On Friday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman fretted over the fact that local governments are aggressively fighting illegal immigration. An ABC graphic worried, "Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants: Have Communities Gone Too Far?" Discussing the efforts by a Texas town to stop the influx of illegals, Shipman claimed, "...Neighbors suddenly find they can't help themselves. The immigration debate exploding without the niceties." She also lamented the tone of the debate, saying that since the defeat of the Senate immigration bill, "...What had once been a lofty political debate has now become a gritty, explosive reality."
At no point did it occur to ABC to wonder if illegals had "gone too far" in breaking American laws. Rather, Shipman highlighted sympathetic stories of terrified immigrants. She asserted that in the small town of Irving, Texas, "Latino parents have grown so nervous, they're keeping their kids out of schools." The GMA reporter also talked to an anonymous illegal immigrant in Virginia who recounted the ordeal of having a child who "comes home and asked me, 'Why do they hate us?'"
On Friday's "Good Morning America," ABC reporter David Wright narrated a sympathetic look at Barack Obama's decision not to wear an American flag lapel pin and asserted that this country's "obsession with flag pins isrelatively new." To further defend the Democratic presidential candidate, Wright pointedly noted that liberal bogeyman Richard Nixon wore such a pin. He observed, "Ike didn't wear one. JFK either. Nixon did wear the flag as he told the American people he had nothing to do with Watergate."
Of course, Wright himself was not wearing a pin with the U.S. flag on it. As the MRC has previously noted, ABC President David Westin banned on-air talent from having such pins adorn their lapels. In 2003, he deemed it the "patriotic duty" of reporters not to display the flag. At a journalist conference, he elaborated that "after 9/11, the question came up and we, as a matter of policy at ABC News, tell our people on the air, you shall not wear an American flag or any other symbol on the air."
I wonder how the media will pretend this is bad news? The latest employment numbers are in and not only are they solid, but last month wasn't the catastrophe first reported.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced 110,000 jobs were created in September and 89,000 were created in August. The August number replaces the 4,000 jobs lost that were first reported. If you flash back to last month, you'll remember how much the media screamed about this. ABC was declaring the August numbers a sign of "new fears this morning about the state of our economy," said Bill Weir on September 8. That's how he lead off a downbeat "Good Morning America" story entitled "Road to Recession? Bleak Signals from Job Report."
It only got worse. "And now many are asking whether the disappointing employment figures, coupled with the housing crisis, may head us, have us headed for a serious economic downturn or even recession," worried Weir.
Assume for a moment that a new study by NASA proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that manmade global warming was indeed responsible for the recent ice melts in the Arctic. Think media would have reported it?
In reality, that's a bit of a trick question, for in the past several weeks, television newscasts, papers, and magazines have been filled with hysterical assertions about decreasing Arctic ice levels destined to cause imminent flooding to coastal regions around the world.
As such, it certainly was no surprise when NASA released a report Monday claiming "the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds," virtually no media outlets shared the information with the citizenry, and those that did still blamed the melting ice on - you guessed it - global warming.
The largely boycotted announcement out of NASA stated no such thing (emphasis added):
Catholic-bashing was in vogue on ABC’s The View on Thursday. St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke’s announcement that he would not offer communion to GOP presidential contender Rudy Giuliani – an ardent supporter of abortion embarking on his third marriage – upset Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg."It seems that the Catholic God always says judge,lest ye be judged," complained Goldberg, who also complained the church should punish proponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war. Even Elisabeth Hasselbeck denounced Archbishop Burke as a publicity hound.
The View crew doesn’t seem to think anyone should be refused communion – even if by rejecting Catholic teachings, politicians like Giuliani and John Kerry are clearly not communing with the faith of their youth. MRC's Justin McCarthy provided the transcript.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. I don't know if you guys are aware of this, but, you know, often times when our politicians are running, you know, the Church gets a little aggravated with that because there’s quite a few of them have different pasts and sometimes the Church wants them to be more perfect.
Erik Prince, CEO of Blackwater USA, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform making the lead story on “World News,” “NBC Nightly News” and “CBS Evening News.”
“Glad to come here and correct some facts,” Prince said to the committee.
But, out of the 13 comments on the three broadcasts from members of the 41-person committee, only one was a Republican. Rep. Christopher Shays was also the only member to say something positive about the company.
Is Whoopi Goldberg becoming the Rosie O’Donnell type bully? It appeared that way on the October 3 edition of “The View.” A discussion about Hillary Clinton’s $5,000 a baby entitlement plan quickly descended into a heated exchange between Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Whoopi Goldberg about abortion.
When Hasselbeck noted that $5,000 a baby could lead to fewer abortions in the world, Whoopi told Hasselbeck to “back off” because Hasselbeck has never “been in a position” where she “had to make that decision.”
Whoopi, who claimed to march in a NARAL rally with Katie Couric, also added Elisabeth should have “a little bit of reverence” to the women who had abortions and then spread propaganda about women “found bleeding dead with hangers in their bodies.”
According to the media's parade of children who need government assistance for insurance, President Bush must really just hate children. After all, he vetoed a bill today that would have expanded the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
Leading up to the October 3 veto, the media couldn’t resist scripting it as a vote against children.
What’s at stake, though, included a proposed $35-billion expansion of taxpayer-funded insurance made possible by a huge tax increase on tobacco users many of whom are poor -- burdening the same families the program is designed to help.
