Lois Lerner, the IRS figure at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal, once again pleaded the Fifth on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In more than 20 minutes of testimony the former director of IRS exempt organizations refused to answer Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on nine different occasions. The hearing also ended with a bit of fireworks between Issa and Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings.
So now that networks have dramatic footage of a government official repeatedly taking the Fifth and a heated clash between congressmen, will they actually report on the IRS scandal? [Video after the jump]
Journalists and networks hyped the so-called Republican "war on women" during the 2012 election. But ABC and CBS on Wednesday skipped the claim that liberal Congressman Alan Grayson committed domestic abuse against his estranged wife. Only Today show journalist Kristen Welker on Wednesday revealed, "Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson is denying allegations that he shoved his wife, Lolita Grayson." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
She continued, "According to court documents filed Monday and obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, Ms. Grayson accused her husband of showing up at her Florida home unannounced over the weekend and then deliberately and with force pushed her very hard against the door, causing her to fall to the ground." CBS This Morning and ABC's Good Morning America ignored the accusations. Tuesday night's evening newscasts did as well.
President Obama will be enacting yet another delay for ObamaCare, but the networks were silent about the prospect of it on Tuesday night. The administration is set to allow insurers to keep offering health plans that don't meet ObamaCare standards, and the delay will be tailored around the November Congressional elections.
The Hillclearly saw the move as political – "easing election pressure on Democrats" – since it would avoid the "firestorm" of many health plans being cancelled right before the November elections. CBSNews.com reported the news, but none of the network evening news casts touched the story on Tuesday.
On Tuesday evening, ABC again skipped its own poll showing voter disapproval of both President Obama and Senate Democrats up for re-election.
Obama's approval rating was underwater at 46 percent, while voters preferred Republican senate candidates to Democrats 50-42. The poll noted that "Anti-incumbent sentiment is largely economic in nature; as such, while there's dissatisfaction with both parties, it's pointed more at the Democrats, given their control of the big chair at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave."
The three network morning shows combined gave less than two minutes of air time to President Obama's proposed 2015 budget on Tuesday, though they all managed to highlight how the plan "will cut taxes for thirteen and a half million working Americans" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]. What the NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts all ignored was that the debt projections under the President's budget were off by $2.7 trillion compared to recent numbers released by the Congressional Budget Office.
As the Washington Post pointed out on Tuesday, "[Obama's budget] forecasts a dramatic reduction in deficits over the coming decade. The request paints a much rosier debt scenario than a report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office a month ago."
The journalists at World News on Monday and Good Morning America on Tuesday ignored the results of their own poll, a survey finding Democrats in deep trouble for the 2014 midterms. It's not as though GMA was packed with hard news and there was no available time. The morning show devoted an astonishing 18 minutes to promoting the new season of Dancing With the Stars. ABC News labeled this a "GMA dance party."
According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, "...Republicans [are] in a stronger position than Democrats in the states with Senate races this fall and more than holding their own in the battle for control of the House." Writers Dan Balz and Scott Clement explained, "In the 34 states with Senate races, 50 percent of voters say they favor Republicans and 42 percent favor Democrats."
No one should ever argue that when a morning show like ABC's "Good Morning America" doesn't cover serious news events -- from Obama scandals to boring debates about the farm bill -- it's because it has too many important stories to cover.
In the second hour of Thursday's show, ABC wasted three minutes promoting its own Oscar show for Sunday night with parody trailers of the Best Picture nominees. They plopped George Stephanopoulos into "The Wolf of Wall Street," but most of the time was devoted to the film "American Hustle," with anchor Josh Elliott in the Bradley Cooper role and badly man-dressed Lara Spencer in the Christian Bale role:
Governor Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) just vetoed SB 1062, and ABC’s This Week hyped the “spirited nationwide debate” that surrounded the governor’s decision. The bill would have allowed private businesses to deny service to certain individuals, such as baking a wedding cake for a gay wedding, on religious grounds.
