Can you imagine a priest taking a group of altar boys to see the movie “Deliverance?”
According to Tim Robbins, when he was an altar boy in New York City, at the age of ten or eleven, a priest at his church took him and some other altar boys into Times Square to see the R-rated film which contained a brutal homosexual rape scene.
The same networks that totally ignored MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir's vile attacks against Sarah Palin have highlighted the "outrageous," "offensive" comments made by Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson in an interview to GQ. The journalists on ABC's Good Morning America provided the most aggressive coverage, repeatedly wondering if the remarks "will sink the show."
The morning program offered almost no consideration of Robertson and the issue of free speech. Instead, PR expert Howard Bragman wondered if the TV star is "willing to go to a deeper level of understanding and see why his remarks offended so many people?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Entertainment anchor Lara Spencer fully agreed: "Really outrageous statements." Spencer wanted to know just how the A&E network could bring the reality star back and, at the same time, "let people know they acknowledge how outrageous and offensive these comments are?"
In her annual “10 Most Fascinating People” special, Barbara Walters named Hillary Clinton to the top spot for the third time, gushing over her without ever saying what the former Secretary of State had done in the past year to earn her the title.
In a somewhat brief interview that aired on ABC on December 18, Ms. Walters cheered the former first lady on for president proclaiming that, “I listen to you and I think, "You got to run." Something. You got to run.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Yesterday, the Media Research Center announced our "Best Notable Quotables of 2013," with disgraced MSNBC host Martin Bashir "winning" Quote of the Year for his disgusting attack on Sarah Palin. (Thanks to our 42 judges who patiently reviewed dozens of quotes to select the very worst of the worst.)
Over the next few days, we'll present the best of this year's Notable Quotables as a way to review the worst media bias of 2013. Today, the winner and top runners-up of our "Ku Klux Con Job Award, for Smearing Conservatives with Phony Racism Charges." (Winning quotes and video below the jump.)
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts, which hyped the sequester's "deep, across-the-board spending cuts" earlier in 2013, have largely been silent about the reductions in the annual cost of living increases for military veterans – part of the budget deal proposed by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray. But more egregiously, these programs have failed to notice that disabled veterans are not exempt from these cuts, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday.
As of Wednesday morning, Norah O'Donnell's question to Rep. Ryan himself on the December 12, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning is the only mention of the reductions in the veterans' pensions on the broadcast networks' news shows:
On Wednesday, only NBC's Today devoted a full segment to the upcoming sentencing of top Environmental Protection Agency official John Beale for "bilking the government out of nearly $1 million by claiming he that he worked undercover for the CIA." ABC's Good Morning America only offered a 25-second news brief on the story while CBS This Morning ignored it completely. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While NBC and ABC finally got around to the story on Wednesday, Fox News reported the scandal on the October 1 edition of Special Report, with correspondent Shannon Bream noting congressional involvement: "Massachusetts Democrat Steven Lynch was just one of many House members demanding to know how the Environmental Protection Agency could be duped for years by a top-level employee....Angry lawmakers say former EPA chief Gina McCarthy, who openly praised Beale during his time at the agency, should have known better."
Gushing journalists Josh Elliott and Robin Roberts met Pope Francis on Wednesday and thrilled over the fact that a gay magazine has made him "person of the year." The Good Morning America anchors traveled to the Vatican for "Christmas With the Pope." According to Elliott, "[Pope Francis has] ushered in a kind of truce in the culture wars."
He touted, "And both Time magazine and the leading gay magazine, The Advocate, have named him their person of the year." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Elliott offered tremendously positive coverage, narrating, "He walks the streets, poses for pictures, embraces the sick and is not afraid to have a bit of fun." ABC wasn't always so friendly. On March 14, correspondent Terry Moran warned, "Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
After spending about $2.3 trillion in stimulus since 2008, the Federal Reserve’s controversial quantitative easing (QE) strategy’s days may be numbered. MarketWatch expected a decision on the policy from the Fed on Dec. 18, following their two-day meeting.
The policy has many critics including the former Fed employee who lashed out at it in a “Confessions of a Quantitative Easer” op-ed. Studies also show that QE hasn’t been the economic stimulus the Fed had hoped. Yet, when the broadcast networks have discussed how QE impacts the economy they almost unanimously supported the Fed’s purchase program.
On CNN’s Piers Morgan Live Tuesday, in a brief discussion about President Obama, Barbara Walters actually said, “We thought that he was going to be - I shouldn't say this at Christmastime, but - the next messiah” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
All three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning covered the "major blow" a judge delivered by ruling that the National Security Agency's massive data collection is likely unconstitutional. Yet, NBC's Nightly News managed to mention the President only once in passing. Instead, anchor Brian Williams kept the nearly three and a half minute segment politically vague: "Privacy violation: A surprise ruling about the government's spying on the phone calls made by Americans. The question tonight, what will this change and when?"
