On Monday, MSNBC's Martin Bashir tried to obscure the real policy issues in the contraceptive mandate row by harping on Newt Gingrich's past infidelities. On Wednesday, the afternoon host stocked his program with liberals who backed the Obama administration's position and complained Republicans were engaging in a "toxic waste of time" by calling for congressional debate on the contraceptive mandate.
Serving up some pro-Obama spin, CNN's Don Lemon asked Obama's HHS Secretary on Friday if the outrage over the administration's contraception mandate was not genuine, but rather ginned up by conservatives to hurt the President in an election year.
Lemon cited Obama as he noted that many Catholics use contraception, and then he asked HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius if she thought the widespread outrage over the mandate was "manufactured." Ironically, Sebelius disagreed with that assessment. [Video below the break.]
"This time, they went too far," MRC President and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell said of the Obama administration's rule to force Catholic institutions to violate their conscience on contraception, and he scolded the media for refusing to cover the controversy at first.
"The national news media has no understanding of what goes on in the Catholic church. This is massive inside the Catholic church, and think about how long it took -- it took CBS 10 days to do a story on this and they only devoted seconds to it," Bozell argued on the February 9 edition of FNC's Hannity, during his regular "Media Mash" segment. "It took NBC and ABC 17 days to arrive at this story. This is the biggest story dealing with an assault on religious freedom in the history of the Republic."
[MP3 audio here; video and additional transcript below the fold]
A "breaking" email I received from USA Today this morning is a definite sign of establishment press scrambling to give deceptive cover to an Obama administration mandate whose unpopularity continues to grow as more people become aware of it. It also shows the lengths to which the press will go to keep the relatively disengaged, which would include those who only primarily informed via email and other brief alerts without digging further, from encountering basic facts.
The email pretends that the president is about to announce a "decision" (as opposed to changing one), and refers to a "rule" without saying where the rule came from, or why:
If President Obama didn't already see a sea of red flags, a thunderbolt from Chris Matthews this morning should surely inform him that he has badly misstepped with his decision to force Catholic institutions to provide services that violate their religious principles
Appearing on Morning Joe, Matthews said that "even liberal Catholics are going to be proud" of Catholic leaders who stand up to Obama, and indeed that the Catholic response "may come to civil disobedience." Video after the jump.
On Thursday's The Last Word, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell disproved claims by liberals that eight states already have regulations that require Catholic employers to provide health insurance coverage of contraceptives for their employees, as the liberal host informed viewers that his staff had looked into the laws of these states and found the assertions to be untrue. (Video below)
Something extraordinarily rare happened on MSNBC Thursday.
One of the network's admittedly liberal anchors, Hardball's Chris Matthews, scolded a liberal guest, New York magazine's John Heilemann, for echoing Obama administration talking points (video follows with transcript and commentary):
After almost three weeks, CBS finally brought on a member of the Catholic hierarchy on Thursday's CBS This Morning to discuss the Obama administration health care mandate that forces Catholic institutions, like hospitals and colleges, to violate their consciences and pay for abortion-inducing drugs and contraception [audio clips available here; video clips below the jump]. On Good Morning America, ABC ignored the controversy for the second straight day.
It was also the second straight day that the CBS morning newscast brought on a Catholic cleric for his take about the prominent issue. By contrast, on Tuesday, NBC 's Today turned to their in-house radical feminist, Rachel Maddow, who blasted the completely warranted opposition to the new policy as a "pretty far-right perspective" and "an extension of anti-abortion politics."
Filed from CPAC 2012 in Washington, D.C. -- Shortly before noon Eastern today, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) walked through the bloggers lounge here at CPAC, answering a few questions from reporters and bloggers.
I asked Gov. Perry if, in light of the Obama administration's move to force Catholic institutions to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, he felt vindicated about his claims of an Obama administration war on religion. His response:
After 19 days of controversy, CBS Evening News on Tuesday finally got around to covering the growing dispute between the Obama administration, who wants to impose a mandate for sterilizations and birth control on religious institutions, and the Catholic Church and its allies, who see it as a violation of religious liberty. All of the Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Tuesday covered the issue.
On Wednesday morning, CBS This Morning was actually the only network morning show that devoted a segment to the "hot-button issue," as anchor Gayle King labeled it. NBC's Today show gave a mere news brief on the "uproar" over the new federal policy, while ABC's Good Morning America ignored it.
