Tuesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to cover the latest development in the controversy surrounding the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Gayle King gave a 26-second news brief to Secretary of State John Kerry clearing four mid-level diplomats to return to duty, after they were placed on leave by his predecessor, Hillary Clinton [audio available here; video below the jump].
Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today devoted any air time to Kerry's move. Instead, the two programs set aside full reports to Sunny, the new dog adopted by the Obama family.
The thought of ObamaCare makes many Americans uneasy. The American people know that this overhaul of the health care system drives up the cost of health care, undermines the doctor-patient relationship and vastly expands the role of the federal government.
The national media’s coverage of the health care reform law has been anything but balanced. From the onset, the media have used emotional, anecdotal stories to help sell Obamacare. Newspapers have buried polls deep within their pages that show a majority of Americans’ favor a repeal of the health care program. And many media outlets have refused to cover the recent setbacks to this major health care overhaul.
On Wednesday at CBSnews.com, Sharyl Attkisson reported that "Three more weapons from Fast and Furious have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico."
A Google News search at 10 a.m. on ["Fast and Furious" guns] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets, past 7 days, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 26 relevant items. Very few (to be noted later) are from establishment press outlets.
NBC hasn't covered the ongoing Bob Filner sexual harassment scandal an almost a week, despite a fifteenth woman – a 67-year-old great grandmother – coming forward on Thursday, accusing the former congressman of making lurid comments to her. The last time that NBC's morning and evening newscasts covered the Filner story was on August 10, 2013.
On Friday, ABC and CBS's morning newscasts aired news briefs on the latest development in the Filner controversy, but both failed to identify him as a Democrat. Mere seconds before reporting on the San Diego mayor, CBS This Morning pointed out the Democratic party affiliation of Filner's former congressional colleague, Jackie Speier, who blasted the Defense Department on their handling of sexual assaults in the military. [audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday morning, neither ABC nor CBS labeled former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. a Democrat as they reported on his 30 month jail sentence. NBC's Today did not report Jackson's sentence on Thursday, but on Wednesday they covered it without identifying him as a Democrat.
"Jesse Jackson, Jr. will spend two and a half years in prison. The former Illinois congressman was sentenced Wednesday," reported Charlie Rose, co-host of CBS This Morning. ABC's Josh Elliot said on Good Morning America that "former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for misusing campaign funds, spending $750,000 on things such as a gold Rolex and 500 dollar dinners."
USA Today's "breaking news" email ("Ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. sentenced to 30 months") opened with the following opening sentence: "The nine-term Democrat from Illinois and son of the former civil rights leader had pleaded guilty in February to using $750,000 in campaign money to pay for living expenses, clothes and luxury items."
So it seemed like it would be a waste of time to click through to confirm that Jackson would be tagged as a Democrat in the story itself, right? Wrong. (UPDATE, Aug. 15: USAT revised the story and included a couple of Democrat references later in the day. The original as it appeared when this post was written is here.) USAT's Fredreka Schouten applied the "Democrat" tag once — to describe Mel Reynolds, the disgraced Congressman Jackson replaced in 1995, in her 18th paragraph. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
CBS This Morning and NBC's Today couldn't be bothered to give Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s political affiliation as they devoted just 35 seconds of air time on Wednesday to his upcoming sentencing. Both morning newscasts merely identified the onetime Democratic politician as a former congressman.
The same morning, ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story about Jackson, who pled guilty in February 2013 to misusing campaign funds to buy big ticket items, such as a $43,000 Rolex watch, and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
While NewsBusters really doesn’t target op-eds, especially ones that are printed in the New York Times, egregiously absurd arguments merit exposure and ridicule. Enter Frank Bruni's August 14 column, wherein the Times scribe discussed how our culture facilitates the objectification of women.