Despite the cases across the nation where private businesses have been sued over the issue, the media was overwhelmingly biased in their coverage of the bill, portraying SB 1062 as an anti-gay bill without ever giving the religious freedom argument consideration.
Ben Affleck, an actor who himself admitted that he was “not a Congo expert” was given star treatment on Sunday’s This Week w/ George Stephanopoulos. Earlier this week, the liberal actor testified before Congress on the war-torn nation of Congo, and the folks at ABC couldn’t have been happier to obtain an exclusive interview with him.
Host George Stephanopoulos cheered how “Ben Affleck scored some bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill this week...The Oscar winner’s traveled there nine times for his Eastern Congo initiative. And as he told Martha Raddatz, that mission has changed his life.”
Perhaps because President Obama is looking pitiably weak in his mano a mano with Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine, ABC News chose to bury the story during today's Good Morning America. Incredibly, the show-opening teaser didn't mention the Ukraine--but did highlight the latest on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. As the program unfolded, and before saying a word about the Ukraine, GMA inexcusably chose to air segments on rain in California, snow in the North, a laser being shined into a plane's cockpit, an airplane bird strike, the arrest of a Mexican drug lord, the cause of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, and Mardi Gras in Brazil.
When GMA finally got around to the most serious story in the world right now, it did its best to protect President Obama. Two nights ago on FNC, Charles Krauthammer did a devastating take-down on President Obama's feeble statement, saying “the Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement. I find it rather staggering.” So how did GMA's reporter Alex Marquardt describe the Obama statement? As a "harsh warning." Gag me with a kalashnikov, and view the video after the jump.
On Friday, the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows all happily touted a White-House-produced video of President Obama and Vice President Biden jogging through the executive mansion to promote the fourth anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign. This was the same week that the networks refused to cover an Obama administration report showing two-thirds of small business employees would see a spike in health care premiums under ObamaCare. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the video on NBC's Today, co-host Tamron Hall explained: "When the First Lady was on with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, she actually made the pledge that if everyone uploaded videos and pictures of themselves moving around, that perhaps she could have some influence and get the President and the Vice President to show us how they get moving. Well, overnight, developing news, take a look."
The limited government, anti-bailout Tea Party movement party turned five years old on Feb. 27. They marked the occasion with an event in Washington, D.C. including speakers Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Sen. Rand Paul, R- Ky., and Sen.Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
But after the five years of the media painting tea partiers as “wingnuts” and “racist” time and again, ABC, CBS and NBC went virtually silent on the matter that day.
All three networks boosted President Obama's image on Thursday evening by touting his new program for young minorities and his "personal and emotional" testimony at its launch.
"A personal and emotional event at the White House for the President today, as he spoke before a star-studded East Room audience and launched a program aimed at giving young men of color a shot at success," NBC's Brian Williams reported on the Nightly News. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Even leftist groups like the ACLU and Sierra Club are worried about being crushed by the IRS, but the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) aren’t telling their viewers about it. The comment period for new IRS rules, that would regulate political speech of groups on the left and right, ends on Thursday and it turns out the left is now fearing they will join the Tea Party in being targeted out of existence by the IRS.
On Tuesday, in an opinion piece headlined Liberals vs. the IRS, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) observed that: “The media have remained quiet about the IRS targeting of conservative nonprofit groups and even quieter about the proposed IRS rule to restrict their political speech.” The editorial writers then pondered: “Maybe our colleagues will snap out of their slumber now that the objections are coming from liberals.” The resounding answer to that question from ABC, CBS and NBC is NO.
After spending days denouncing a religious freedom bill in Arizona as "anti-gay," all three network morning shows on Thursday hailed protester celebrations following Governor Jan Brewer vetoing the proposed legislation. Fill-in co-host Lara Spencer led off ABC's Good Morning America by excitedly announcing: "Vetoed! Protesters cheering the Arizona governor's decision to strike the controversial bill that would have given businesses the right to deny service to gay people for religious reasons." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Cecilia Vega described the joyous atmosphere: "Boy, a lot of celebrating here overnight....And that very moment outside Arizona's capitol, from cheers to tears." Vega talked to one protester who compared the vetoed bill to segregation: "Nobody rides at the back of the bus and everybody sits at the lunch counter. We fought that battle once and that's what this battle is. We shouldn't have to do this again and I hope this is the last time."