On the February 8 episode of MSNBCs Martin Bashir program, the host along with liberal Democrat Rep. Peter Walsh (Vt.) used the contraception mandate controversy to advocate the elusive liberal Democratic dream of a Canada-style government-run health care monopoly. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bashir started the interview -- better described as a Democrat strategy session -- to blast Speaker John Boehner for his opposition to the Obama administration’s health care ruling.
On Tuesday, NPR somehow thought a poll commissioned by abortion behemoth Planned Parenthood on the controversy over an ObamaCare birth control mandate was newsworthy enough to play up on its website. But later in the day, on All Things Considered, a show that reaches millions in the U.S., the media outlet spotlighted how the "new polling...suggests most voters, including Catholics, support the measure."
Correspondent Scott Horsley noted the "survey released today by Public Policy Polling," but completely failed to mention Planned Parenthood's name during his report. Horsley also highlighted a disturbing strategy from the pro-mandate camp without: "Supporters of the new policy are belatedly trying to refocus attention in a more popular direction, away from religious freedom and towards women's health care."
Even Chris Matthews, who famously gushed about the "thrill" Barack Obama gave his leg, is troubled by the President's "frightening" decision to force Catholic charities to provide birth control through health care. Discussing the issue on Tuesday's Hardball, the host sputtered, "...How can you make the [religious] teacher pay for birth control without losing their authority, their moral authority?"
Matthews didn't seem sure how to broach the subject. Talking to E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and Susan Milligan of U.S. News and World Reports, he warned, "It gets to that interesting point to me, which is frightening, when the state tells the church what to do." (Interesting?)
On today’s edition of Morning Joe, MSNBC gave a significant amount of coverage to the Obama administration’s federal mandate that religious colleges and hospitals cover contraception in their health insurance plans, regardless of whether doing so would violate their church’s teaching. To no surprise, co-host Mika Brzezinski was prepared for the discussion having talked it out with her handlers in the White House. [MP3 audio here]
Media critic Mollie Hemingway, a contributor to GetReligion.org, has an excellent post up today at CNN's Belief Blog about how the liberal media did a horrible job when it came to objectively reporting the implications of the recent Komen for the Cure/Planned Parenthood row. In fact, the media have shown themselves "effective partisans" by telling only "half the story," the half spoon-fed by socially liberal lobby groups like Planned Parenthood.
Be sure to check out the whole thing here, but below the page break I've appended some key excerpts (emphasis mine):
Is a Planned Parenthood poll really newsworthy? On Tuesday, NPR spotlighted a PPP poll commissioned by the abortion giant which found that a majority apparently supports a federal government mandate on birth control that violates the religious liberty of Catholic institutions. The network also trumpeted how "the poll...suggested that Mitt Romney...could pay a price at the polls" for opposing the mandate.
Writer Frank James began his article for NPR.org, "Poll: Majority Of Voters Support Birth-Control Mandate," by pointing out that the ObamaCare regulation was "controversial." But he didn't acknowledge that the poll was "done on behalf of Planned Parenthood" until the second paragraph, and left out any kind of ideological label for the left-wing organization.
Even when told that paying for birth control would violate the consciences of certain religious organizations, CNN's Soledad O'Brien wondered why the groups still shouldn't have to cover contraceptives for interested employees.
O'Brien cited statistics from the abortion-supportive Guttmacher Institute showing that even the vast majority of Catholic women use birth control. She then asked why so many shouldn't have the option to pursue such practices, regardless of what the Catholic Church teaches. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
After finally deciding to actually cover the controversy swirling around the Obama administration's attempt to force Catholic institutions to pay for birth control in health insurance plans, NBC's Today on Tuesday brought on leftist MSNBC host Rachel Maddow to dismiss all legitimate opposition to the move as a "pretty far-right perspective" and "an extension of anti-abortion politics." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While co-host Matt Lauer began by wondering if President Obama had "miscalculated on the issue," he quickly seized on Maddow's supposed "logic" on the topic: "...you hear people saying President Obama could suffer because of this in the election, and yet, you use your logic there, if the majority of women in this country say that they use birth control, could this backfire on the Republican candidates who are now making it the issue?"
CNN's blatant double-standard in covering religious and social issues was manifested in its lopsided coverage of two different stories over the past few weeks.
When prominent religious leaders condemned an Obama administration mandate as an attack on religious freedom, the network gave the controversy one brief mention in ten days. But when liberal outrage ensued over a cancer charity pulling its funding of leading abortion provider Planned Parenthood, CNN reported the story the next day and promptly followed it up with more coverage.