Williams lectured, "In the name of keeping us safe, Americans have sacrificed a number of freedoms since 9/11, including the privacy of communications." Journalist Pete Williams added, "It's a serious legal blow to one of the most controversial practices of the NSA." Is it a blow to Obama? Neither journalist said. In contrast, NBC's Today on Tuesday immediately mentioned the President. Matt Lauer opened the segment by noting that "the Obama administration's beginning to plan an appeal of a major court ruling." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Tuesday's Good Morning America simply didn't have its facts straight in their rush to portray Pope Francis as a crypto-liberal. Amy Robach hyped that the pontiff "removed an outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage from a powerful post within the Church. Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke...was head of the Vatican's highest court." Robach then asserted that "this move is seen as reinforcing the Pope's vision for a more inclusive church."
However, Cardinal Burke is still the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – the equivalent of the Supreme Court for the Catholic Church. The Pope actually declined to renew the Wisconsin native's membership on a different consultative body at the Vatican – the Congregation for Bishops. [MP3 audio of Robach's news brief available here; video below the jump]
The new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows Obama’s approval rating stuck at 43 percent approve, 55 percent disapprove, very close to their last result. The Post headline was “Obama’s approval ratings plummet” – over the year. A year ago, it was 52 percent approve, 44 percent disapprove. Online, it was merely a "year of turmoil." But ABC put a happy spin on it.
The headline on ABCNews.com was “OPPOSITION TO OBAMACARE DECLINES.” Click on it, and the headline on pollster Gary Langer’s report? “A Drop in Opposition to Obamacare Helps Stabilize a Struggling Presidency.” So if you're just grazing on the Web, you might think Obama's poll ratings are on the mend. But that's not in the fine print.
Print, broadcast or web, the media sure aren’t Nostradamus. In spite of their best attempts, the news media have gotten it wrong prediction after prediction on a wide range of business and economic issues in 2013.
Just in the past year, reporters warned of “economic doomsday,” thought Healthcare.gov was going to be “easy” just like Amazon.com, and warned of melting polar ice, even as a new record was set for ice mass.
CBS This Morning stood out on Monday as the only mention so far on the Big Three's morning and evening newscasts of the New York Times' Sunday item about sheriffs in Colorado who are "refusing to enforce" gun control laws passed earlier in 2013, "saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be 'a very low priority,' as several sheriffs put it."
Anchor Charlie Rose devoted a 14-second news brief to writer Erica Goode's story about the law enforcement officials' stance against the new laws in the Centennial State: [audio available here; video below the jump]
The liberal hosts of The View on Monday took one last chance to fawn over Michael Bloomberg, touting the "bold" actions the exiting New York City Mayor made against guns, soda and cigarettes. Walters, who has joked about flirting with the billionaire, referenced a skit she appeared in with the left-wing politician: "I would like to point out that you and I got married on the program, supposedly. It was never consummated."
Walters introduced Bloomberg by enthusing, "Michael Bloomberg has been more than just the mayor of New York City for the past 12 years. Some people think he's the best mayor we've had." The supposedly neutral journalist touted "his bold actions on issues like gun safety" and "banishing smoking in public places." Whoopi Goldberg hit the mayor from the left, demanding to know why he didn't go further: "This is a question I always ask folks about sugary drinks and cigarettes and things: Why not just ban them outright?" [A montage of the softball questions can be found below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC This Week viewers were treated to a classic conservative versus liberal debate Sunday.
When former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich tried to blame the increase in poverty in the past five years on Republicans, former Speaker of the House and current CNN host Newt Gingrich called it "baloney" firing back, "Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel began his program Thursday evening bashing the Fox News Network.
After mocking Megyn Kelly and contributor Monica Crowley for claiming that the historical figures Santa Claus and Jesus Christ were white, he presented a trailer for a Fox News version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” wherein Henry Potter is the hero trying to preserve Bedford Falls as an example of free market capitalism against the wishes of the evil, draft-dodging, communist George Bailey (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
ABC’s Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos together made a rather bizarre statement at the end of a brief Good Morning America segment Thursday about the newly-released 911 call from the friend of the woman who’s accused Heisman Trophy favorite Jameis Winston of raping her.
“They just want this one to go away,” said Stephanopoulos. “Yeah, I think all sides do,” replied Roberts (video follows with transcript and commentary):
All three networks on Wednesday engaged in damage control for the White House following criticism of President Obama's selfie during Tuesday's Mandela memorial service. On CBS This Morning, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante even made this absurd assertion: "The President might have caused a diplomatic incident if he had declined the invitation to be in a photo with two long-time allies." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The cast of NBC's Today also justified the incident, with co-host Savannah Guthrie arguing: "I think some people thought it's not appropriate because it's a funeral. On the other hand, it wasn't a funeral, it was a memorial service." Weatherman Al Roker added: "It was a memorial, it was a celebration." Matt Lauer chimed in: "There were people singing and dancing all around them."
ABC's Good Morning America provided the most positive spin it could from new Obama approval numbers, declaring that "he has stopped the free-fall" and reporting only the two least negative disapproval ratings for the President.
