If Speaker Newt Gingrich's Republican majority had faced a 9 percent approval rating at any point in the 1996 presidential election year, the media would have not let anyone forget it.
So given that and the media's frequently reminding Americans of President Bush's low approval numbers, why are the broadcast media ignoring the latest Rasmussen poll on the approval rating for Congress under the leadership of Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)?
Rasmussen's survey hit the wires yesterday, but none of the broadcast evening news programs covered the story, not even as a brief anchor mention. The July 9 "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and CBS's "Early Show," similarly paid no heed to the development.
The polling firm's official news release noted that the numbers are really bad even among Democrats -- who are only in the low-double digits in strongly approving of Congress -- and the harshest criticism comes from independents (emphasis mine):
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer interviewed Barack Obama and seemed most concerned with whether or not the senator was hedging on his promise to pull U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months. Approaching from the left, she wondered, "This is the question this morning: You have said previously, we will be out-- we will be out of Iraq in 16 months. Are you now saying it's your goal or that you might refine that or do you still repeat, we will be out in 16 months?"
And although Sawyer did ask Obama about the breaking news of Iran test firing missiles and threatening Israel, she didn't press him and mostly stuck to safe topics such as who his VP would be or discussing the appearance of the Obama children on "Access Hollywood" (which GMA gushingly replayed on Tuesday). In contrast, when John McCain appeared on GMA on July 2, various hosts and reporters speculated five times that his trip to South America during such tough financial times might indicate a lack of caring about the economic situation of Americans.
Mixed in with stories on cooking for the Fourth of July and how soldiers deployed in Iraq were spending their Independence Day, the July 4 "Good Morning America" managed to give nearly two full minutes to a story on Thomas Beatie, more commonly known as the "pregnant man," and "his" newly born daughter on Friday.
Unsurprisingly, the segment featured only a positive take on the situation, offering no sound bites questioning the normalcy of the child’s life. Reporter Ryan Owens touted, "The little girl's conception may have been complicated, but her parents insist her life now will be normal."
The designated "expert" of the segment, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, claimed:
During the roundtable discussion on Sunday's This Week on ABC, when host George Stephanopoulos asked why Barack Obama had not talked about the economy more in his campaign ads, ABC political analyst Mark Halperin argued that taxing the wealthy should be a strong issue for Democrats this year, although he conceded it failed when tried by Al Gore and John Kerry. Without making any mention of the case that lower taxes on all Americans is beneficial to the overall economy, Halperin merely talked about President Bush's tax cuts that "disproportionately benefitted the wealthy," and seemed to suggest that eliminating those tax cuts may help the economy. Halperin: "That's one issue, again, Gore and Kerry went up against George Bush whose tax cuts disproportionately benefitted the wealthy, one of the best issues the Democrats could have. Neither of them made it stick. I think Obama, again, compared to the last two Democrats to run, has a real chance to make that case on taxes and fairness and how to grow the economy in a way that, I think, could be one of the decisive issues in this race."
Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange between Stephanopoulos and Halperin from the Sunday, July 6, This Week on ABC:
Surprise! Barbara Walters visits an anti-American dictator and returns with very nice remarks about him. Returning from the week long break on "The View" July 7, Barbara Walters described how she spent America’s birthday, and the celebration of a document denouncing tyranny, with an anti-American tyrant.
While most Americans celebrated Independence Day with fireworks and barbeques, Barbara Walters spent the occasion dining with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, whom Walters described as "intelligent" and "charming" who wants "very much to have good relations with us." Perhaps realizing her own gushiness about Assad Walters pre-empted accusations and denied she is "brainwashed." [audio available here]
During the weekend's coverage of President Bush's trip to the G-8 Summit in Japan, ABC correspondents Martha Raddatz and John Cochran both reminded viewers of faux pas by the President from past G-8 Summits. On World News Saturday, while downplaying expectations of any significant accomplishments at the summit, Raddatz relayed: "In fairness, the G-8 rarely has created any breakthrough announcements. The most memorable moments had little to do with real news. There was the famous shoulder rub with Germany's Angela Merkel, and the live microphone that caught the President talking in less-than-diplomatic terms while he lunched with Tony Blair." (Transcript follows)
ABC showed the clip of Bush startling German Chancellor Angela Merkel by grabbing her shoulders from behind, and a censored clip from 2006 of him using profanity while talking about the terror group Hezbollah with then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bush: "What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this [BLEEP]-"
Wow, that Rosie O'Donnell is one classy gal, isn't she?
