After a bit of a respite primarily due to NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics, the audience desertion from the Big 3 networks' evening news broadcasts has again resumed.
Not that the first quarter of 2010 was all peaches and cream. Last week, Media Bistro noted that ABC's "World News Tonight" had "its lowest-rated first quarter ever."
But the results for the first week of the second ratings quarter are beyond awful. The total audience for all three evening news shows came in under 20 million. For context, recall that during a traditionally low-audience summer week in 2006, Drudge headlined ("TV's Lowest Week") a disastrous drop -- to 21 million viewers. Now it appears that what was once considered a really bad summer week four years ago (noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) might be a typical week during 2010's prime spring viewing season.
A lefty columnist for the Huffington Post believes that the media's coverage of the health care debate was sorely lacking. NewsBusters wholeheartedly agrees. Yes, we agree with the Huffington Post.
You see, we were under the impression that columnist Allison Kilkenny was less than honest after she used the staged homicide of a census worker to claim that conservatives were fomenting violence. In fact, the death was ruled a suicide.
But today Kilkenny echoed NB's complaints when she wrote of the "shoddy journalism" and "low-quality gutter-dredging techniques" that "successfully brainwashed millions of readers and viewers." Yes, the public really was let down by those substandard journalists at…wait a minute. The Wall Street Journal? Fox News? She must have meant ABC, NBC, and CBS, right?
With the recently announced end of Fox's hit series "24," many liberal pundits are parading the show as a false depiction of the notion that "torture works." Contrary to their accusations, the Jack Bauer interrogation methods bear exactly zero resemblance to any actual interrogation techniques used by American military, law enforcement, or intelligence agents.
"On '24,' torture saves lives," the New York Times's Brian Stelter writes, disapprovingly. James Poniewozik, writing on a Time Magazine blog, attributes the show's supposed approval of harsh interrogations to the "conservative politics of co-creator Joel Surnow."
Any American who has serious doubts that our military and intelligence officials would allow interrogators to, say, directly threaten the lives of a terrorist's family (let alone inflict tremendous physical pain) to elicit information has a better grasp of interrogation techniques -- and the integrity of our men and women in uniform -- than most of the liberal media.
The problem with the liberal mindset is that it sees government solutions, even when there isn't really a problem. Case in point: broadband internet.
Roughly 200 million Americans have broadband internet at home. Millions of others have access to it at work, school, the public library or on smart phones. Only about 5 percent of Americans lack broadband internet access according to The Wall Street Journal.
That night not one of the network evening shows mentioned the enormous government proposal - instead all three reported Tiger Woods' return to golf at the Masters Tournament, ABC and CBS covered Michael Jackson's posthumous record contract and NBC warned against kids going to Mexico for spring break.
UPDATE: Fantastic video analyzing two weeks in the life of Keith Olbermann and his (nearly all white) guests below the fold. From February 4 through February 18, Keith had 48 guests - and TWO were black. One, actually - the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson appeared twice. 4% - now THAT'S diverse. Bravo and kudos to Broliath for said stellar production.
The Place for Race-Baiting
MSNBC hosts Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and the egregiously stentorian and officious Keith Olbermann have made their warped interpretation of the conservative and TEA Party movements as racist a staple of their oft-ridiculed and rarely watched television programs.
These three (and other MSNBC hosts) have engaged in this slander with regularity and fervor.
Reporting on an August 18, 2009 Arizona TEA Party, white host Contessa Brewer fretted "there are questions about whether this has racial overtones....(with) white people showing up with guns" (Arizona is an open-carry state). The only problem was, one of the men they showed packing was black, and they edited out of the video any show of his melanin so as to carry further their fraudulent narrative.
The Dallas (Texas) TEA Party created a video mocking Olbermann (and Company) for these serial assaults, showing people of color attending TEA Parties and contrasting it with the prevailing whiteness of MSNBC's line-up. To which Olbermann responded with a list of black participants in the alleged news making of his network (and that of parent NBC).