On Tuesday, all three network morning shows touted "pressure mounting from all sides" for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto an "anti-gay" bill designed to protect religious freedom. On NBC's Today, correspondent Mike Taibbi declared: "Governor Brewer actually has until the end of the week to make her decision. But the pressure has been mounting to finally kill the bill that at the very least has reignited the culture wars." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts announced: "Governor Jan Brewer, under a lot of pressure to veto the measure that would give businesses the right to refuse service, citing religious beliefs. Protests overnight right outside the Governor's office..." In the report that followed, correspondent Cecilia Vega stood amongst those protestors and proclaimed: "...they promise to be out here every night until this bill is vetoed."
While CBS and ABC have awoken to the "embarrassing" performance of Barack Obama's wealthy donors turned ambassadorial nominees, NBC is still skipping the details of the men and women who have flubbed confirmation hearings. Even Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, admitted on Wednesday: "Critics say that too many of the plumb jobs are going to political cronies who have more cash than competence..." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Just prior to playing clips of multiple Obama nominees, all of whom donated at least $500,000 to the President, reporter Jon Karl marveled, "Sometimes it can be downright embarrassing. President Obama's pick to be ambassador to Argentina has never set foot in the place." Footage included the nominee to Hungary, former soap opera producer Colleen Bell, appearing baffled after being asked about America's strategic interest in the country.
At the Associated Press on Friday, Chris Tomlinson wrote a story of national significance ("State officials investigating Democratic activists") which the wire service appears not to have ever carried at its national site.
It is nationally significant because the establishment press, both in print and over the airwaves, has chosen to make the Lone Star State gubernatorial candidacy of Democrat Wendy Davis a national matter. However, continuing a pattern going back several months (examples here and here), when negative matters relating to her campaign or to those assisting it surface, all of a sudden we're supposed to believe nobody outside of Texas cares.
On Tuesday's Nightly News, NBC's Brian Williams outright framed the Arizona bill protecting the religious freedom of business owners as akin to segregation and Jim Crow laws. CBS and ABC at least gave the supporters' view, reporting the fight as between religious freedom and gay rights.
"Good evening," Williams began the news cast. "It's just one state out of our 50, but tonight what's happening in Arizona is being compared by some to the epic battles this nation has fought over lunch counters, separate drinking fountains and restrooms." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
View co-host Barbara Walters kissed the "superb" Joe Biden during an interview on Tuesday. Whoopi Goldberg swooned, "The most fabulous man came in. He gave us gifts. Walters praised, "I don't think there's much doubt that you're a superb Vice President." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Walters began the segment by touting the presents Biden brought. She awkwardly wondered, "Is one allowed to kiss a Vice President?" Biden enthused, "Oh, I'd love that." The audience whooped it up as the two shared an embrace. Walters then touched his cheek and insisted, "I don't want you to come home to Jill with my lipstick."
Thanks to ObamaCare, about two-thirds of Americans who work at small businesses will see a spike in their health insurance premiums. Reaction at ABC, CBS and NBC to this devastating news for employees across the nation? A big fat yawn.
No one at the Big Three networks have reported on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report, issued on Friday, that anticipates 65 percent of small businesses will see their health insurance premiums rise. This isn’t what the President promised on the 2012 campaign trail:
All three network morning shows on Tuesday continued the push against an Arizona bill [SB 1062] that aims to protect the religious freedom of business owners who oppose gay marriage. According to CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose, "Hundreds protested at the state capitol last night. They say the bill legalizes discrimination."
Today's Savannah Guthrie hyped, "Mounting pressure. From John McCain to Apple, even concern from Super Bowl organizers, a growing chorus calling on Arizona's governor to veto a bill that would let businesses turn away gay customers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Journalist Natalie Morales muttered, "Really big decision, very controversial." None of the networks featured voices in support of the legislation.