On Wednesday, the "comedienne" did a guest stint at a Cyndi Lauper concert in Vancouver, Canada, during which she called Ann Coulter a bitch, and rather indelicately compared her experience on "The View" to the scene in the movie "Born Innocent" when Linda Blair was raped in the shower at a girls' reformatory.
I kid you not.
What follows is a partial transcript of this disgrace (video embedded right), along with a clip from Friday's "Red Eye" on Fox News featuring a response from guest Ann Coulter (readers are warned of strong language and sexual content):
Thomas Beatie, the transsexual "man" who was really born a woman, has garnered a lot of news coverage over the past few months because he is the first "man" to become pregnant. ABC promoted the "pregnant man" four times in two and half months on its morning show, "Good Morning America" while ABCNews.com also heavily promoted the story.
Well, Beatie recently gave birth and ABCNews.com jumped on the story and is treating Beatie like a celebrity. The front page features the headline "Exclusive: Pregnant Man Has Baby Girl" alongside a picture of the "man's" pregnant body.
Thursday’s "Good Morning America" used the Fourth of July holiday to exaggerate the effects that food prices are having on consumers. In its "Hitting Home" segment, reporter Sharyn Alfonsi reported on the price increases of certain Fourth of July barbecue staples, claiming that "Americans are gonna eat 110 million pounds hot dogs and that could take a big bite out of their wallets."
At about 8:05am ET this morning, MRC President Brent Bozell, publisher of NewsBusters, appeared on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" to discuss the networks' slavish coverage of Barack Obama and his campaign for President.
As Mr. Bozell says himself in the video (Windows Media), the Big Three (NBC, ABC and CBS) aren't delivering news stories so much as they are issuing Obama campaign press releases, save for the fact that the campaign itself would be too embarrassed to engage in this kind of overwrought hyperbole.
Mr. Bozell expounds on the glowing coverage of Barack Obama, and juxtaposes it with the now vicious reporting on his opponent John McCain, and goes on to predict how the two Party conventions will be covered.
With Starbucks’ announcement that it will closing 600 of its locations nationwide, the network morning shows on Wednesday heralded this news as another sign of a bad economy. ABC’s Bianna Golodryga on "Good Morning America" lamented that "Americans are struggling just to pay for a cup of Starbucks coffee." NBC’s Matt Lauer’s clever headline: "Trouble brewing -- Starbucks announces its closing 600 stores in the next year. Is the demand for $4 lattes dying in a tough economy?"
But CBS’s "The Early Show" took the puns and the "doom and gloom" to a new level. Host Maggie Rodriguez teased the headline news: "Starbucks shutting its doors on hundreds of stores. Tough economic times or just a grande letdown?" Correspondent Ben Tracy, in his report on the closings, quipped, "The economic slowdown has been a real grind for Starbucks' profits. After filling up their gas tanks, some coffee lovers don't have enough left to fill up their cups."
"Good Morning America" on Wednesday attempted to guilt trip John McCain for taking a foreign trip while "Americans wrestle with a tough economy." Five times over the course of two segments, various GMA hosts, reporters and analysts insinuated that McCain's trip to Colombia and Mexico might result in voters thinking he doesn't care about the economic situation of Americans.
