As the broadcast network morning newscasts on Thursday each interviewed former Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell regarding allegations that she misused campaign money, in the setup piece on each network, the correspondent failed to inform viewers of credibility weaknesses on the part of O’Donnell’s accusers and omitted O’Donnell’s contention that she did not use campaign money to pay for rent on her home. Additionally, only CBS’s Jan Crawford informed viewers that the group pushing for an investigation - the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) - is a "left-leaning" group, as NBC’s Norah O’Donnell vaguely referred to a "watchdog group," and ABC’s Rob Nelson did not mention the organization.
Although both accusers who used to work for the O’Donnell campaign were fired - one after less than two weeks on the job - all three networks failed to inform viewers of these details that would suggest they may be disgruntled, and NBC’s Norah O’Donnell on the Today show even suggested that the accusers have greater credibility because they, like Christine O’Donnell, are Republicans, while the NBC correspodnent failed to inform viewers that the group CREW is liberal. NBC’s Norah O’Donnell reported: "O'Donnell calls them phony, but it was members of her own party who first raised the issue. During this year's bitter primary battle, Delaware's Republican Party paid for robo calls where O'Donnell's past campaign manager accused her of breaking the law in her failed 2008 Senate bid."
To those who have spent time following new reports emanating from the Associated Press, it's not exactly a secret that many of the alleged journalists who work there are having difficulty with the idea that there will be a new Republican majority in the House during the next two years. A further annoyance is that many members of that majority, especially the newer ones, hold sensible, Constitution-based views inspired by Tea Party movement. But as supposed professionals, you would think that the folks at the wire service might try a little harder to avoid blatantly revealing their bias.
If the AP's Julie Pace was really trying to stay within the bounds of the patently obvious, she failed miserably, as the bolded words in the following paragraph from her 2:31 p.m. report (also saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) on President Obama's decision to delay submitting a budget to Congress until mid-February indicate:
ABC's Dan Harris gave a slanted report on Wednesday's GMA about the Catholic bishop of Phoenix, Arizona stripping a hospital there of its Catholic status: "This is a story that involves a nun, described as saintly; a Catholic bishop; a world-class hospital; and a controversy now being discussed across the country." Harris unnecessarily introduced the priestly sex scandal into his report, and played a sound bite from a doctor who thought religion should be kept out of medical decisions involving crisis pregnancies.
The correspondent began his report with his "saintly" superlative for Sister Margaret McBride, and continued by giving a brief summary of the controversy she is involved in, throwing in his line about the sex scandal in the process:
On Wednesday's GMA, ABC's Jake Tapper spun President Obama's victories during the lame duck Congress as a post-midterm "shellacking" of Republicans: "The President and Democrats...have passed a tax compromise package; repealed 'don't ask, don't tell;' and they stand on the verge of getting the START...treaty ratified. To hear...Senator Lindsey Graham tell it, it's his side that was shellacked."
Anchor George Stephanopoulos trumpeted the "White House winning streak" at the top of the 7 am Eastern hour, and continued that Obama was "poised for a major victory: passage of a nuclear arms treaty, just days after repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' and the tax deal, ending 2010 on a roll. Can it continue next year?"
Seven minutes later, the ABC News anchor picked up where he left off as he introduced Tapper's report: "We're going to move now to Washington, where Congress is wrapping up its business, just in time for Christmas, and the President seems to be on a rebound from the beating he took in the midterm. Jake Tapper's at the White House, and Jake, with the expected passage later today of the START nuclear treaty with Russia, the White House is racking up significant wins."
Time's Joe Klein, ABC's Christiane Amanpour, and CBS's Lesley Stahl were just three journalists to see an outrageously biased quote of theirs land in the Best of Notable Quotables 2010.
A panel of 46 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and expert media observers chose the winners, and our news analysts introduce them and a few others in this highlight lowlight reel put together by Media Research Center video producer Bob Parks:
CNN's Eliot Spitzer misleadingly claimed on Tuesday's Parker Spitzer that "President Obama has done everything to push the agenda for choice in schools" [audio available here]. In reality, the President's record shows that he has actually worked against school choice, particularly in the District of Columbia.
