As NewsBusters has been reporting, NBC's Matt Lauer had an interview with President Obama on Super Bowl Sunday that was as soft as cream cheese that's been sitting in the sun for hours.
One such sickeningly squishy moment was when the Today show host let his guest get away with claiming he "ran an affirmative campaign" in 2008 without negative attack ads (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Morning Joe viewers Wednesday were treated to a truly marvelous demonstration of the media's hypocritical double standard concerning negative campaign ads.
As host Joe Scarborough told Donny Deutsch, despite Barack Obama in 2008 running more negative ads "than any other candidate in history...the mainstream media, every network, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, they all covered for him. Nobody wrote that story because they all wanted him to win" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
After Rick Perry ended his presidential bid on Thursday, the Associated Press's Chris Tomlinson opened his dispatch about the announcement thusly: "Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race on Thursday, endorsed his old friend Newt Gingrich and returned home to Texas, where the failed White House candidate has three years left to serve as the chief executive."
Based on much of his prior reportage, Tomlinson appears have a particular animus towards the Texas Governor. But tagging GOP presidential candidates or their candidacies as "failed" is not an aberration at the AP, while the wire service's omission of such tags on wildly unsuccessful Democratic candidates pointedly betrays the presence of obvious bias.
CNN's John King explained after the final South Carolina debate that he started by asking Newt about his "open marriage" because it seemed like the "elephant in the room." Former Bush aide Ari Fleischer dissented and said the economy is always the number one story, not just the political insider's hot story. So let's ask: when CNN hosted a Democratic debate in South Carolina on January 21, 2008, did they lead with a hot scandal or a personal peccadillo? Nope. They started with the economy.
It was the tenth anniversary of the Monica Lewinsky story breaking, and the debate stood out when Hillary slashed Obama on his relationship with shady financier Tony Rezko. But Monica and Clinton's impeachment never came up. CNN's Joe Johns led off by asking Hillary Clinton about just how generous her "stimulus" would be:
In the annals of fawning coverage of scandal-plagued Democrats, Michael Biesecker's Saturday morning report on John Edwards's illness and its effect on his upcoming trail on campaign finance violations surely must be among the worst.
Biesecker missed at least a half-dozen natural opportunities to tag Edwards as a Democrat, finally doing so in cryptic fashion in his 15th of 17 paragraphs. He didn't identify Edwards as the 2004 vice-presidential candidate until that same paragraph, and in doing so named who was at the top of the GOP ticket (George W. Bush) without naming who was at the top of the Dems' (John Kerry). The AP reporter threw obsequious virtual kisses at a man who betrayed his terminally ill wife while omitting two clearly relevant recent reports, one from an outlet which has scooped the look-the-other-way establishment press time after time in this sad, four-year saga. Here are several paragraphs from Biescecker's blather (some of the many clear opportunities to tag Edwards as a Dem and examples of over-the-top fawning are bolded):
In pointing out how Barack Obama only won in 2008 by a slim margin, so this year’s Republican nominee doesn’t have to win over all that many Americans, ABC’s Jake Tapper on Sunday morning listed the media amongst the factors “going” for Obama four years ago: “You had the media, perhaps, tilting on the scales a little bit.”
That’s an understatement, but a noteworthy realization when it comes from the chief White House correspondent for a major network.
Thursday’s lead story on the aftermath of the Iowa caucuses, “Romney Showing Financial Muscle For Next Round,” found New York Times reporters Jim Rutenberg (pictured) and Jeff Zeleny a little label-happy in Manchester, New Hampshire, using twelve variations on the “conservative” label in a 1,236-word story.
By contrast, back in 2008, the Times’s Michael Powell actually called the liberal Gov. Michael Dukakis a “pragmatist” and ultra-liberal politicians Sen. Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson “populists,” while calling Sen. Hillary Clinton a “liberal pragmatist” a grand total of once. In the same story, Sen. John Edwards was described as having wrapped himself in a “populist cloak.”
CBS revealed its double standard in its treatment of Republican presidential candidates versus Democratic ones on Wednesday's Early Show, as Jim Axelrod and Nancy Cordes pressed Mitt Romney about the challenges ahead in the race the day after he won in Iowa. By contrast, then-anchor Katie Couric gushed over a "humanized" and "emotional" Hillary Clinton the day after the 2008 New Hampshire primary.
After joking with Romney about his eight vote margin of victory at the beginning of the interview, Axelrod asked the former Massachusetts governor about the apparent slim rise in the number of votes he gained in the 2012 Iowa caucuses versus four years earlier: "I'm wondering just one number...six years you've spent out in Iowa, and I think you end up with 66 more votes this time than in 2008. Can you explain this challenge you had in Iowa about getting more traction this go around?"
