MSNBC will be producing campaign documentaries on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Romney's special will be hosted by Republican skeptic Chuck Todd. Obama's doc will be in the hands of liberal anchor Chris Matthews. Even the titles are biased. According to TV Newser, Romney's program is titled, "Mitt Romney: The Making of a Candidate." Obama's? "Barack Obama: Making History."
Can anyone spot the difference? A press release promises that the documentaries will take "audiences undercover to investigate in-depth some of the most important stories of our time. " While Todd has been tough on Romney, Matthews famously told the world that Obama caused a "thrill going up my leg."
On Thursday, several media reports used Obama campaign talking points to downplay a new Romney campaign ad that accused the President of a "war on religion" following the ObamaCare contraception mandate that would force religious institutions to cover birth control in employee health insurance plans.
Articles for The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal all touted the Obama White House reaching a supposed "compromise" with religious groups on the issue. The Post's Rachel Weiner explained: "In a compromise designed to quell criticism, church-affiliated employers (such as universities) do not have to directly provide contraception coverage....But that compromise did not satisfy Catholic critics."
It's laughable when CNN's Erin Burnett claims to police "sandbox" politics when she covers for Obama like she did Thursday. Like her colleague Brooke Baldwin did earlier, she stood by the Obama spin that he "compromised" with Catholics on the birth control mandate and attacked a Mitt Romney ad accusing him of waging "war on religion."
"[T]o say this President is waging a war on religion, I mean, the man goes to church. That's ridiculous," Burnett complained. "That ad does not add up," she stated, adding it "seems to be at best simplistic and at worst just wrong." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Three days after CNN slammed the dishonest ad from the pro-Obama Priorities USA super PAC that blames Mitt Romney for a woman's cancer death, Friday's CBS This Morning finally got around to covering it. But correspondent Nancy Cordes downplayed the liberal group's spot by also targeting a Romney ad that was "panned" by unnamed fact checkers, and claimed that "other Romney ads have taken Mr. Obama's words out of context."
Cordes also dredged up the famous and entirely accurate anti-Michael Dukakis Willie Horton ad from 1988 as an example of negative ads being "a hallmark of presidential campaigns for decades."
ABC on Thursday night finally broke the network's silence about a dishonest Obama super PAC ad that, essentially, accuses Mitt Romney of killing a woman. On Friday, Good Morning America's hosts and reporters vaguely, but haughtily, chided "both sides" for negative ads, as if they had been covering Obama's commercial all week. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the very end of a segment on Romney's possible VP choices, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos lectured, "It really seems to be, watching this time around, that both sides are willing to take all kinds of heat for getting accused of running misleading ads, but they're going to keep pumping them out there." What was Obama's ad? He didn't say. Karl, who on Thursday night became the first ABC reporter to note the misleading Obama spot, huffed about both campaigns: "You know, it's almost like they're not trying to be factual."
On Thursday Jackie Calmes (pictured) and Trip Gabriel, two of the New York Times's more slanted campaign reporters, teamed up to cover Obama's campaign trip to Colorado and Romney's trip to Iowa: "Obama Assails Romney on Women’s Health Care." Covering Obama in Denver, the Times credited the president's popularity among women, while the Romney coverage from Iowa emphasized a controversy in that state, underlined by an accompanying photo caption: "Mitt Romney, visiting Iowa, kept quiet about his opposition to tax credits for wind power."
Still working hard to avoid mentioning an outrageous Obama super-PAC ad that basically accused Mitt Romney of being responsible for the cancer death of a woman, Thursday's NBC Nightly News had the gall to instead promote pro-Obama fluff, as anchor Brian Williams gushed: "Knowing a hot product when he sees one, the President today visited the U.S. Olympic training facility in Colorado."
Williams made sure to inform viewers that Obama "Promptly took his shoes off, got on the mat, and said his grandmother would be proud there were no holes in his socks."