Spitzer and co-host Kathleen Parker brought on Stephen A. Smith, an African-American talk radio host, during the lead segment of the 8 pm Eastern hour to discuss his view that the black community should "play hard to get" with the Democratic Party, as the on-screen graphic summed it. Midway through the segment, the former Democratic governor of New York acted as the defender of the Obama administration's record on education: "It seems to me that President Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan- 'Race to the Top,' [is] embracing the things from Michelle Rhee's reform agenda, to Joel Klein's reform agenda, getting quality teachers into the schools - all those things."
Smith retorted strongly that the Democrats don't have a spotless record on the issue:
In the video at the ABC link, George Stephanopoulos's intro at Good Morning America describes Holder as "a pretty circumspect man," but that on the subject of domestic terror threats, "he doesn't seem to be pulling any punches."
Really? If that's the case, Holder must have said a lot of things which got left on ABC's cutting-room floor. That's because in the entire three-page story at ABC (it's easiest to prove the following by looking at the print version, which can only be obtained at the link), the following words never appear:
A funny thing happened on the way to finding yet another year of media emphasis on the use of "holiday" vs. "Christmas" in describing the shopping season.
Google News searches conducted this morning at about 7:30 ET on "Christmas shopping season" and "holiday shopping season" came back with the highest percentage of "Christmas" results I've seen in the six years I've been doing these searches. Not that the result is yet impressive, but at least it's an improvement:
Update (17:23): Monkey see, monkey do: MSNBC's Chris Matthews quoted extensively from this post on today's "Hardball" in a segment entitled "Whatever Happened to John McCain?" Matthews and his guests lamented McCain's swing to the right in 2010.
Hell hath no fury like Joe Klein disillusioned.
The Time magazine writer apparently had a bit of a liberal journalist man-crush on Sen. John McCain back when the Arizona Republican was reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats for illegal-immigrant amnesty.
Now post 2008, not so much, particularly since McCain has tacked to the right on immigration and border security and stayed there even after his successful reelection to the Senate in November.
Klein unloaded both barrels on McCain in a Saturday evening Time.com Swampland blog post entitled "Two Dreams, One Dead" (emphasis mine), calling McCain every label that popped into his head from "troglodyte" to "trigger-happy gambler":
On Monday's Good Morning America, ABC's George Stephanopoulos took a skeptical tone during an interview of liberal Senator Chuck Schumer concerning a new report from Senator Tom Coburn, which pointed out the 100 most wasteful federal government projects of 2010: "He [Coburn] says there are hundreds of billions of dollars of waste. Do you buy that?"
Stephanopoulos turned to Senator Schumer after ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl highlighted the findings of Senator Coburn's "wastebook" report, and led the interview with his "do you buy that" question. After the Democrat from New York gave his initial answer, the former Clinton administration official trumpeted the accomplishments of the outgoing liberal Congress in its lame duck session:
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you are- looking like you're going be [there] until Christmas, doing an awful lot of work during this lame duck session of Congress. I know you were critical of the President's negotiating in this tax compromise, but decided to vote for it. You've also now passed the 'don't ask, don't tell' [repeal], the food safety bill, and you seem to have a breakthrough on something you've been fighting for for years, this several-billion dollar bill to get health benefits to emergency workers for 9/11. Are you confident now that you have the votes to get this through the Senate, and will the House stay in session to make sure it gets passed?
In a Reuters story ("Venezuela assembly gives Chavez decree powers"), reporters Daniel Wallis and Frank Jack Daniel took note of outraged "opponents who accuse him of turning South America's biggest oil producer into a dictatorship," relieving them of the responsibility for stating the obvious themselves.
Romero's item at the Times is particularly galling in its borderline admiration for the tactics employed by the man who is now Venzuela's virtual dictator (bold is mine):
If you look at the description of yesterday afternoon's U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote Number 278 ("A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to clarify and improve certain provisions relating to the removal of litigation against Federal officers or agencies to Federal courts, and for other purposes."), you'd never know it had anything to do with illegal immigration.