At this time four years ago the liberal media was just starting its flirtation with Barack Obama in Iowa, while others still carried the torch for Hillary Clinton. On the eve before the Iowa caucus Chris Matthews, on Hardball, hoped that an Obama win in Iowa would send the message to the world that a "despised" America was truly ready to "change." For her part, then Today co-host Meredith Vieira was still caught up in Hillary hype as she touted that, "up close the Senator and former First Lady is natural, confident and warm."
On the January 2, 2008 Nightly News, NBC's Andrea Mitchell did her part to advance the notion of Obama's centrism as she sought out "a lifelong Republican, who twice voted for George Bush, now canvassing for Obama" as "a precinct captain" in Iowa. (video after the jump)
At the Associated Press on Friday, reporter Jim Kuhnhenn provided yet another reason why characterizing the wire service as The Administration's Press is perfectly appropriate.
In wake of President Obama's use of a "signing statement" objecting on constitutional grounds to congressionally-imposed "restrictions on his ability to transfer detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States," Kuhnhenn wrote that presidential candidate Obama "promised to make his application (of) the (signing statement) tool more transparent." No he didn't, Jim; as will be shown, he promised not to use them. Kuhnhenn's first three paragraphs, plus two later ones describing another signing statement matter, ran thusly (also note how the term "signing statement" was kept out of the story's headline):
Bill Clinton on Tuesday said the press favored Barack Obama over his wife for president in 2008.
Not surprisingly, he told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly that he didn’t believe the media were biased towards him when he first ran for president in 1992 (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
When you think about it, Obama-loving media members have a lot of gall accusing the current Republican presidential candidates of being unqualified for the job.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Friday nicely pointed this out to the Obama-supporting Donny Deutsch after he asked why "a strong, competent human being out of a country of 300 million people" isn't amongst the current crop of GOP candidates (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Philosophically, you'd think Rudy Giuliani might align more closely with Mitt Romney than with Newt Gingrich. So what's behind Rudy's recent statement that Gingrich could be the stronger candidate? And why did Giuliani go on Morning Joe today to trash Romney as "elitist" and "a man without a core, a man without a substance"?
Well, Rudy also reminded viewers that "I ran against him in '07, '08." And as Rich Lowry has observed, "in 2008, the other Republican candidates hated Romney." Just this morning, John Podhoretz tweeted: "Re: Rudy's attacks on Romney today. Remember: SOMETHING kept Rudy out of NH in '08 when it could have been a strong state for him." So Rudy's remarks could reflect the triumph of personal animus over political ideology. Video after the jump.
There was an astonishingly revealing moment on Sunday's 60 Minutes when President Obama said, "Some of the most damaging behavior on Wall Street, in some cases, some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street, wasn't illegal."
For what should be obvious reasons, CBS's Steve Kroft didn't bother asking his guest who created, voted for or signed the pieces of legislation that allowed this "damaging behavior on Wall Street" to be legal (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In running down the degree of religious seriousness of a few more recent presidents in an article portraying GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's heavy involvement with Mormonism, Semuels wrote (bold is mine):
ABC, NBC, and CBS all reported on former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich receiving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption on their evening news programs on Wednesday and their morning shows on Thursday, but only CBS's Early Show gave his Democratic affiliation. ABC devoted only 3 news briefs total to the conviction, while NBC Nightly News and The Early Show aired full reports.
News anchor Jeff Glor introduced correspondent Michelle Miller's report on the CBS morning program at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour by stating that "Rod Blagojevich is paying a very high price for corruption. Is it too high? In Chicago Wednesday, a judge sentenced the former Illinois governor to 14 years in prison"
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.
With the 2012 elections less than a year away, the liberal media are attacking President Obama's potential opponents on a number of fronts, but especially on religion. ABC, CBS and NBC have used religion in two ways, either painting the field of GOP primary challengers as a God Squad of religious zealots or playing up differences in their faith. Whether they're letting viewers know that "Rick Perry's gonna have to answer some questions about the people" he prays with, fretting that God "told Michele Bachmann," to enter politics, or devoting no less than 40 segments to the question of whether Mormonism is "a cult" or if "Mitt Romney is a Christian," the networks have repeatedly used faith against the GOP field.