Well Olbermann's explanation, and all of the race-baiting "reporting" done by his vile network, apparently wasn't nearly good enough for Congresswomen Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) and Maxine Waters (D-California), two members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared on FNC's Fox & Friends Feb. 17, to discuss how the networks have covered President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package in the year since its passage.
Using research from MRC's Business & Media Institute, Bozell told cohost Gretchen Carlson that, of 172 stories ABC, CBS and NBC have run on the stimulus, just 90 of them (52 percent) included any criticism of the massive spending program.
Asserting that the media have failed in their responsibility to cover the stimulus, Bozell said, "Remember, the president said very simply - he said we needed $787 billion because we needed to create jobs, jobs, jobs. That's what he said this was all about. He said if we didn't do this, we were going to have - we were going to go from 8 percent unemployment, to 10 percent unemployment."
Holding up for the camera a paper reading "7.7%," Bozell said, "This is where we stood at unemployment when this bill was signed. We spent $787 billion. This is where we stand today." He produced a second paper that read "9.7%."
"So two things are true here," Bozell said. "No. 1: This bill bombed. No. 2: What happened to the $787 billion, and where are the national news media?"
The Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on Stuart Varney's Fox Business program on Feb. 12 to discuss a new BMI report about network news coverage of last year's $787 Billion stimulus package. The report found that ABC, CBS and NBC did their best to put a positive spin on the stimulus.
"All three networks were close to 3 to 1 in picking supporters to comment on stories, as opposed to anybody who might be critical," Gainor told Varney.
Asked about the new $15 billion "jobs bill" under consideration in the senate, Gainor told Varney, "Now the problem we've got is that the government solutions the New York Times and, frankly, the network news shows have always been backing, trying to make look good, are all these big government solutions that hire people for government programs. America has one of the highest business taxes on the globe. You fix that problem, and businesses will be able to hire again."
Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon bashed the media's coverage of the tea party movement with unsubstantiated claims of bias during a panel on "Fox News Sunday."
"Unsubstantiated claims" of media bias against the TEA Party movement? Really? Seriously?
It may be time for Calderone to move off the media beat. He clearly hasn't been paying attention to major details of a major story for nearly a year.
I would offer he could be moved to Obituaries, but that too would entail coverage of the "MSM."
How has Calderone missed completely the now nearly ubiquitous presence of the sexually-explicit, derogatory term used by members of the "MSM" to describe the participants in said Movement? The in-person attacks on Party participants by the likes of CNN's Susan Roesgen (now no longer with the firm)? The over-arching denigrating words and deeds by people throughout the "MSM?"
There is so much "MSM" anti-TEA Party venom to substantiate Sammon's assertion, one hardly knows where to begin. So we will simply list, with links and dates, documentation aplenty below.
(Cursory glance result: 52 NB stories.)
We hope Calderone avails himself hereof, and repents. In writing. Today.
The gubernatorial race in Illinois is heating up. Conservative Republican candidate Adam Andrzejewski has, according to some reports, surged from relative obscurity to within 2 points of the lead for the GOP nomination. And last week Andrzejewski was endorsed by Lech Walesa, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and former President of Poland.
If you live in the Chicago area, however, may be unaware that such an important historical and political figure was just in your town, endorsing a candidate for governor of your state. The only local television coverage the endorsement event received was from Chicago's ABC News station, which showed Walesa and Andrzejewski on stage while covering a Tea Party rally at the event, but never even mentioned the former president by name (see video below the fold).
The only print coverage in local newspapers the event garnered was from the Tribune, which ran a 113-word AP story, and the Sun-Times, which mentioned Walesa in a 2-sentence caption, right below a blurb headlined "Family of boy found hanged sues schools" and above one headlined "New Schools Expo today". So the latter paper decided the death of a child in a local suburb was more important than a political endorsement from a man at least partially responsible for the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. The former decided it couldn't spare a reporter for such a monumental figure (h/t Founding Bloggers and Race 4 2012).