But it did. It was a cloture vote (60 needed to get the measure to the Senate floor) about about the so-called "DREAM Act," granting de facto amnesty to a vast number of illegal immigrants for entering college or joining the military. It has been a Democratic Party-"inspired" initiative with heavy Republican opposition from the get-go. It could easily have passed if the Democrats had been able to hold their membership together while picking off a couple of squishy Republicans.
They got their squishes: Republicans Murkowski (AK), Lugar (IN), and Bennett (UT) voted yes. That should have given the measure 61 votes. But Democrats Baucus (MT), Hagan (NC), Nelson (NE), Pryor AR), and Tester (MT) voted no, while Manchin (WV) did not vote. The measure's 55-41 support was not enough to move it to the next step.
Today liberal Senate Democrats failed to garner the 60-vote threshold to end debate on and move to a final passage vote for the DREAM Act.
In covering the story, the news wire credited Republican opposition for "doom[ing]" the legislation, but the math doesn't work out when you look at the breakdown of the votes on the motion to end debate -- also known as invoking cloture. [h/t reader Kevin Davis]
Did you know that the "big new tax law" signed by President Obama yesterday "will save taxpayers, on average, about $3,000 next year," and that it will have "tax breaks for being married, having children, paying for child care, going to college or investing in securities"?
Don't spend that extra $3,000 yet, because it mostly won't be there. With the only major exception being the 2-point cut in the Social Security payroll tax, and of course barring new legislation the next Congress may take on, the tax laws for the next two years will essentially be the same as they have been since 2003, when Congress lowered marginal income, capital gain, and dividend income tax rates.
This lack of major change didn't stop the Ministry of Propaganda -- er, the Associated Press -- and reporter Stephen Ohlemacher from calling the new legislation "the most significant new tax law in a decade," when there's almost nothing "new" about it, or from trumpeting how much certain American families will "save" as a result.
CNN's Larry King displayed his liberal slant during an interview of left-wing celebrity Barbara Streisand on his program on Wednesday, his penultimate episode before retirement. King wondered why she was "singled out more than most...the right winger radio hosts will often refer to Barbra Streisand." The host also sought the celebrity's take on "this deal to permit the tax decreases for the wealthy."
King devoted the entire 9 pm Eastern hour to his interview of the Brooklyn native. At the bottom of the hour, as the two discussed her political activism for the left, the CNN host raised how many on the opposite side of the political spectrum do not hold her in high regard, and focused his attention on conservative talk radio:
Maybe we need to add the word "Palinography" to the dictionary. Its definition would be: "The process of preparing news photographs and accompanying captions about Sarah Palin in a deliberately negative light."
One example many will likely remember involved the amateurish wire service shoes-and-calves-only photos frequently seen during Palin's vice-presidential run.
CNN's Roland Martin went on a tirade against Rush Limbaugh on his "Washington Watch" program on TV One on Sunday, labeling the conservative talker a "right-wing blowhard" and "absolute idiot" for pretending not to know anything about the black-oriented TV network. Martin claimed that he was "more fair and sensible" than Limbaugh, but his list of guests alone betrays a definite liberal bias.
The CNN contributor went after the talk show host in his "Call 'Em Out" segment, which lasted just under three minutes during the 11 am Eastern hour program. In a teaser for the segment, Martin trumpeted how "that right-wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh needs some schooling about this show, 'Washington Watch,' and TV One. Trust me, I'm gonna give it to him."
During the actual segment (video available here), the TV One host led with his "absolute idiot" label for Limbaugh and played a clip from the December 6, 2010 edition of the conservative's show, where he needled Martin and his network (audio of Limbaugh available here):
Introducing her interview with presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner on Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl proclaimed: "...which John Boehner will show up as speaker, the deal-maker he's been in the past or the more hardline conservative of late who's aligned himself with the tea party that helped bring him and his party back into power?"