"And meanwhile, the President getting some new polls out this morning that show he may have stopped the bleeding from that botched rollout of the ObamaCare website," reported co-host George Stephanopoulos. ABC failed to mention Obama's 50 percent disapproval, just vaguely noting "his disapproval rating still higher than his approval rating."
View journalist Barbara Walters on Tuesday used Nelson Mandela’s funeral as a way to push for normalization of relations with Cuba. Absolutely struck by the fact that Barack Obama shook hands with President Raul Castro, Walters lectured, “The significance is that maybe this may change our relations with Cuba after 50 years, because it seems a little ridiculous to me that we recognize China and our relationship but we still do not have a relationship with Cuba.” [See video below.]
She enthused that the footage of Obama and Castro was “old enemies…shaking hands.” The host hyped, “It’s historic.” Walters has a history of touting communist leaders.
Saturday, Dec. 14 marks a year since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. In the run-up to that tragic anniversary, Americans can expect to hear demands for gun control from sanctimonious Hollywood stars, just as they did in the wake of the shooting.
Their demands were hypocritical then, and they’re even more hypocritical now. The entertainment industry makes huge profits depicting and often even glorifying violence – especially gun violence. For proof, look no farther than the top TV dramas that anchor prime time for both the broadcast networks and basic cable channels. Video after the break.
With the departure of commentator George Will to Fox News, the person left to represent the conservative point of view on ABC’s This Week seems to have settled upon Matthew Dowd. Trouble is, Dowd is not really what anyone could fairly characterize as a conservative.
Beyond the fact that he was a Democratic strategist for decades before switching to work for former President George W. Bush in the late 1990s, Dowd’s own political views seem to be rather conventionally liberal. If there was any doubt of that proposition, Dowd dispelled it in a column published last week at the ABC News website focusing on the Obama White House’s latest pet issue: the supposed crisis of income inequality in the United States.
All three networks on Monday morning highlighted the appearance of the Obamas at the Kennedy Center Honors, but only ABC fawned over "fashion win" of First Lady. Lara Spencer enthused that " one of the stars of the show was Michelle Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An excited Spencer explained that Mrs. Obama looked "absolutely ravishing in a flowing teal gown as she accompanied President Obama." The co-host declared, "Another big fashion win for the First Lady."
Norah O'Donnell's 20-second news brief on Monday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three network mention so far of the Wall Street Journal's Sunday report about a "troubling element" of ObamaCare – exorbitant deductibles with the no-frills plans available on the health care exchanges.
O'Donnell zeroed in on the item by reporters Leslie Scism and Timothy W. Martin, who cited a new report that found that "the average individual deductible for...a bronze plan on the exchange...is $5,081 a year": [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
There was a really delicious exchange on ABC’s This Week Sunday that conservatives across the fruited plain will greatly enjoy.
After hate-spewing MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson bashed former Vice President Dick Cheney for once wanting Nelson Mandela put on a terrorist list, Matalin shot back, “When will you ever get tired of beating up on Darth Vader” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
“It’s a leak Barbara Walters doesn’t want you to know about,” the New York Daily News gossip column “Confidential” promised on Wednesday. “The ABC News doyenne pushed hard to have NSA leaker Edward Snowden at the top of her list of 10 most fascinating people of the year — but in the end was overruled by network brass,” said a source. Snowden did not cooperate.
“She had a particular fascination with the former NSA contractor, we’re told, because at one point she believed he would be chosen as Time magazine’s Person of the Year.” Snowden is on the list of 10, but the number-one pick remains unknown until the show airs, which is on December 18. Then there were the Clintons:
When Rush Limbaugh caused a stir with his comments about feminist activist Sandra Fluke, the media were whipped into a frenzy, with the Big Three broadcast networks devoting 32 stories to the row in two weeks' time. Yet there were a grand total of zero stories devoted to former MSNBC host Martin Bashir expressing on his November 15 program that he would like to see someone defecate into the former Alaska governor's mouth.
"It was 100-fold more serious than anything Rush Limbaugh has ever said about anyone in 30 years on his show. Yet [there were] 32 stories, which is a tsunami, on Rush Limbaugh, nothing, crickets about Martin Bashir," Media Research Center founder and president Brent Bozell told Fox News host Megyn Kelly on the December 6 edition of The Kelly File. Bozell added that Bashir was symptomatic of "a real misogyny" at MSNBC against conservative women [WATCH video below page break; LISTEN to MP3 audio here]:
An irritated Barbara Walters on Thursday touted the importance of the separation of church and state. The View hosts discussed a new ad by Democratic Senator Mark Pryor, under fire for supporting ObamaCare, in which he labeled himself a Bible-believing Christian. Walters declared, "The basic tenet in America is the separation. And it's very important. And it's very important, the separation of church and state." Of course, "separation of church and state" is nowhere in the Constitution. Walters didn't mention this.
She added, "We talk about the separation between church and state and almost every president ends up saying so help me God." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Walters recounted, "Now, most presidents swear on a Bible before taking office, even though we have the separation between church and state."