Earlier this month, my colleague Tim Graham wrote about "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams self-congratulatory five-year anniversary as the newscasts's anchor, followed hours later by actress Jane Krakowski of the network's "30 Rock" show heralding Williams as a "towering figure in the world of news" during the network's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting special.
Williams, who has had cameo appearances on "30 Rock" and the "Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien," doesn't seem to be stopping his forays into the network's entertainment division anytime soon.
Perhaps there is something obstructing the view overlooking Rockefeller Plaza, where MSNBC broadcasts "Countdown" nightly because the show's host, Keith Olbermann fails to see the existence of a news media with a liberal bias.
On MSNBC's Dec. 14 broadcast of "Countdown," Olbermann came to the defense of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" executive producer and noted left-winger Dick Wolf. The Dec. 9 episode of Wolf's program featured a killer who targeted the children of illegal immigrants and in that episode, one of the characters, played by John Larroquette, blamed conservatives "like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck" for inciting violence against immigrants. That prompted O'Reilly on Dec. 10, the next broadcast of the Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," to fire back at Wolf.
And that led Olbermann to respond to O'Reilly, five days later, which deteriorated into Olbermann making the seemingly laughable assertion there is no such thing as the liberal media. Olbermann began his tirade by attacking Andrew Breitbart, who is launching a Web site called "Big Journalism," which will take on "the Democratic-media complex."
Managing Editor's Note: The following is a reprint of Michael Moriarty's original December 14 post to Big Hollywood. Moriarty, you may recall, played a prosecutor in the first few seasons of the long-running NBC drama "Law and Order."
Well, I think I’ve been fairly calm and forgiving of "Law and Order" for about fifteen years. Living outside of the U.S. has certainly helped in more ways than one. Out of sight, out of mind. "Law and Order" has, for years, been just a press of the remote away from non-existence.
However, recent events have "Law and Order" just begging for my reassessment. I hardly expected my old television series to be the clown act that leads the American viewing audience into an increasingly predictable pile of hard left propaganda.
To coincide with the many changes at ABC News that begin today with George Stephanopoulos accepting the offer to replace Diane Sawyer as co-host of Good Morning America, NewsBusters's parent organization the Media Research Center (MRC) has unveiled their freshly updated Profiles in Bias of both left wing icons, as Sawyer will step into the World News anchor shoes of Charles Gibson later this month.
These profiles document the 12 years that Stephanopoulos has dedicated to left wing advocacy and more than 10 years Sawyer has delivered on-camera at ABC. From lavishing praise to liberals like Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons and President Obama to undermining conservatives and pushing their personal policy agendas, both anchors have provided endless of examples to cite. These Profiles in Bias also include more than a dozen videos of on-camera lowlights.
"This is nothing more than a pathetic game of lefty musical chairs," MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell scoffed. "The All Barack Channel has managed to keep all their liberal blood in the family, rotating anchor chairs and ensuring the same left-wing cheerleading and conservative bashing will continue in their network morning and evening hours for years to come."
"Well, NBC, ABC and CBS finally got around to reporting on ClimateGate" but it "wasn’t worth the wait," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell said in a statement today. [Click here for the full press release]
"NBC and ABC’s reports were so biased, they left their audiences as ill-informed afterwards as they were before. And CBS came about as close to blacking out their own coverage as possible," Bozell added, referring to how the network reported the story on a program blacked out in much of the country in favor of college football.
ABC finally reported on ClimateGate on Sunday. But they provided no specifics from the reams of emails and data from East Anglia University that caused the scandal, and concluded their report with the flatly incorrect assertion: “The science is solid, according to a vast majority of researchers, with hotter temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea level providing the proof.”