Correspondent Bianna Golodryga pointedly wondered, "But at a time when polls show Obama ahead of McCain by 16 points on the economy, should McCain be staying closer to home?" GMA co-host Robin Roberts, in an interview with Senator McCain, questioned, "So, why is Senator McCain abroad when Americans are focused on the economy here at home and losing jobs, more and more jobs, as Bianna just reported?" The candidate replied by mentioning the fight against the Colombian drug trade as one reason for his South American trip. Undeterred, Roberts continued her theme. She repeated, " We've seen that over and over again, so many want to know, other than what you just said, why are you in Colombia this morning?" This prompted an irritated McCain to reply, "Well, I'd be glad to repeat myself."
ABC correspondent John Berman used a report on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" to whine about the fact that Barack Obama has had to defend himself against serious charges. He opened the segment by commenting on a series of speeches the Democrat is giving that tout patriotism and lamented, "Well, you would think a man elected to the U.S. Senate, who is the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, would not feel a need to defend his love for America."
Berman's colleague, GMA co-host Robin Roberts, interviewed Obama surrogate General Wesley Clark and actually grilled him about his assertion that John McCain's Vietnam-era military service isn't a credential to be president. However, she credulously accepted the attempts by the Democratic nominee to disavow himself from the attack, saying, "...The McCain and Obama camps are divided on most things but they have agreed on one, that the comment by retired General Wesley Clark was out of line..."
On June 24, however, Roberts discussed remarks made by Charlie Black, an aide to Senator McCain, in which Mr. Black claimed that a terrorist attack would help the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. In this instance, she was far more cynical. Roberts speculated, "Almost immediately, we had apologies from McCain and Charlie Black, but is this the kind of thing that a campaign puts out there on purpose and then retracts?"
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to economic analyst Mark Zandi about the state of the economy and asked: "Oil's up, gasoline's up, food prices up, stocks, way, way, way, way down. Home owner -- home values are down. Is there an end in sight to all of this bad news?" Zandi replied: "You just made me depressed. No. It's just bad news. It really is...It's just a really tough time for many Americans."
Later, Smith commented on how all the bad economic news seems to contribute to bad economic events: "It just seems like we're in this cumulative cycle that, you know, once one threshold of bad news gets reached, we reach to yet another one." That comment sparked this exchange with Zandi:
ZANDI: Yeah, it's a self re-enforcing negative cycle. You know, that's what happens during recessions, and that's what we're in the middle of right now.
SMITH: Whoa, is this a recession?
ZANDI: You know that -- that's a debate among economists and policy makers. But in the minds of the average American household I think there's no debate, this is a recession. I mean they're worth less today than they were a year ago, they're purchasing power is lower. I mean, for most people that's the definition of recession. So, economists can debate it but I think most people think this is a recession.
Despite the "historic" nature of Thursday's Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment is an individual right, all three morning shows virtually ignored the decision, devoting a combined total of three minutes and 33 seconds to the story. And between CBS's "Early Show," NBC's "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America," that's out of eight hours of programming.
In fact, the three and a half minutes of story time does not even equal the over four minutes that Wednesday's "Early Show" alone gave to the critically important subject of how to Feng Shui your house for pets. On Friday, however, the CBS program could only find a mere 30 seconds for the most definitive gun ruling the Supreme Court has ever made. And while "Good Morning America" spent almost three minutes on Madonna and whether or not she's getting divorced, the show only allowed 93 seconds of air time for the D.C. gun case. Similarly, the "Today" show devoted 90 seconds to the topic, despite admitting that it was "the most important ruling ever on gun rights." Now, what could the cause for all this be? Could it have something to do with the fact that presidential candidate Barack Obama has repeatedly flip-flopped about his position on the case? Or maybe it's because Democrats in general don't seem eager to see gun control become a major issue in the 2008 presidential race and liberals in the media are helpfully playing along.
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts treated Father Michael Pfleger to a fawning interview on Thursday in which she mostly ignored his radical comments and lauded the "maverick priest," describing him as "not someone to be silenced."
Although, a previous segment featured a single clip of Pfleger's sermon at the former church of Barack Obama where he viciously attacked Senator Hillary Clinton, Roberts ignored other, more inflammatory remarks by the priest, such as his assertion, made during the same sermon as the Clinton attack, that "America has been raping people of color and America has to pay the price for the rape!" Of course, Roberts didn't mention this quote. Instead, she spun Pfleger as someone who is "passionate about the Word" and cheered the anti-crime and poverty work he's done.