Curiously, Bruni buried longtime Democratic politician Bob Filner, who saw women as objects he could grope, towards the end of his column. The decay occurring in our popular culture is a valid point Bruni makes, but he hurtled off the rails when he had this to say about ultrasound laws:
Liberal Piers Morgan is still fond of the twice-disgraced Anthony Weiner and is wondering if he'll make another comeback after the present New York mayoral race.
"Having said all this, there's something about Anthony Weiner I can't help liking. He's a very intelligent guy," Morgan admitted on his Monday show. "I've seen him make speeches at big events where he's brought the house down and been very funny and very charming. And whenever I've had to deal with him myself, I've always liked the guy." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
John Blackstone promoted Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential run on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, and minimized the ongoing questions about her leadership before, during, and after the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. For opposition, Blackstone merely noted that "a new ad, just released by the GOP, criticizes Clinton's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi", without further explaining the issue.
The correspondent also buried the staunchly pro-abortion and partisan stance of Emily's List. He vaguely labeled the pro-Democratic PAC a "group that promotes women candidates."
For more than two weeks, President Obama and his spokesmen have scoffed at the various investigations of potential wrongdoing surrounding his administration, belittling them as “phony scandals” that have “distracted” Washington. But a Fox News poll released Thursday finds that even among Democrats, Obama’s “phony scandal” is falling flat, discovering that “voters across the partisan spectrum” say Benghazi, NSA eavesdropping, the IRS targeting of conservatives, and the seizure of journalists’ phone records as serious matters.
As for the three broadcast networks, they have essentially buried the administration’s not-so-subtle (and apparently ineffective) attempt to push these scandals away. Not only did all three broadcast networks skip the Fox poll this morning, ABC and NBC have done Obama the apparent favor of never reporting his “phony scandal” mantra on either their morning or evening news broadcasts, and giving it just a passing mention on their July 28 Sunday talk shows.
Late Thursday, news broke of the State Department ordering numerous U.S. embassies across the Middle East closed on Sunday, August 4 due to terror threats from Al Qaeda. While the Big Three network evening newscasts all covered the important development that night, not one of them made any mention of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the perpetrators of which remain at large.
By Friday morning, the networks managed to add brief mentions of Benghazi to their reporting. On NBC's Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell noted: "... in the aftermath of Benghazi, the State Department is not taking any chances....Amidst ongoing turmoil across the Middle East, from Cairo's Tahrir Square to the civil war in Syria, and past attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts, from Benghazi, Libya last year..."
If a Republican were ensnared in a sex scandal, do you think MSNBC would have failed to mention his party and instead featured a photo of him with a smiling Nancy Pelosi? But the "Lean Forward" network might well have hoodwinked unwary viewers this morning into thinking that Democrat Bob Filner is a Republican.
Not merely did today's Morning Joe failed to identify Filner—the San Diego mayor with the octopus hands—as a Democrat. Instead, the show featured a photo of Filner with a smiling . . . . John Boehner. Guess the MJ staff couldn't find one of former congressman Filner with fellow Californian Pelosi. H/t NB reader Ray R. View the photo and video after the jump.
"It took the networks 13 days to run a single story" on the fact that Obama-appointed IRS chief counsel William Wilkins was "getting direct reports" on the IRS's review of conservative/Tea Party applications for 501(c)(3) status, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center (MRC) founder Brent Bozell told Blaze TV's Andrew Wilkow on the Tuesday edition of his Wilkow! program. Likewise, it took 15 days for the mainstream media to get around to covering the Obama/Holder Justice Department was "refusing to investigate any government employees who were improperly accessing tax records."
"This goes on and on and on. These are all breaking news stories that are leading to one of the largest scandals in modern American history where the most feared arm of government is completely abusing its rights, and it looks like it's coming from the Obama administration, and there's no coverage," Bozell concluded. [watch the full segment below the page break]
ABC and CBS both failed to point out San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's Democratic party affiliation on their Wednesday morning newscasts. Good Morning America devoted just one 17-second news brief to the ongoing Filner scandal. CBS This Morning didn't do much better, with two news briefs on the former congressman. NBC's Today didn't set aside any air time to the controversy.