An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly stated that John Harris and Mike Allen of Politico declined to ask former vice president Al Gore about controversial emails from climate scientists who support the idea of anthropogenic global warming after knowledge of those emails was publicly disclosed.
In fact, the interview with Gore occurred before the emails were public knowledge, therefore Messrs. Harris and Allen could not have asked Gore about them. NewsBusters regrets the error.
Imagine if you will that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was accused of taking gift cards donated to her office for redistribution to needy constituents and using them instead for a personal spending spree.
The media firestorm would swirl uncontrollably, of course, and certainly you couldn't fault the media for reporting on the ensuing criminal trial.
Well, this sort of this has happened, only to the Democratic mayor of Baltimore Sheila Dixon who was convicted yesterday on a misdemeanor charge of embezzling, yet the coverage from the broadcast networks has been non-existent until the trial's conclusion.
A search of "Sheila Dixon" among ABC, CBS, and NBC news transcripts catalogued on Nexis from January 1, 2007 to December 2, 2009 yielded only three hits. None of the stories were about Dixon's trial, and one, an April 30, 2008 "Nightline" story on predatory mortgage lending, cast Dixon in a favorable light as a champion of citizens who have been exploited by mortgage lenders.
"American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert's vocals weren't top-notch at last night's American Music Awards, but nobody really noticed. How could they, given his over-the-top and in-your-face sexual choreography?
Lambert's act during the show, aired on ABC, featured male dancers on leashes, an open-mouth kiss between Lambert and his male keyboardist, and simulated oral sex, both male-on-male and female-on-male.
Naturally, boundary-pushing Hollywood writers hailed Lambert's performance.
"As a TV viewer, I thought Lambert's performance was a gas, a delight, a blast of brash vulgarity in the midst of ordinary vulgarity," wrote Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker.
The Culture & Media Institute’s report on network coverage of Major Nidal Hasan and the Ft. Hood murders continues to gain media attention. On Nov. 14, Fox’s “News Watch” program led off with CMI’s findings.
“The Culture & Media Institute noticed something about the news coverage,” said host John Scott said of the Ft. Hood shooting. “Until President Obama spoke on Tuesday at a memorial service for the victims of the Ft. Hood attacks, 29 percent of evening news reports mentioned that Major Nical Malik Hasan was a Muslim. 93 percent of the stories ignored any terror connection. But after the president hinted at what ABC called ‘Islamic extremist views,” all three networks mentioned terrorism.”
On Nov. 12, Bill O’Reilly led off “The O’Reilly Factor” by framing his “Talking Points” segment around a report from the Culture & Media Institute on the biased network coverage of the Ft. Hood Massacre.
“A new study, by the Culture and Media Institute, a conservative group, says the following: 85 percent of network evening news stories on Ft. Hood did not mention the word ‘terror,’ O’Reilly said. “In fact, in 48 reports, ABC, CBS and NBC referenced terrorism just seven times. Only 29 percent of the evening news reports even mentioned Major Hasan was a Muslim. Unbelievable. Of those mentions, 50 percent defended Islam. And before the president’s speech at Ft. Hood, 93 percent of the network evening news stories ignored any discussion about a terror connection. But after the president said that extremist views were involved, all three networks began to report a possible connection.”
That said, this is a good time to recall that Dobbs and his employer were at very visible loggerheads a decade ago. In fact, yesterday's move by Dobbs is not his first resignation from the network. Here is Brent Baker's June 9, 1999 CyberAlert item describing what happened:
Lou Dobbs gone from CNN. Forced out by CNN President Rick Kaplan, or just frustrated by him? In a surprise announcement at the end of Tuesday’s The World Today, anchor Jim Moret informed viewers:
"And finally tonight, farewell to a colleague. Lou Dobbs, President of CNNfn and anchor of Moneyline, is resigning to launch a new Internet venture. Dobbs said he is ‘grateful to Ted Turner and CNN News Group Chairman Tom Johnson for the opportunity to have helped build CNN and cnn.com into a first-class television news and interactive institution.’ Lou Dobbs had been with CNN since its inception 19 years ago. He will start up space.com, a Web site for news, entertainment and educational content about space."