Stahl noted how Boehner and President Obama "may have exchanged more words via television than in person. And most of them have been, shall we say, unfriendly." She lamented how Boehner "was the one who urged Republicans in the House to vote as a block....Against all of Mr. Obama's initiatives – health care, the stimulus, and on and on." She added that "he escalated the attacks during the campaign" and later dubbed him "Mr. Hell No."
How can you cover a story about Uncle Sam's November Monthly Treasury Statement and the proposed Obama-GOP compromise on taxes and unemployment benefits without using the words "spending," "receipts," any form of "collect," or "unemployment"? It's a neat trick, but the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger pulled it off in his Friday afternoon dispatch shortly after the government report's release.
Instead of communicating apparently boring facts, Crutsinger concentrated his fire on the "tax-cut agreement" with a supposed "cost (of) $855 billion over two years" worked out by President Obama and Congressional Republicans. In doing so, he "somehow" failed to mention that the proposal includes a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.
Based on a comparison to this detailed analysis at the Hill, which reported yesterday that the proposal's "cost" is really $857 billion over 10 years, Crutsinger's two-year, $855 billion "cost" assertion, which does not include a detailed breakdown, appears to be wildly inaccurate.
Not that he legitimately deserves our pity, but imagine the difficulty of being Ben Feller at the Associated Press yesterday.
You've just attended a suddenly announced joint press conference with President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton to announce the latter's support for the former's tax- and spending-related legislative proposals worked out with Republicans. You witness the astonishing spectacle of the current Commander In Chief leaving his own presser to be with his wife at a Christmas party, followed by the former CIC acting as if he never left, holding forth on all kinds of things beyond the presser's original intention.
How do you frame this positively while the rest of the nation -- left, far left, and right -- gasps in utter amazement?
The following excerpt, which only begins to reveal the depth of Feller's feckless fawning, shows us how (especially over the top phrasing is bolded):
Kathleen Parker, CNN's resident pseudo-conservative, gushed over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, trumpeting how the San Francisco liberal stood amongst her fellow Democrats: "She's the 'mama grizzly' in this crowd, is she not?" Parker also stated she had "great admiration" for Pelosi, and even cheered her on: "Go, Nancy!" [audio available here]
The host, along with her on-air partner Eliot Spitzer, shared yet another moment of mutual agreement during the lead segment of their program, ripping President Obama for his proposed tax compromise with congressional Republicans. Spitzer wasted little time in launching his attack on the executive: "He is like a school kid who's been sent home again to redo his homework because it was that bad the first time around. And you know what? They're right. He embraced George Bush's economic policies, and the Democrats in the House are saying, start over."
Parker agreed with him to a point, but tried to emphasize a possible long term benefit for Obama:
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN's Brooke Baldwin continued her network's liberal spin on the proposed compromise between President Obama and congressional Republicans to extend the current Bush-era tax rates, treating it as government spending. Baldwin hyped the apparent "two-year cost of this new cut" and how letting taxpayers keep their money would supposedly add to the deficit.
The anchor raised the "cost" issue during an interview of Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee six minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour:
BALDWIN: Congressman, we're scratching our heads a bit over these numbers, and I'm hoping you can help me out here, because they're kind of all over the place. The latest we are getting is this two-year cost of this new tax cut, it's somewhere in the ballpark between $800 billion and $900 billion- that is just specifically the tax cut- and then, the top 2 percent would take up about 20 percent of that $800 billion to $900 billion pie. So, Congressman, how close is that to what you're hearing? How close is that to reality?
The latest meme among the legions of lefty Fox-haters is that FNC "distorted" or "skewed" the ObamaCare debate by instructing employees to call the "public option" the "government option" or some variation of that. The horror!
Of course none of the Fox-haters uttered a word of criticism when National Public Radio officially instructed employees to drop the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" labels in favor of "abortion rights opponent" and "abortion rights advocate," labels that clearly frame the debate favorably for the pro-choice position (who wants someone's rights denied them, after all?).
On Tuesday's Newsroom, CNN tried to spin the proposed compromise between President Obama and congressional Republicans to keep the current tax rates as a "package that increases spending dramatically." Correspondents Jessica Yellin and Joe Johns forwarded the liberal talking point that the Republicans were breaking their campaign promise to reduce government spending with this proposal.