The NBC morning show did one-up its Big Three competitors in identifying Anthony Weiner as a Democrat. Stephanie Gosk underlined the "Democratic drums are beating loudly for Anthony Weiner to step out of race for New York mayor", and noted the scandal-plagued politician's fourth-place standing among "likely Democratic primary voters". CBS This Morning and GMA merely labeled Weiner a "former congressman".
On Tuesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes recalled that "my mouth opened" and declared that "I could not believe this was in the paper," as he recounted that liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd raised questions about whether former Rep. Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, has been tolerant of her husband's behavior because of her Muslim upbringing.
Hayes recalled his bafflement during a segment devoted largely to attacking FNC's Sean Hannity and his guests for raising similar questions on his weekend special, Saving America. Notably, Rush Limbaugh was attacked on Monday's PoliticsNation by host Al Sharpton for similarly raising the topic.
Was this a case of Donny Deutsch expressing sincere sentiments—or wanting Weiner out of the way to help Hillary?
Whatever the explanation, the ad man unleashed on Huma Abedin on today's Morning Joe, saying he was "disgusted" by the spectacle of her press conference, accusing Abedin of being an "opportunist" who wants to be First Lady of New York. A much more understanding Mika Brzezinski said that Abedin's performance was "amazing," "extraordinary" and "really brave." Video after the jump.
The situations involving disgraced and relapsed former Congressman Anthony Weiner and Ben Quayle, who hasn't been in politics for about a year, are very analogous. Just ask Katie Glueck at the Politico. Oh, and the the Weiner situation is also very analogous to that of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who has returned $21,000 worth of gifts he should never have taken from a businessperson. Just ask Dana Milbank at the Washington Post.
There appears to be some kind of unwritten rule that you can't attempt to analyze a Democrats' scandalous involvement without dragging a Republican into the mix, no matter how distant or irrelevant the connection. First, let's look at Glueck with Quayle and Weiner (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Pretty much all you need to know about the current negligent media culture in Washington is summed up in two items involving the Politico's home page this morning -- one which is there, and one which isn't.
The featured story at top of the home page by Byron Tau is about infighting between "Big Marijuana" -- it seems like "Big Pot" would be a more succinct nickname -- and those who want to extend recent electoral victories in legalizing the drug. What isn't there on the home page, as confirmed in a word search, is any story with a headline or tease containing "IRS."
The establishment press's general refusal to cover clearly newsworthy developments in the Obama administration scandal involving the targeting of conservative, tea party, prolife and other groups by the Internal Revenue Service has been so negligent and blatant that several leading conservatives, including the MRC's Brent Bozell and talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, called it out in an open letter earlier this week.
Consistent with the rest of their colleagues, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, appears to have had no substantive story on the scandal since July 18 -- and that one was about primarily Democrats beating the false meme that progressive groups were supposedly targeted similarly. The AP's negligence extends to the tax agency's shocking level of non-cooperation with House Ways & Means Committee investigators, as will be seen after the jump.
Norah O'Donnell had a memory lapse on Friday's CBS This Morning, as she expressed her disgust over San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's alleged sexual harassment of women. O'Donnell exclaimed, "I know we shouldn't editorialize, but this behaving badly – it's gone overboard at this point." [audio available here; video below the jump]
The anchor apparently isn't self-aware, because she has regularly injected her personal commentary into her journalism, particularly when she interviews conservatives/Republicans. Her track record during her first several months on the CBS morning newscast:
Scott Pelley devoted a minute and a half segment to the IRS scandal on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, the first time that the Big Three newscast had mentioned the issue in a month. Pelley asked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew if "any political appointee had oversight of the decisions that were made around the Tea Party applications", and reported on some of the recent developments in the scandal.