No mention of Kaplan and an on-air dispute the two had a couple of weeks ago about whether to carry live a Clinton speech may explain why. As Clay Waters of Bridge News first informed me, the May 25 Page Six column in the New York Post revealed:
Remember the case of the Census worker who was found hanging from a tree with the word ‘fed' scrawled across his chest? You remember - he died at the hands of right-wing commentators and anti-government tea partiers. He was killed because of an overwhelming case of right-wing paranoia. He was murdered by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann, and Fox News.
Keep this quiet though...
While the death of Bill Sparkman was a media sensation for pushing anti-conservative sentiments just a couple of months ago, it is receiving little to no coverage currently. Why? Because, as investigators have recently speculated, there is a possibility that he died by his own hands.
Well, that just doesn't make for interesting news at the so-called legitimate news organizations.
As the AP states,
"The strange case attracted national attention when it first came to light, prompting worries that it may be a sign of increased anger toward the federal government in the first year of Barack Obama's presidency."
Prompting worries from whom? The unhinged left wishing to create sensational accusations? Check. The list follows:
Identical Twin Statements Earlier today, Media Research Center President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell announced this year's Dewey Defeats Truman Awards for incompetent political reporting.
Also today, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tim Kaine issued a statement on last night's election results.
The similarities between the DNC Chair's words and CBS's Katie Couric's October 27 Award winning comments are striking.
In fact, I will provide you with each of their assertions, and reveal who said which only after the jump. Good luck guessing.
"...(T)he Republican candidate (for NY-23), a moderate, was purged from the Republican Party by the most extreme elements of the conservative right wing including Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.... (W)hat occurred in New York has exposed a war within the Republican Party that will not soon end.... The all out war between Republicans and the far right wing is a disaster for the Republican Party and will dog it well after today."
"There's growing concern among some GOP leaders that controversial commentators and far-right conservatives have hijacked the message. People like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin appeal to the base... (but) you can't win with just the base.... Before the 2010 midterm elections roll around, Republicans need to get the focus back onto the Big Tent where all are welcome - and off the sideshows that are popping up along the party's fringe."
Profits, not the killing of unborn children, are the "real immorality" of abortion, according to "View" panelist Joy Behar.
Behar expressed her unique view of morality during the Nov. 3 "Hot Topics" discussion about Abby Johnson, a Texas Planned Parenthood director who resigned from her post last month after seeing an abortion on an ultrasound.
Johnson explained to the local Texas CBS affiliate that Planned Parenthood had been pressuring her to focus on abortion, not pregnancy prevention because abortions brought in more money than family planning services.
ABC's "View" host Barbara Walters brought up Johnson's story, calling it "controversial" and Behar quickly denounced Planned Parenthood for making money off abortions. She called it "gross" and "obnoxious" before she stated, "I don't see abortions as a profit-making industry. I think that that is the real immorality of it."
Adultery did not fare well during a September 24 "Nightline" broadcast about the issue, but that didn't keep ABC's Cynthia McFadden from asking an evangelical pastor if he felt "a little intolerant" for his conservative views on the subject.
McFadden moderated a debate that tried to answer the question, "Are we born to cheat?" but appeared to mock Pastor Ed Young's responses whenever she could.
The proponents of adultery who appeared on the panel included Jenny Block, an author and participant in an open marriage, and Noel Biderman, the president and CEO of Ashley Madison, a Web site designed to help people begin extra-marital affairs. To be fair, Block and Biderman did face some tough questioning about their views, but they did not receive the same derision McFadden levied at Young.
For all that critics have hailed ABC's "Modern Family" for its non-stereotypical portrayal of a gay couple, the show itself is stereotypical Hollywood propaganda.