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's The Ed Show, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter - formerly of Newsweek - advised the Obama campaign to argue that, if Mitt Romney is elected President, "a lot of people will die" when Obamacare is repealed.
On Thursday's World News, ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl gave attention to the now-infamous Obama superpac ad that blames Mitt Romney for a man's wife dying of cancer, labeling it "the single most outrageous ad of the campaign."
Karl's piece was devoted to criticizing campaign ads from both sides, and, after a clip of President obama complaining about ads from Romney's side, the ABC correspondent continued:
On Thursday morning, the Big Three continued their complete blackout on the controversy surrounding a pro-Obama super PAC's new ad that points the finger at Mitt Romney for a woman's cancer death. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today minimized their political coverage. Even worse, CBS This Morning had former DNC head Ed Rendell on, but instead bringing up the hot topic, they discussed the apparently fascinating topic of federal infrastructure funding.
By contrast, liberal CNN slammed the Priorities USA ad on Tuesday and Wednesday, with The Situation Room, Erin Burnett's OutFront program, Anderson Cooper 360, and Piers Morgan Tonight all covering it. Even MSNBC's Mika Brzensnski hammered Obama operatives on Thursday's Morning Joe for playing dumb about the misleading ad: "That's just not going to pass. They're not telling the truth." (video below the jump)
For a network claiming to be non-partisan, CNN was quite partisan on Thursday when it used a Democratic talking point to fact-check a claim made by many conservatives. Anchor Brooke Baldwin focused on a Romney campaign ad claiming, as many conservatives are, that the Obama administration is infringing on religious liberty with its contraception mandate.
"One, this article is an opinion piece," Baldwin said of a headline in the ad accusing Obama of waging "war on religion," adding that "it came out actually before the President made this compromise back in February when he compromised putting birth control mandates on insurance companies and not on religious employers, right?" That was enough for her to ask if the ad was "misleading."
The Washington Post seemed to honor Obama-commercial star Joe Soptic in the news section Thursday. Nia-Malika Henderson’s article was headlined “For anti-Romney ads, Democrats call Joe the Steelworker.” The subhead: "New spot seems to tie his wife's death to plant's closure after Bain took over." Online, the headline was "Forget Joe the Plumber -- Meet Joe the Steelworker."
The Post couldn't find space for the Soptic story on Wednesday, even though Henderson interviewed him on Tuesday. Just like with the David Plouffe-scores-100-grand story this week, the Post headlines downplayed that Henderson found more details that make the Soptic ad look even more misleading:
For the second straight day, CNN blew the whistle on a nasty and misleading Obama super PAC ad that ABC, CBS, and NBC entirely ignored as of Wednesday night. CNN hammered the ad, which links Mitt Romney to a woman's death from cancer, each hour from 6 p.m. through 10 p.m. and twice grilled the man responsible for the ad, Bill Burton of Priorities USA.
"I think it is deliberately mendacious," stated CNN's Piers Morgan on Wednesday. "It is a deliberate attempt to lie and smear about Mitt Romney. And I find it contemptible. I mean I'm really appalled." The three networks showed no such disdain for the ad which will air in battleground states, because they failed to even mention it on Tuesday and Wednesday. [Video coming soon.]
What do Mitt Romney and El Salvadoran death squads have in common? Well if you’re the Huffington Post the answer is a lot. If you happened to be one of the few people who went to the Huffington Post website on August 8, you probably saw the following provocative and ridiculous headline: “Mitt Romney Started Bain Capital with Money from Families Tied to Death Squads.”
The article asserts that when Romney was looking for money to form Bain Capital in 1983, he turned to several Central American investors, investors who supposedly had ties to death squads throughout El Salvador. While the article accurately presents what the death squads in El Salvador were and who supported them, the connection to Mitt Romney is far from accurate or complete.