Mere hours later, Thursday's CBS This Morning didn't even cover the IRS portion of the Lew interview, but did play a clip of Pelley asking the Cabinet official about the economy.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, CNN followed NBC's narrative of connecting Huma Abedin to her "mentor" Hillary Clinton in dealing with husbands' sex scandals.
CNN repeatedly made the connection in a positive light, touting Abedin as "incredibly politically sophisticated," "intelligent," and "discerning" from her years working for Clinton. CNN insisted that Abedin would use the Clinton "playbook" to overcome her husband's scandal. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CBS Evening News stood out among the Big Three evening newscasts on Tuesday in their failure to cover former Rep. Anthony Weiner's admission that he sent lewd text messages even after his resignation in 2011. The CBS show apparently deemed the British royal family's new baby, the doping scandal in baseball, and whale watching to be more important news items. ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News both devoted air time to the Weiner story.
The network finally reported on the latest revelations about the disgraced politician on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, but failed to point out his Democratic affiliation. Jan Crawford merely identified him as a "former U.S. congressman turned New York City mayoral candidate."
Despite devoting three segments to Anthony Weiner's latest sexually explicit photos and texts, Good Morning America on Wednesday failed to identify the New York politician as a Democrat. Instead, an ABC graphic simply called him a "mayoral candidate" for office. The previous evening's World News deemed Weiner a "former congressman" and a "mayoral candidate."
Reporter Jeff Zeleny delicately described Tuesday's bizarre press conference: "It was a real human drama when his wife stepped forward to deliver a very public testimonial." Zeleny told viewers that Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife, "is defending her man and his candidacy." In a follow-up segment, Linsey Davis focused on Abedin. A graphic declared, "Standing By Her Man: Wife Stands By Weiner in Sexting Scandal."
When on today's Morning Joe, Obama spokesman Jay Carney had the chutzpah to call the IRS mess a "phony scandal,"Joe Scarborough ripped into him, calling Carney out for using "talking points," instructing him to "answer my question" and informing Carney that "I'm not somebody you talk down to from your podium." Ouch! H/t NB reader cobokat.
Scarborough reminded Carney that he hadn't told the truth when he initially claimed that the scandal was limited to low-level employees in the IRS Cincinnati office, that it now appears that it may go at least as high as the IRS Chief Counsel, appointed by President Obama, is involved. Carney continued to slough off the scandal, claiming it was a diversion and that the President wants to focus on the economy, blah, blah, blah. Things got heated, as you'll see from the video, after the jump.
For some reason, press reports I've seen thus far dealing with revelations that disgraced former congressman and now-New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner continued "sexting" after his June 2011 resignation won't directly tell us that he didn't stop sexting -- assuming we've heard the last of this, which is by no means certain -- until November 2012 or January of this year, 4-6 months before he declared his Gotham mayoral candidacy. Additionally, he kept communicating with one of his partners, while supposedly not sexting, until April, the month before he began his run.
The four-month time frame can be inferred from the first excerpted paragraph after the jump in an Associated Press report by Jonathan Lemire (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner, now a New York mayoral candidate, admitted Tuesday to sending out lewd photos of himself even after he resigned from Congress for doing so back in June of 2011.
During the previous scandal, up until Weiner's resignation, members of the media moved from casting the evidence against him as a smear job to acknowledging his mistake while imploring him to stay in Congress to mourning the "tragedy" of his downfall and resignation and insisting he was too talented to stay out of politics for long.
Would Eliot Spitzer be getting such a boost from CNN if he were a Republican? The former Democratic New York governor resigned in 2008 over a prostitution scandal, but less than three years later he snagged a prime-time show on CNN. On Wednesday night he enjoyed a nice promotion from CNN's Piers Morgan as he runs for New York City comptroller.
Morgan largely avoided Spitzer's 2008 scandal – except to use it for his "comeback" narrative. "This is all part of a comeback. You are the 'Comeback Kid.' Do you like being the 'Comeback Kid?'" he asked Spitzer. [Video below the break. Audio here.]