ABC, CBS, and NBC spotlighted the Komen foundation's about-face on funding Planned Parenthood on their Friday evening newscasts, and played up the apparent role of social media in getting the charity to reverse its earlier decision. On World News, ABC's Diane Sawyer trumpeted the "dramatic day for people power," while on Nightly News, NBC's Lester Holt concluded, "score one for the power of social media."
The Big Three outlets also covered the 180 by the breast cancer organization on their Saturday morning shows. Altogether, the networks added seven more reports to the 13 from the first 60 hours or so of the controversy, bringing the total to 20 since February 1, versus only three on the face-off between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration since January 20 (the MRC documented and highlighted this imbalance in a report on Friday; ABC and NBC added mentions on their Sunday morning political shows).
Of course, true to MSNBC form, Bashir ignored the legitimate policy and religious liberty implications of Gingrich's complaint to dredge up Gingrich's past moral failings, namely his adulteries, as a way of fatally wounding the messenger and hence, Bashir hopes, negating the message [MP3 audio available here; video posted below page break]:
When the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced on February 1 that it would no longer be donating to Planned Parenthood, the Big Three networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC -- rushed to the defense of the left-wing organization, which is the largest abortion conglomerate in the United States. Over the course of about 60 hours, ABC, CBS, and NBC emphasized the controversy with a whopping 13 morning and evening news stories.A Media Research Center study found that the soundbite count was loaded: 76 percent of the quotes came from supporters of Planned Parenthood (35 in total). Only 11 clips or statements came from Komen representatives or new allies.
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there she goes again.
On Sunday's Meet the Press, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow falsely claimed, "Rick Santorum says that he would like states to be able to make contraception illegal' (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, told host David Gregory, "You just managed to precisely repeat the Obama administration's line."
The subject being discussed was the new edict from the Department of Health and Human Services requiring religious organizations to provide contraception to their employees (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, regular panel member Jim Pinkerton of The American Conservative magazine cited an article by MRC analyst and NewsBuster Matthew Balan, who recounted the media obsession with the Komen foundation's decision to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, while the same media have completely ignored the brewing conflict between President Obama and the Catholic Church as the Obama administration tries to force Catholic employers to go against their religious beliefs and provide coverage for contraception in its health insurance plans. Pinkerton:
On Friday's Inside Washington on PBS, as the panel discussed the new Obama administration rule that requires even Catholic employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraception to their employees, both liberal columnist Mark Shields and conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer hit Obama for the decision, while NPR's Nina Totenberg claimed that there were valid arguments in both directions as she made a flawed analogy between contraception and immunization as a defense of the Obama position.
But the blunt criticism directed at Obama by the liberal Shields, who is also a longtime regular on the PBS NewsHour, was the most surprising part of the show. After host Gordon Peterson noted that some Catholic leaders had supported Obamacare, and asked if they are "being hung out to dry," Shields responded:
In his The Plum Line op-ed on page A19 today, the Washington Post's Greg Sargent saw the presence of "relatively conservative Democrats Mark Begich (Alaska) and Jon Tester (Mont.)" on a letter by Senate Democrats blasting the Komen Foundation for withdrawing grants to Planned Parenthood as "testament to how broad the opposition to this decision has become."
But a few keystrokes on a search engine reveal Sargent's journalistic and intellectual laziness. Both Begich and Tester drew 100% approval ratings for 2011 from NARAL Pro-Choice America. Both senators drew 100% approval ratings in the 2012 Planned Parenthood action guide. Tester has received endorsements from both NARAL and Planned Parenthood and, in a photo I've attached below the page break, is shown smiling widely in a photo taken at the 39th annual NARAL Dinner (via TheHill.com) held on January 26. Tester is pictured with NARAL president Nancy Keenan (center) and MSNBC contributor Karen Finney (right).
News of the Komen Foundation's backpedaling regarding its grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates prompted liberal journalist Andrea Mitchell to do a victory lap on her 1 p.m. Eastern Andrea Mitchell Reports program today.
Mitchell began by noting that under "mounting pressure," Komen founder Nancy Brinker released an apology, an excerpt of which Mitchell read before interviewing pro-choice Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) by telephone about the development. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
Komen hasn't bent to political pressure from Planned Parenthood and its left-wing political allies - they've snapped like a toothpick. And according to our statistical analysis, pro-abortion ABC, CBS and NBC News have undoubtedly played a strategic role in this pressure.