George Stephanopoulos might be Chief Washington Correspondent of ABC News, but that apparently doesn’t stop him from hosting partisan book parties at his Georgetown home for Democratic authors trying to help the Democrats "get religion" and nab some more voters of faith. In Thursday’s Washington Post, religion reporter Michelle Boorstein wrote a story boosting the new book by Michael Sean Winters on wooing Catholics back into the Democratic fold:
All the pieces were there for a classic Washington celebrity book party: George Stephanopoulos's gorgeously appointed Georgetown home, media glitterati like Chris Matthews milling around, a book about politics, a bunch of priests.
A bunch of priests?
If anything embodied the complicated, shifting and sort of weird relationship between politics and religion these days -- particularly on the left -- it was the party Tuesday night for local writer Michael Sean Winters's new book: "Left at the Altar: How the Democrats Lost the Catholics and How the Catholics Can Save the Democrats."
The U.S. is not in a recession, but viewers wouldn't know it from watching "Good Morning America." In the span of three days, the ABC program has eight times proposed cures in its "Recession Rescue" segment. On June 24 alone, GMA fretted about the "recession" five times. This is despite the fact that America hasn't had one quarter of negative growth, let alone the two necessary for there to be a recession.
On Tuesday, teasing a story on how bad credit can keep people from getting a job, co-host Robin Roberts previewed "important tips in our Recession Rescue." At the top of 7:30 half hour, she again told audiences to stay tuned for "important tips in this morning's Recession Rescue." Ten minutes later, news anchor Chris Cuomo promised "our Recession Rescue" would give credit advice designed to keep viewers from not missing out on a job. Later in the show, he touted another story on how to save for retirement and labeled it as, that's right, "a good Recession Rescue." Now, certainly, the economy has been struggling and many people are having difficulty, but do words not mean things to the reporters and producers at GMA? Or would they simply shrug their shoulders and say, "Close enough?"
Former top Democratic aide-turned ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday spun Barack Obama's repeated exclusions of Muslims as a way to "combat this issue" that he is a follower of Islam. Reacting to a question by "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts about Muslim voters feeling snubbed by the Democratic presidential candidate, Stephanopoulos admitted that the campaign is distancing itself from anything Islamic.
He then justified, "What the Obama campaign makes no apologies for, though, is trying to combat this issue that's really running around e-mail chains all across the country that Barack Obama is a Muslim. He is not." Stephanopoulos continued, "And they feel that they have to take every possible step they can to combat these rumors." In other words, the fact that the Obama campaign excluded two Muslim women from a campaign rally last week is an understandable reaction for someone trying to "combat rumors?"
When ABC's George Stephanopoulos, along with three-fourths of his panel, pile on a Democrat with the cameras rolling, you know said liberal elected official made a blunder of epic proportions.
Such was the case on Sunday's "This Week" when with the exception of Democrat pol Donna Brazile, it was virtually unanimous that Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's decision to go back on his campaign promise to accept public funds was "a big, big deal and a big, big flip-flop."
Readers should brace themselves for an alternate reality, as in a strange moment in television news history, George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, and Matt Dowd actually agreed that the Obamessiah made a serious boo boo (video available here, Brazile's sycophancy removed for what should be obvious reasons, picture courtesy ABC News):
On Sunday evening, ABC and CBS presented opposite views on whether racism by white voters will hurt Barack Obama on election day, as each network cited its own polling data. On ABC's World News Sunday, referring to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, anchor Dan Harris reported that "race does not appear to be a major factor," although he qualified that contention by pausing and adding, "right now." But on the CBS Evening News, correspondent Randall Pinkston more pessimistically referred to the "Bradley Effect," the theory that white voters sometimes lie to pollsters about their willingness to vote for a black candidate. Pinkston also found: "In a recent CBS News poll, for white voters who say race is a factor in their presidential choice, McCain leads Obama by nearly 20 points. It's a major problem for Obama with no easy solution." But it is also notable that while both reports focused on the possibility that racism by some white voters might hurt Obama, neither report examined black voters who might choose not to vote for a white candidate out of racism toward whites. (Transcripts follow)
On Monday's "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts again interviewed Elizabeth Edwards and lauded her as a "powerful voice" on the issue of health care. The journalist never identified Edwards, the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, as a "liberal voice" on the subject or questioned the rightness of government run health care. Roberts also failed to ask just where the money to fund universal health care would come from.