All three evening newscasts on Wednesday continued to ignore a super PAC ad by top Obama supporters that accuses Mitt Romney of, essentially, killing a woman. At the same time, CBS and NBC amplified the Obama administration's "war on women" talking point, playing up attacks from Sandra Fluke, who previously tangled with Rush Limbaugh over contraception. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
NBC and CBS uncritically parroted a vicious new campaign quote from the President: "They [Republicans] want to take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century." NBC's Andrea Mitchell cheered, "Playing a starring role for the first time in the campaign, Sandra Fluke, the former law student who became a lightning rod after Rush Limbaugh denounced her for supporting contraception rights."
At the same time that NPR was offended enough to go “truth squadding” on Romney’s advertisements attacking Obama's weakness on welfare, NPR’s Don Gonyea reported on Harry Reid’s unsubstantiated charges of Romney tax evasion by leaving the clear impression that Reid is effectively punching away at a Romney “vulnerability” and sees nothing to lose. He certainly can’t seem to lose with NPR.
On Wednesday's All Things Considered, NPR anchor Melissa Block introduced the story as “Don Gonyea reports on the increasingly ugly fight,” but that was applied to both Reid and the Republicans. But their online headline was “In Brawl Over Romney's Tax Returns, Harry Reid Gets Marquee Billing.” Like a boxer, get it?
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, as correspondent Andrea Mitchell filed a report recounting that President Obama is running ahead of Mitt Romney with female voters, Mitchell referred to liberal birth control activist Sandra Fluke's political activities as a push for "contraception rights" rather than more accurately relaying her desire to force health insurance to pay for birth control pills for women as if they could not choose to purchase such products on their own.
Anyone looking for how low this campaign rhetoric can go should just tune in to Current TV. Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer found that on the Stephanie Miller radio show (or Talking Liberally on Current TV), former MSNBC host David Shuster suggested Mitt Romney is so "socially inept" that he probably has some form of autism or Asperger's syndrome.
Shuster also suggested that since Ann Romney's horse Rafalca performed so poorly in dressage at the London Olympics, Mitt Romney should say "I bought a hammer to hit Rafalca over the head for getting, you know, 30th place after we took a $77,000 dollar tax write-off." Video and transcript below.
On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR followed the example of its Big Three counterparts in failing to cover a new ad from a pro-Obama super PAC that points the finger at Mitt Romney for a woman's cancer death. Instead, the liberal radio network sent correspondent Ari Shapiro to "do some truth squadding" about the Romney campaign's latest ad slamming the Obama administration on welfare reform.
Shapiro slanted towards the Democratic campaign's spin of the Romney ad, and concluded that the White House's move on welfare work requirements was "poor form by the Democrats, perhaps, but not the same at gutting welfare reform."
All three evening newscasts on Tuesday and the morning shows on Wednesday skipped a new Super PAC ad (run by former Obama spokesman Bill Burton) that blames Mitt Romney for a woman's death from cancer. While ignoring that, NBC, ABC and CBS made sure to highlight negative news for Romney or White House complaints about the Republican's new campaign spots.
By contrast, CNN on Tuesday demolished the Obama super PAC ad as "not accurate." Anchor Wolf Blitzer asserted it was "full of falsehoods." The spot misleadingly claims that Ranae Soptic passed away from cancer shortly after Bain Capital closed down the steel plant her husband worked at. In reality, she died five years later. Instead of investigating this, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Wednesday alerted, "Our new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds [Romney's] personal popularity sinking to a new low, the lowest of any presumptive nominee since 1984."
Everyone knows that politics can be an ugly business, but MSNBC’s Chris Matthews sunk to a new long on his Hardball program Tuesday night. Matthews’ outrage came from an ad put out by the Romney campaign suggesting that President Obama, "announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements," which, his administration most certainly did.