"Modern Family," filmed in a mock-documentary style, examines the lives of three couples from one family. Patriarch Jay (Ed O'Neill) is married to a much-younger, feisty Colombian woman. His daughter Claire is married to Phil who treats parenting like playtime. Jay's son Mitchell, is gay, and when the show began, has just adopted a baby with his partner Cameron.
Producers treated the 12.7 million viewers who tuned in Wednesday night for the premiere to a pro-gay adoption speech within the first two minutes of the program.
They say you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. But the 44th President of the United States doesn't seem to be worried about that.
President Barack Obama, still with no fear of being overexposed, made the rounds on five Sunday morning talk shows on Sept. 20 to make another attempt at winning the hearts and minds over on his vague health care proposal.
According to Obama, alleging he wasn't doing any "media-bashing," mentioned the three major cable news networks by name, and said they were the ones enabling the "rude" behavior that some of their on-air voices have decried by giving it so much attention.
After a summer swoon, you would think that the evening newscasts of the Big 3 networks would start to recover a bit now that many Americans are back from vacations, kids are back in school, and fall routines are getting established or re-established.
So far, you would be wrong.
It's early, and there's still plenty of time this fall to recover, but during the time period after Labor Day, the broadcasts primarily anchored by Brian Williams at NBC, Charles Gibson at ABC, and Katie Couric at CBS:
Are down a combined 28.5% from their peak in late January during the first full week of Barack Obama's presidency.
Have lost a combined 37.7% of their audience in the 25-54 demographic during the same time period.
Are down year-over-year compared to September 1, 2008, the week after Labor a year ago, by 8.9% overall and 18.1% in the 25-54 demographic.
At 19.55 million, are basically drawing audiences no larger than they were during this past (for them) miserable summer.
Critics love David Letterman. They love him because he’s mean and liberal and does everything they demand: further the leftist agenda through the brutal use of humiliation to target any public figure (or their child) who might derail Leftist causes.
And contrary to conventional wisdom, Letterman’s not edgy. In fact, he’s just the opposite. Doing exactly what those who can criticize you want you to do is not edgy. Kissing the big Manhattan/Los Angeles bi-coastal [rear] of the elite is not edgy. He’s their jester; their puppet. Worse, he’s about as funny as watching your old, half-deaf Uncle intimidate, humiliate and demean your Aunt and then smile at the rest of the family as though he’s just reaffirmed his manhood. Letterman reminds me of the Jason Robards character in “Parenthood” in more ways than you can imagine. In other words, he’s a jerk, but in a sad end-of-his-life kind of way.
Oh, and how the elite critics resented nice ole’ Jay Leno for cleaning Letterman’s ratings’ clock all those years. And now that Jay’s back eating up primetime, they couldn’t wait to jump all over him with sniffing disapproval fed through a filter of wrist-flicking dismissal.
What a novelty: a political reporter who reports on the remarkable success of a political book.
Michael Calderone of Politico has been just about alone in reporting on the popularity of conservative radio host and author Mark Levin’s book, “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.”
In his blog on September 15, Calderone wrote that “Levin has now sold a million copies of his latest book, Liberty & Tyranny, according to a release.” And Calderone noted that “‘Liberty & Tyranny’ spent 12 weeks at the top of the New York Times' best-seller list and remains in the Top Ten.”
A bipartisan consensus of senators in Washington is newsworthy in these fiercely partisan times, but when the matter of agreement is something that leaves egg on the faces of the left-wing community organizers, eh, not so much.
Yesterday, in an 83-7 vote -- 50 Democrats and 33 Republicans for; 6 Democrats and 1 independent against -- the Senate passed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would bar the use of federal funds to the scandal-ridden Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). [related item on media ignoring the ACORN story by my colleague Dan Gainor here]
This morning, neither ABC's "Good Morning America" nor CBS's "Early Show" nor NBC's "Today" reported on the vote and the underlying controversy surrounding the liberal community organizing group.