The plan by Barack Obama's government to "dramatically" shrink the size of the Army to its lowest level since World War II warranted a scant one minute and 56 seconds of total coverage on Monday's morning shows. Yet, CBS, NBC and ABC devoted 19 and a half minutes to such topics as TV shows, makeup and viral videos. [See video of ABC's coverage below. MP3 audio here.] None of the networks mentioned the President, shifting the responsibility solely to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The Today show allowed the least amount of coverage, a mere 21 seconds. This despite the program's four hour running time. Natalie Morales revealed, "Under the plan, the Army would shrink to its smallest force since the World War II build-up." She asserted that "the proposal is likely to face fierce opposition on Capitol Hill." If that's true, why devote less than 30 seconds and allow no debate? Instead, the Today anchors spent almost nine minutes on the subject of makeup and body image.
Despite openly gay NBA player Jason Collins only spending 10 minutes on the court during a game Sunday night, all three network morning shows on Monday hailed his non-scoring time off the bench as a momentous occasion. On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "A history-making moment in the NBA. Jason Collins broke through a big barrier last night when he suited up for the Brooklyn Nets against the Lakers, becoming the first openly gay player in any of the four major pro-leagues." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer announced: "History was made...last night in a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers." In the report that followed, 9 a.m. co-host Willie Geist gushed: "History on the basketball court Sunday night, when 35-year-old Jason Collins became the first openly gay male athlete to play in any of the four major professional U.S. sports."
The Arizona legislature just passed legislation allowing private businesses to be protected from legal action for practicing their religion. The bill, the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, allows private businesses the right to practice their religious beliefs and refuse service to anyone, such as a gay couple, if they believe it would violate their religious conscience.
On Saturday February 22, both ABC and NBC framed the new legislation in opposition of religious freedom, with NBC’s Lester Holt calling the bill “controversial” and how “opponents dubbed it the right to discriminate bill.” [See video below.]
ABC, CBS, and NBC have largely punted in covering the protests against the leftist government in Venezuela. Since Monday, only NBC Nightly News has devoted a full report on the demonstrations in the South American country. Altogether, NBC has aired just over two minutes of reporting on the story. Brian Williams also stood out for explicitly mentioning the political ideology of the regime: "Many...are feeling increasingly let down by the socialist government." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The network's Big Three competitors trail far behind in their coverage, with CBS only mentioning the protests during a 24-second news brief on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. The network's evening newscast, CBS Evening News, has yet to cover the story. ABC has devoted three news briefs on its morning and evening newscasts since Wednesday, for a total of 52 seconds of air time.
It’s bad enough that ObamaCare is taking its toll on private sector jobs but you would think liberal network reporters would be upset that it’s now cutting into their precious public sector positions too. But so far the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have yet to mention the news, published in one of their favorite liberal print organs The New York Times, that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is also hurting public employees.
In an article headlined “Public Sector Cuts Part-Time Shifts to Bypass Insurance Law” (that appeared online on Thursday and in the print edition on Friday), Robert Pear reported the following:
Good Morning America's Bianna Golodrygra on Thursday promoted the anti-Catholic film Philomena as a "touching," "true story." The ABC journalist spun the movie as largely uncontroversial and a "clear winner with audiences everywhere." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Golodryga downplayed the film's harsh anti-Catholic plot points and soft-peddled the movie's fictional elements, parroting, "Philomena is based on a true story about an Irish woman played by Judi Dench who travels to the U.S. to track down the son she was forced to give up for adoption when she was a teenager." In fact, the New York Times reported on November 29, 2013, "...Much of the movie is a fictionalized version of events. Ms. [Philomena] Lee, for instance, never went to the United States to look for her son...a central part of the film."
Despite the disturbing news on Wednesday that the Federal Communications Commission had developed a controversial plan to investigate television and radio newsrooms across the country, the broadcast networks of NBC, ABC, and CBS completely ignored the potential threat to press freedom.
In a February 10 Op/Ed for the Wall Street Journal, current FCC commissioner Ajit Pai warned: "Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its 'Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,' or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run."