Yellin appeared with anchor Brooke Baldwin just after the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour. After playing a montage of several clips of President Obama promising to "roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans," Baldwin stated that "it's not just the President, as we saw in the montage, breaking a promise. It's also- correct me if I'm wrong- the Republicans breaking a promise as well."
The liberal CNN correspondent replied with the faulty concept that letting taxpayers keep more of their income is government spending (thus treating all income as if it belonged to the government):
There are many areas where the establishment press's terminology preferences are significantly out of sync with everyday usage by the general public. To name just two examples, the ever so PC press routinely replaces publicly favored and more informative terms such as "illegal immigrants" and "Muslim terrorists" with "undocumented workers" and "militants." And of course, we can't forget the press's affection for "a certain late-term pregnancy-ending procedure," when it's really "partial-birth abortion."
Though the disconnect I'm about to describe isn't as serious as the ones just noted, there is another area where press terminology is at wide variance with the public's preferences. That would be in how to describe the shopping season that occurs from Thanksgiving until the end of the year.
For a while, the press's terminology choices seemed to be winning over retailers. But at least this year, that isn't so, as noted in an item at Advertising Age (HT to Tim Graham at NewsBusters, who tweeted on this about 10 days ago):
Even with Monday’s deal between President Obama and top Republicans, no American’s income tax rates will actually decline on January 1 (although, if the deal passes, workers will notice a modest reduction in their payroll taxes in 2011). Yet throughout this debate, the broadcast networks have insisted on framing the debate as about “tax cuts” and “tax breaks,” not about forestalling a tax increase that could jeopardize the weak recovery.
MRC analysts reviewed all 23 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about the tax debate from the start of the lame-duck session of Congress on November 15 through December 5, just before the GOP and Obama struck their deal.
Network reporters used the phrase “tax cut” a total of 71 times to characterize the issue at hand. CBS’s Nancy Cordes, for example, talked about “the battle over the Bush tax cuts” on the November 15 Evening News. Two nights later, NBC’s Chuck Todd related a new poll showing how “49 percent say don’t give the wealthy these tax cuts” — as if the “the wealthy” would be getting some new gift from the government.
CNN's Eliot Spitzer blasted Senate Republicans on Wednesday's Parker-Spitzer for their promise to hold up legislation unless the current tax rates are extended: "Every one of us...[is] being held hostage by 42 Republican senators." Predictably, co-host Kathleen Parker agreed with Spitzer to a point, and snarked, "I got stuck on the image of being held hostage by 42 Republicans- talk about a bad date."
The former Democratic governor of New York led the 8 pm Eastern hour of the program with his rant against the senators. After twice using his "hostage" term, which likens the Republicans to terrorists, Spitzer bewailed how "the day after the Republican leadership meets with the President, and says we want bipartisanship, they send a letter saying, no way, no how. We will do nothing until you give a tax cut to the rich. No START Treaty- something that has been endorsed by...every major Republican foreign policy leader...No unemployment benefits for those who are looking for jobs- can't get it with unemployment at 9, 10 percent." He ended this initial bombast with another cliched label for Republicans: "This is outrageous. This is not the way to govern. The party of no has gotten worse. I think it is a shame, and it is just beyond comprehension."
On Monday's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer downplayed the criminal factor in the release of hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic communiques by WikiLeaks, twice labeling the website as only a "messenger" for the documents. Both Lauer and NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell insisted the State Department "crossed a line" by ordering diplomats to spy on foreign diplomats at the United Nations.
The NBC anchor interviewed Republican Congressman Peter King seven minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour on this latest release of confidential documents by WikiLeaks. Midway through the segment, Lauer raised the espionage issue: "Were you surprised to hear that Secretary of State Clinton and her predecessor, Secretary of State Rice, asked their diplomats to, in effect, spy on diplomats at the United Nations, asking for things like credit card numbers, computer passwords, DNA, fingerprints? This does cross a line, doesn't it?"