Media preoccupation with the GOP candidates' faith is the exact opposite of how they covered (or didn't) candidate Obama's 20-year attendance at the church of a racist, anti-American pastor who subscribed to "black liberation theology," or Obama's half-Muslim heritage. The MRC's Culture and Media Institute studied network news reporting on the GOP candidates and religion from Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2011, and compared it to coverage of the Democratic presidential primary candidates over the same period in 2007. The discrepancy, in both the amount and tone of the coverage, was striking. Network reporters, so disinterested in the beliefs of Obama and his rivals for the 2008 nomination, took every opportunity to inject religion into their coverage of the GOP field. (CMI's key findings after the jump)
NewsBusters readers should be quite familiar with Ron Christie, the Republican strategist who loves to tangle with the liberal commentators on MSNBC.
Following his terrific encounter with Chris Matthews last week, NewsBusters spoke by phone with Christie about his experiences on the nation's most left-leaning cable news outlet as well as what it's like to be a black conservative in the year 2011 (video follows with transcript):
A frequent emailer who happens to be a retired and now-disgusted journalist sent me a link to an Associated Press item by Philip Elliott and which is so over-the-top that you hope that Phil is on the White House payroll. At least then he'd have a justification for a hit piece which might as well have been written by David Axelrod (well, maybe it really was).
By the time I got to "FACT CHECK: GOP field flubs, big and small," Elliott's excretion was far longer. I did find the original elsewhere and want to point to the statement which got my emailer appropriately exercised:
Recently on Morning Joe it was Jon Meacham suggesting that Barack Obama doesn't particularly like people and was in the wrong line of work. Today it was Tina Brown's turn, opining that PBO doesn't dig his gig.
Discussing PBO's ever-paltrier poll numbers, Brown opined that Obama "doesn't like his job." Video after the jump.
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday boosted a claim by Democrats that a recent Mitt Romney ad takes a line from a 2008 speech by then-candidate Barack Obama out of context. However, CBS noted at that time that Obama was using that line to counter a McCain campaign ad which played up the Democrat's association with left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers.
Anchor Erica Hill raised the controversy over the Romney ad towards the end of a segment with political correspondent Jan Crawford about the most recent Republican presidential debate. After playing the relevant part of the commercial, which includes a clip of Obama stating that "if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," Hill asked, "A lot of controversy over that ad, Jan. Why?"
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Saturday expressed his harshest criticism of Barack Obama to date saying amongst other things that he's got "the worst kind of a notion of the presidency."
Roughly three months ago, Matthews on the syndicated weekend program bearing his name smelled racism in the declining number of whites supporting the current White House resident (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CNN's White House correspondent Dan Lothian made headlines with his ridiculous softball question to President Obama on Sunday. However, as NewsBusters has documented, Lothian has posed such a soft question to Obama before, and has shown some liberal bias in his past reporting.
Lothian asked the President at Sunday's press conference in Hawaii if he thought the Republican candidates, who supported the practice of waterboarding, were "uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible." Fox News analyst Bernie Goldberg later called it "the most ridiculous question I have ever heard by a regular reporter from a so-called mainstream news outfit. Ever." [Video of the question below the break. Click here for audio.]
In Hawaii today, according to an Associated Press dispatch filed by Ben Feller, President Barack Obama is reported to have told supporters that, in Feller's words, "everything they worked for and that the country stands for is on the line in his 2012 re-election bid."
Well, if what those donors have "worked" for is an inside track to government money, and if what the country stands for is crony capitalism, the President is right. The following excerpt from Peter Schweizer's new book, "Throw The All Out," provides the details in just one commercial arena (via The Daily Beast; HTs to Doug Ross, Conservatives4Palin, Victory Chronicles, and Heritage; bolds are mine; extra paragraph breaks added by me):
Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts bashed her own network, Monday, decrying GMA's obsession with tabloid stories. In a Daily Beast article, she lamented, "I’ll be honest, it’s been an adjustment for me, the lighter fare...I want to be No. 1. I don’t want to sell my soul to the devil to be No. 1."
The Howard Kurtz piece contained several gossipy nuggets, including a possible icy relationship between Roberts and co-host George Stephanopoulos. Kurtz related that the two "almost never chat during the show when the cameras are off, with Stephanopoulos usually tapping on his BlackBerry."
The same network that treated then-candidate Obama with kid gloves about Reverend Wright demanded Rick Perry to explain how his campaign wasn't finished, in his interview on CNN's American Morning on Thursday.
Co-host Christine Romans scrutinized Perry over his forgetting one of the federal agencies he had promised to get rid of. However, she seemed to believe that his campaign was over because of the gaffe. "So my question to you is how is this not the end? Convince us that this is not the end of your – of your candidacy," she demanded of Perry during the 7 a.m. hour of CNN. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]