBS’s Norah O'Donnell declared Obama's "victories" in the Middle East would "burnish his credentials as a world leader." NBC's David Gregory hailed that since Obama "has been tested" in the foreign policy "arena" he would use the experience as "a club against Republicans."
The following quotes are the worst examples of journalists' adulation of Obama's Libyan policy back in 2011:
At the top of Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd denounced Mitt Romney for daring to criticize the Obama administration's handling of the attack on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya: "[The Romney campaign] wish they had that press release back, because as the hours unfolded....this statement looks crass and tone deaf in the light of this day." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd was referring to the Romney campaign condemning a statement by the U.S. embassy in Cairo that essentially apologized to the Islamist protesters attacking the diplomatic grounds. Todd proclaimed: "Now here's what we don't get. Why the Romney campaign didn't wait until it had all the facts....Now they're actually in a political box, because what can they do? They know that they've made a mistake."
Both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney spoke earlier today about the horrendous murders yesterday of U.S. foreign service officials in Benghazi, Libya. Of the two, only Romney took questions from the media. Yet rather than scrutinize the president's failure to be open to inquiry from members of the press, MSBNC's Thomas Roberts and NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd devoted the top segment of the 11 a.m. MSNBC Live program to focusing on Romney "doubling down" in today's press conference of his criticism of the Obama administration.
For his part, Roberts suggested Romney's press conference today was in response to President Obama's post-convention bounce in the polls:
Angry journalists repeatedly lashed out at a defiant Mitt Romney, Wednesday, pushing the Republican to renounce his criticism of Barack Obama's handling of the crisis developing in Libya. In a statement on Tuesday, the presidential candidate slammed the administration's "disgraceful" response to the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya, which ended with the murder of ambassador Chris Stevens.
An unidentified reporter complained, "The statement from the President was a very toughly worded statement last night. Do you regret the tone at all, given what we know now?" Another asked, given how quickly events were unfolding, was it "appropriate to be weighing in as this as this crisis is unfolding in real time? " The same question came again and again, a total of seven times. [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
After reading Ben White's "Morning Money" report at the Politico this morning, I went back to Real Clear Politics to make sure that I was up to date on the current polling. Currently, RCP has Barack Obama up by 3.2 points over Mitt Romney in an average of the five most recent polls -- and at least two of those polls are cooked.
But if we're to believe White, "bankers and their lobbyists" are already talking "about what went wrong with the Romney campaign, as if there is no chance the GOP nominee will turn it around and eke out a close win over President Obama."
The November elections are a Republican landslide begging to materialize, but will the GOP make it happen? I believe so. I'm not buying these negative polls, but to increase our chances, let's sharpen the message, not dilute it.
A recent Fox News story reports that Romney and Ryan are both beginning to emphasize a bipartisan message rather than sharpen the contrasts between Obama's manifest failures and their plan for America. They must not follow this suicidal path.
CNN's Anderson Cooper smacked the Romney campaign Monday night for alleged dishonesty. He claimed they were talking too much about social issues while saying the economy is their real focus.
"The question tonight, and not just from the opposition, have the Romney forces been moving away from dollars and cents and jobs, and shifting toward more red meat, hot-button culture war mode?" Cooper asked. "I mean what's up with the culture stuff suddenly?" he posed later. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
If journalists were interested in fairness, there's nothing more basic than giving a similar amount of airtime to each major party convention. An MRC analysis finds that's exactly what CBS and ABC did, giving virtually identical airtime to the Republican and Democratic conventions on their morning and evening news shows.
But NBC skewed in favor of the Democrats, donating 25 percent more coverage to the Democratic National Convention (121 minutes) than they did the previous week's Republican convention (97 minutes). Most of the disparity is accounted for by the Today show, which gave 30 percent more coverage to the Democrats (87 minutes vs. 67 minutes), although the NBC Nightly News also favored the Democrats, albeit by a slighter margin (34 to 30 minutes).
Poll cooking season is officially in full swing. The headline today at the Washington Post reads: "Among likely voters, Obama-Romney close." Dan Balz and Jon Cohen report that in a September 7-9 poll, "the (presidential) race remains close among likely voters, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent, virtually unchanged from a poll taken just before the conventions." Ah, but Obama supposedly has a six-point lead among registered voters.
Based on pair's report, the easy choices on how to interpret the results are these: Either President Obama really didn't come out of the Democratic Convention with a polling bounce, or, if he did have a bounce, it disappeared after last Friday's dreadful employment news. There's a third and far more likely choice, which only becomes apparent once one sees the mix of respondents in the poll's final listed question.
Conservative talk radio host Steve Malzberg and NewsBusters' associate editor Noel Sheppard had a lengthy Spreecast conversation Monday about the media's support of pedophilia, its love affair with Bill Clinton, and its hatred of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (video follows with highlights and commentary).
Finding racism in ridiculous places: It isn’t just for MSNBC anymore. The Huffington Post has performed a neat trick, exercising its own religious bigotry by accusing someone else of racism. The result is a breathtakingly inane article. (The crusade to re-elect Obama has spurred his media acolytes to heroic exertions, hasn’t it?)
Writing in HuffPo on Sept. 9, Paul Harvey and Edward J. Blum broke incredible news: Mormon iconography commonly includes a statue of a white Jesus! And that white statue first appeared in Salt Lake City in 1966, “the middle of the Civil Rights movement.”
Responding to co-host Savannah Guthrie observing that Mitt Romney looked like he "was moving toward the center" on Monday's NBC Today, Meet the Press host David Gregory asserted: "...he knows he's going to have to make tough choices if he becomes president. That he would indeed have to infuriate conservatives on some of these budget deals..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During an interview with Romney aired on Sunday's Meet the Press, Gregory grilled the Republican candidate on whether he would "cut a deal with Democrats that would cause conservatives to revolt." Speaking to Guthrie on Monday, Gregory touted Romney's "pragmatism" and "flashes of some bipartisanship."
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly touted an Obama campaign photo-op: "One pizza shop owner in Florida got a little excited when he met President Obama, gave him a bear hug and then lifted him up....By the way, he's a Republican." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd announced that Obama had "clearly found a bounce in his campaign step, on display as he visited a Florida sports bar, even making a birther joke....Later the President got a whole new lesson in retail politics, when he got a very enthusiastic welcome from a Florida pizza shop owner."
On CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, substitute host Norah O'Donnell not only asked Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan about how he could have gotten his marathon time wrong from 22 years ago, she actually equated the error to Al Gore saying he invented the internet (video follows with transcript and commentary):
David Gregory teased Sunday's Meet the Press by highlighting a clip of himself pushing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to upset conservatives in getting a budget deal, presumably by agreeing to raise taxes. “We go behind the scenes and on the record with Governor Romney less than two months before the election to press him on how he will turn around the economy and solve the nation’s debt crisis.”
NBC then showed Gregory pressing Romney: “Are you prepared to cut a deal with Democrats that would cause conservatives to revolt? Is it that important to get a deal to get us away from this fiscal cliff?”
The media are gushing and fawning over new poll numbers showing Barack Obama getting a bounce from the just ended Democratic National Convention putting him four points ahead of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Before they get too cocky, they might want to recall that after his convention ended in 1988, Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis led George H.W. Bush by seventeen points.
"The Romney campaign slogan should be the title of Paul Krugman’s book which is 'End This Depression Now' because these are depression level [employment] numbers. And, if the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business."
So said George Will on ABC's This Week Sunday (video follows with transcript and commentary):