Since there's nothing factually assailable about the ad, Matthews decided that the best approach for criticizing the spot was claiming it was "Willie Horton stuff." Of course, the 1988 Willie Horton ad was also 100 percent factually unassailable, which is why that ad resonated against then-Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-Mass.). The issue at hand isn’t the accuracy of the ad but rather Matthews' insistence that racism is at play. [Video follows page break; MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday, ABC and NBC's morning shows omitted covering President Obama Monday night attack on Mitt Romney at a fundraiser in Connecticut, that the GOP presidential candidate is "like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood." However, Good Morning America and Today both reported on the "security scare" for the President, after two small planes flew into restricted airspace.
The same day, CBS This Morning played the clip of Obama's "Romney Hood" attack not once, but twice. Correspondent Nancy Cordes did note that the Democrat headlined a $500-a-plate fundraising dinner and how "the President headed to an even pricier fundraiser at the Connecticut home of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein."
In his Monday online column, "The Leak Police," former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller worked in a cheap shot against Mitt Romney while arguing that the Obama administration "without really setting out to do so, already surpassed all previous administrations in its prosecution of leakers, has begun new investigations into disclosures by The Times, Newsweek, The Associated Press and others." Keller wrote:
On Monday, Joan Walsh continued her crusade against conservatives when she authored an article entitled "Mitt's loathsome lie" for Salon.com. This piece, which was supposed to focus on the Department of Justice lawsuit in Ohio to block a law which extends early voting privileges to active-duty military members, evolves from criticism to a bizarre claim that Catholic bishops are part of a "military group" and have become "become an unregistered arm of the GOP."
Walsh began by introducing the issue: a bill by the Ohio legislature (which she is quick to accuse of being "Republican-dominated") to limit early voters to active-duty military members who would be unable to vote on Election Day. Obviously, this is a ploy by the GOP, which "keeps finding sneakier ways to disenfranchise those Americans who might be inclined to vote for Democrats" to swing the Ohio vote using "GOP resentment machine logic."
On Sunday's World News, ABC's senior Washington editor, Rick Klein, found it to be a "wildly unsubstantiated" and "irresponsible" claim for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to accuse Mitt Romney of not paying taxes for 10 years. He also asserted that Republicans are "taking the bait" by responding, suggesting that there is a "big risk" for the GOP in doing so.
CNN's media critic Howard Kurtz made the ludicrous assertion that reporters shouting loaded questions outside of a sacred site in Poland were still a "model of decorum" compared to Mitt Romney aide who cursed at them to "show some respect" for the place.
"So, the press doesn't look so great there in Poland, but the reporters were a model of decorum compared to Rick Gorka, the Romney spokesman, who later apologized for the kiss crack," Kurtz began his segment on Sunday's Reliable Sources. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In an unaired portion of an interview with British Prime Minister David Cameron meant to be featured on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer pressed Cameron to compare the London Olympics with the winter games run by Mitt Romney: "Do you think that Mitt Romney, the challenges he faced in 2002 in Salt Lake City, compared at all to what you faced here in London?" [View video after the jump]
After pushing Cameron to criticize Romney, moments later, Lauer went after Britain's head of Parliament for daring to modestly cut back on the nation's massive government spending: "You put in place some very difficult austerity measures that were controversial, hard for a lot of people to swallow. And yet, in the last quarter, your economy shrunk. So, was austerity the right path to take at that particular time, facing this very stubborn recession?"
Radio and Current TV host Bill Press got thoroughly exposed on CNN Sunday as a shill for President Obama.
After Press shamelessly uttered the typical liberal line regarding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) unsubstantiated claims about Mitt Romney not paying taxes, Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz smartly interrupted saying, "That's a Democratic talking point. That's a Democratic talking point" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It's becoming fairly clear that even some of the Obama-loving media think Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) went too far last week with unsubstantiated and unattributed allegations concerning presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's taxes.
On CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, host Bob Schieffer asked, "Isn't this kind of like Joe McCarthy back in the era when he said, 'I have here in my hand the names of 400 people in the state department who are communist?'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):