In an intro, Roberts announced, "[Elizabeth Edwards] has, of course, emerged as a powerful voice in her own right, particularly on the issue of health care." During an April segment, the co-host applauded the "passionate voice" the then-candidate's wife brought to the debate over the issue. On Monday's segment, Roberts only challenged Edwards from the left. Referencing earlier support for Senator Hillary Clinton's universal health care plan, the journalist quizzed, "...You indicated [during the April interview] that you considered Senator Clinton's health care plan a better plan. That you had some concerns about Senator Obama's health care plan. Are you going to partner with him and do you still have those same concerns?"
From the Disney-owned Web site that brought you concerns that college co-eds were foregoing textbooks to pay for birth control comes the latest tale of high gas price-induced economic woes.
"Nevada Brothels Hit Hard by Gas Prices," ABCNews.com trumpets in a teaser headline in the top headlines slideshow on its front page. The editors showed a bit more leg in the photo caption: "Owners fight back: free $50 gas cards for high-spending customers."
Here's some of the tale of woe from the article itself:
As the Silver State's fuel prices hit all-time highs, Nevada's brothel employees find it harder to make a living these days, leaving some people wondering whether they should stay in the business.
At the Stardust Ranch in eastern Nevada, bartender Cindy Howe says they're "down to only two girls. They don't want to come here because business is down."
San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci dutifully dusted off the same liberal talking points we hear every four years about Republican nominees: the women in their own party hate them.
In her front page article, Marinucci found no conservative Republican women to defend McCain or critique him from the right, but she found three Republican, including Obama backer Susan Eisenhower, and two Democratic women to slam McCain.
But as might be expected in the liberal media, the largest reason these liberal Republican women won’t vote for McCain was chalked up to "women’s rights," code words for abortion. The article devoted a special section to McCain's stance on abortion. Of course this ignores the fact that millions of socially conservative Republican women backed equally pro-life candidates such as Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney in the primaries.
For the second time in eight months, "Good Morning America" has featured an extremely liberal sexuality author, who blogs on a condom website and touts Democrats, as a neutral expert. On Friday's program, Logan Levkoff, the author of "Third Base Ain't What it Used to be," and a woman who has previously stated she wouldn't rule out giving birth control to elementary school students, appeared to discuss the epidemic of teen pregnancies in Gloucester, Massachusetts. However, GMA never identified the leftist positions of this woman who once wrote a sex column titled "Ask Mistress Lola."
Levkoff explained to co-host Robin Roberts that "our policies are not helping our children." Running down abstinence education, she argued, "And the fact is, we as parents need to get involved and we as schools need to advocate for healthy sexuality education. And that means talking about everything, not just abstinence, because, clearly, even if that's what they're getting that's not what these kids are doing." Levkoff is no moderate voice. She blogs on the Trojan Elexa website and her topics have included celebrating "Blog for Choice Day," bashing President Bush and being "psyched" when the Democrats won back Congress in 2006. Shouldn't it be the responsibility of ABC to identify the extremely liberal perspective that Levkoff operates from?
While print media and cable news channels are all over the "sweetheart" mortgage deals given to two Democratic U.S. senators, network news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC are keeping mum even though the scandal involves one of their favorite targets: Countrywide.
"This is a huge story ever since Portfolio magazine broke with this story. Print media outlets have covered it, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the cable networks are there," Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor told "Fox & Friends" June 20. "And then you look at the evening news shows: they're non-existent."
