On Tuesday evening, NBC Nightly News offered a soft news brief on the scandal-ridden Veterans Affairs (VA) Administration by promoting President Barack Obama’s calls that the VA’s many issues will be fixed on his watch. In addition, substitute anchor Lestor Holt made quick mention of an inspector general’s report that the actions of the agency in delays in veterans waiting for care did not result in any veteran’s death.
What NBC Nightly News failed to mention in their one-sided report was that skepticism surrounding the VA remains as both widows of veterans who died awaiting care and one of the whistle-blowers who brought the problems at the VA to light are publically raising doubts about the report’s findings. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
On Monday night, the House Veterans Affairs Committee held a highly contentious hearing featuring Allison Hickey, chief of the VA’s benefits division and VA whistleblower Kristen Ruell. Despite the new details in the VA scandal, NBC has yet to acknowledge the hearings’ existence on any of its morning or evening news broadcasts.
The evening of Tuesday, July 15 saw only the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley cover the VA scandal, with both ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News ignoring the congressional hearing. During their Tuesday morning newscasts, ABC’s Good Morning America gave the VA hearing a mere 23 seconds whereas NBC’s Today continued the network's tradition of ignoring the testimony.
On Tuesday morning, NBC’s Today refused to cover the latest news in the Veterans Affairs scandal as the House Veterans Affairs Committee heard testimony Monday night from additional whistle-blowers who faced punishment from superiors for identifying allegedly manipulated response times for veterans who filed benefit and disability claims.
Coverage of the latest news saw only two minutes and 26 seconds of air time total with only 23 seconds of that from ABC’s Good Morning America. Meanwhile, CBS This Morning spent two minutes and three seconds on the story during the 7:00 a.m. hour. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
ABC and NBC continued their tradition of ignoring the latest controversy surrounding the Veterans Affairs department. On Monday morning, only CBS This Morning covered the news that the VA has problems paying veterans for service-related injuries with NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America ignoring the developments.
On the evening of July 14, only the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley covered the latest revelations while ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News were nowhere to be found.
Friday's World News on ABC glossed over the release of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Rob Nabors's report on the scandal at the Veterans Administration. President Obama had sent Nabors to look into the long wait times at veterans hospitals nationwide. Instead, the evening newscast set aside almost two minutes of air time to a woman, who is eight months pregnant, competing in a track and field competition.
On CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley led the broadcast with the "bleak picture" detailed in the new report. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted how Nabors "combined scathing criticism with ideas on moving the V.A. forward." Brian Williams used the same label as Andrews during his 24-second news brief about the story on NBC Nightly News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Wednesday's World News on ABC minimized any sense of the Obama administration's responsibility in the ongoing V.A. scandal, and spent the least amount of air time on the issue among the Big Three networks' evening newscasts. The program actually aired segments on pickpocketing and custom mobile homes than lasted about a half a minute longer each than their report on the scandal.
Diane Sawyer spotlighted how the President "weighed in – talking tough and talking action" on the "growing outrage over veterans hospitals." Jim Avila noted how multiple V.A. medical facilities in several states are now being investigated, and let the relative of deceased veteran decry the President's handling of the scandal. However, he didn't mention that the wait lists have been around for years – something that CBS Evening News mentioned in its coverage of the controversy: [MP3 audio from the ABC report available here; video below the jump]
Unlike ABC and NBC, CBS is the only network that routinely pushes back against the Obama White House during its morning broadcasts. However, since Christmas is two days out and the regular journalists at CBS News are on vacation, it appears that the hard-hitting CBS This Morning has decided to run promotional segments for ObamaCare.
Appearing on the network on December 23, reporter Wyatt Andrews offered up a glowing perspective of ObamaCare navigators featuring no conservative opposition, and calling the disastrous rollout merely “complicated.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Monday's CBS Evening News and Tuesday's CBS This Morning both underlined the continuing problems with HealthCare.gov, even after the Obama administration claimed "it met its deadline to make HealthCare.gov work smoothly for the vast majority of shoppers". Meanwhile, the network's competitors at NBC hyped the supposed positive news about the ObamaCare website.
Wyatt Andrews noted how the White House "says that 375,000 people tried to shop on HealthCare.gov," but soon touted how "that high a number created some problems". The following morning, Major Garrett reported that "the challenges are not over" for the online health insurance clearinghouse [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday's World News, ABC News correspondent Terry Moran acted like it was a big surprise that newly-elected Pope Francis stands by the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality: "Now, as the world comes to know him, it turns out, on many issues, Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
By contrast, CBS surprisingly reported on the continuing persecution of the Catholic Church in China on Friday's CBS This Morning. Though he didn't explicitly label the Chinese government as communist, correspondent Wyatt Andrews noted how "millions of the faithful worship in groups at home, praying in underground churches where religion, if practiced too openly, can lead to arrest." Andrews' report stands out from his network's biased coverage of the papal election.
Wednesday's CBS This Morning hyped a "groundbreaking" new report from federal government scientists that claims "the first-ever statistical connection between extreme weather and man-made climate change." Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted how the study "found that man-made heat made the Texas drought roughly 20 times more likely."
Andrews also hinted a connection between climate change and a recent heat wave, even as he explained that "the biggest reason for the record heat is the transition...from the La Nina weather pattern...to this year's warmer pattern, El Nino."
On Tuesday night, all three network evening newscasts ran with stories on a newly released government report blaming man-made climate change for recent extreme weather. ABC's World News led the charge, as anchor Diane Sawyer sounded the alarm: "Hot planet. The world is heating up. And for the first time, a U.S. Government-backed report ties that searing heat, those epic storms, to man-made global warming."
Sawyer cited a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a "major alert about the speed of climate change on this planet" and wondered if the study represented "a tipping point" on the issue. Turning to weather editor Sam Champion, Sawyer hoped there was "still time to do something." Champion proclaimed: "I would say is, now is the time we start limiting man-made greenhouse gases if we're starting to see that that is exactly what other studies are showing."
Chief Justice John Roberts may have angered conservatives with his decisive vote in favor of ObamaCare today, but he was, in CBS anchor Scott Pelley’s words, the “man of the hour” on all three network evening newscasts Thursday night.
ABC’s Terry Moran complimented Roberts’ lurch to the left, saying it “did give heart to many Court watchers,” who were worried the Court “was at risk of becoming just another hyper-partisan place... By joining the liberals, Chief Justice Roberts seemed to have stopped that.”
ABC, CBS, and NBC stayed true to their liberal slant and ignored the 164 rallies across the United States on Friday against the federal government's abortifacient/birth control mandate under ObamaCare. Religious leaders and conservative politicians, like former GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, addressed the tens of thousands of pro-religious freedom activists who attended the rallies. But the Big Three apparently didn't think this was worthy of coverage on their morning and evening newscasts.
By contrast, CBS played up the supporters of a group of left-leaning Catholic nuns during four on-air segments between May 30 and June 1, 2012. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews hyped how "hundreds of Catholics have rallied behind the sisters," and that "protests in support of the nuns have been held in almost 50 cities."