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez described the Catholic Church’s refusal to allow filming on Church property of a movie prequel to "The DaVinci Code," starring Tom Hanks, this way: "...the battle between Tom Hanks and the Vatican. You know he's in Rome filming the prequel to 'The Da Vinci Code,' 'Angels and Demons,' and the Church there is up in arms, they're barring them from filming in churches. They believe the film, like the book, is sacrilegious."
On Wednesday, ABC’s "Good Morning America" featured a story on the controversy in which correspondent Nick Watt declared: "When the might of Rome clashes with a literary behemoth, expect some colorful language. 'An offense against God,' is what a diocese of Rome spokesman just called this book." Watt then later proclaimed: "The Dan Brown express will not be stopped," to which GMA co-host Diane Sawyer replied: "Yes, Nick, I mean that's the irony, isn't it? The more the Church complains, probably the better it is for the business."
Meanwhile, on Thursday’s "Early Show," correspondent Allen Pizzey explained: "Fans of the book, 'Angels and Demons,' keep streaming into the churches in Rome where the plot unfolds. But the film crew turning it into a movie has been banned from them and any other Church property. The plot is not overly anti-Church, but some of the most graphic scenes are not something with which the Church wants to be associated."
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on Michelle Obama appearing on ABC’s "The View": "Also this morning, like Cindy McCain did this past spring, Michelle Obama co-hosted 'The View' yesterday. We're going to see how comfortable she was with the women of 'The View' and what she had to say on everything from sexism in politics to who does the housework in the Obama home."
Later, correspondent Tracy Smith reported: "Perhaps hoping she'd give her husband a bump in the polls, Michelle Obama played co-host on 'The View' yesterday. Tackling topics from panty hose...to political attacks." A clip was then played of "View" co-host Joy Behar asking Obama: "Do you feel there was any sexism in the media?," with Obama replying: "I -- there is -- yes, there's always a level of -- people aren't used to strong women."
Smith later explained appearances by both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama on "The View" by touting a CBS News poll from April: "58% of voters were undecided on how they felt about Michelle Obama. 75% were undecided about Cindy McCain." Smith then credited Bill Clinton with beginning the trend of presidential candidates, and their wives, making guest appearances on popular shows: "In 1992, then candidate Bill Clinton got attention by playing the sax on Arsenio...Since then, guest spots on entertainment shows have become a political rite of passage." Smith remarked how: "McCain traded barbs with Letterman. And Obama got his groove on with Elllen."
Appearing on June 18's "Hannity and Colmes," "View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck opened up about her rocky relationship with former co-host Rosie O’Donnell. Hasselbeck discussed Michelle Obama’s guest co-host on "The View" before the conversation moved on to Rosie.
Elisabeth exclaimed how much fun "The View" panel is today and then noted that "it was [fun] then it wasn’t, then it is now." The daytime personality added regarding Rosie O'Donnell "we certainly aren’t friends. I’d be lying if I said that. And do I wake up in the morning feeling less stressed when I go to work? Yes, I do."
Hasselbeck claimed the worst moment in her relationship with Rosie involved the now famous on air fight.
"Good Morning America" reporter Kate Snow resorted to typical liberal terminology while asking Cindy McCain on Thursday about abortion and "women's rights groups." After observing that her husband, Senator John McCain, has been courting females, Snow simplistically asserted, "...But women's rights groups say once [women voters] discover he's anti-abortion, they may change their minds." So, pro-abortion organizations equal "women's rights groups?"
The interview, which took place in Vietnam where Mrs. McCain has been working with a charity organization, did feature friendly subjects, such as the children of the politician's wife and other topics. But Snow also offered questions that appeared designed to trap McCain. Speaking of Barack Obama, Snow queried, "Would you feel safe with Barack Obama as your president?" After mentioning the lack of interviews Cindy McCain has participated in, the ABC correspondent blurted, "And if [people] say, oh, she's just sort of up there and posing, what would you say to people who think that?" In contrast, "Good Morning America" has delivered numerous softball pieces on the spouses of Democratic presidential candidates.