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts, for the second day in a row, intimated that Clarence Thomas was guilty of sexually harassing Anita Hill. Interviewing Anucha Brown-Sanders about her successful harassment lawsuit against New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, Roberts gratuitously segued, "Yesterday, sitting where you are right now, Anita Hill, who was here to talk about what happened 16 years ago when she was brought before the Judiciary Committee, with Clarence Thomas being a nominee for the Supreme Court..." Roberts then asked Browne-Sanders, "Do you think your decision in your court case can have a similar impact?"
Implicit in this question is the idea that Hill’s claims against the now-Supreme Court justice are true. Would Roberts use Clinton-accuser Paula Jones as a similar comparison to a modern case? On Tuesday’s GMA, the ABC host employed the same tactic in the interview with Anita Hill. Roberts sympathetically questioned, "Is it better now in the workplace for women?" Again, this leaves the assumption that for things to be "better," Thomas must have been guilty of making them worse for Hill.
With liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appearing on "The View" "objective" journalist Barbara Walters hit Speaker Pelosi from the left. After briefly discussing the renewed Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill controversy, Walters attacked Pelosi for not doing enough to retreat from Iraq.
BARBARA WALTERS: The Democrats came in. They were going to try to bring the troops home. They were going to try to end the war. What happened?
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Well, we are trying to do that. We have a contrast her between a ten year, $1 trillion war that the president is proposing and we’re talking about a year that, that redeployment begins as soon as safely possible and ends within a year. That’s the debate.
Is "The View’s" Joy Behar comparing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to O.J. Simpson? With a comment on the October 2 edition of the women’s chat show, it sounded like it. The "Hot Topic" discussion involved Justice Thomas’ new book "My Grandfather’s Son" and Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations. In that context, Joy Behar offered the following snarky remark.
"Why is he writing this book? He won basically the round. He’s the Supreme Court Justice for life. He should write a book, ‘If I Harassed Her.’"
Presumably she was alluding to O.J. Simpson’s book, "If I Did It." Joy’s comments amused even the show’s "conservative" Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host Robin Roberts sympathetically interviewed Anita Hill and asserted that her 1991 testimony in front of the Senate resulted in the law professor enduring "withering scrutiny from the press." Roberts also pointedly noted that Hill "passed a polygraph test. Clarence Thomas refused to take one. You passed one." An ABC graphic defiantly observed, "Anita Hill: ‘I Stand by my Testimony’"
The segment on GMA stood in stark contrast to the mostly positive and fair coverage Thomas received on Monday’s "Good Morning America" and "Nightline." (The Supreme Court justice has been promoting his new autobiography.) Reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg allowed Thomas to tell his side of the story and attack accusers, such as when Greenburg noted, "Thomas says he faced more racism in the confirmation fight than he did as a child in the segregated south."
As the MRC’s Tim Graham wrote on Monday, Hill, who accused then Supreme Court nominee Thomas of sexual harassment, hardly suffered through "withering scrutiny" from many media outlets, especially in the wake of the hearings. In early 1992, "60 Minutes" reporter Ed Bradley gingerly asked Hill, "When someone looks at you and sees Anita Hill, what do you want that to mean?"
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Kate Snow rose to the defense of Hillary Clinton and the fact that she’s been seen manically giggling in many interviews. Referencing the mocking that the Democratic presidential candidate has taken on "The Daily Show" and other places, Snow asserted that either Hillary Clinton is either "having a really good time out on the campaign trail, or she's the master of a shrewd political skill, disarming her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly." So, the former First Lady is vibrant and fun-loving or brilliant in a good natured way? Those are the only two options?
During the segment, only Democratic operatives or Clinton campaign officials were asked to explain the candidate’s recent outburst of giggles (except for a brief "Daily Show" clip). According to Snow, "Her inner circle insists her laugh is not calculated. It's natural." Clinton operative Capricia Marshall found Hillary’s laughter to be "contagious." Democratic strategist Chris Lehane glowingly described the cackling as "smart and pretty adroit." What else would ABC and Kate Snow expect them to say?
NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News both brought out their Republicans-might-be-racists handbook and took advantage of PBS’s and Tavis Smiley’s decision to hold a Republican debate on black issues on the last week of the third-quarter fundraising crunch. Instead of trying to negotiate a better time, Smiley and PBS painted Republicans as making a huge and possibly racist mistake. Both networks loaded up on soundbites trashing the GOP frontunners for snubbing minorities and creating an "image problem" for themselves and their party.
On Thursday’s Nightly News, hours before the Smiley debate took place, NBC was already casting the debate’s losers as the no-shows. MRC’s Brad Wilmouth compiled the transcript:
This is really hysterical, folks, and definitely requires all drinking vessels be properly stowed before continuing.
Just days before Rush Limbaugh was attacked by a number of press outlets for discussing "phony soldiers" on the air, ABC's Brian Ross did a segment on "World News with Charles Gibson" dealing with "phony heroes...scam artists...posing as the war heroes they never were, claiming credit for acts of courage in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Marvelously, this story was aired on Monday, September 24, just two days before Limbaugh made his comments. And, as noted in a NewsBusters posting by the MRC's Brent Baker, the report even mentioned the same "phony soldier," Jesse Macbeth (pictured to the right), that Limbaugh did on his program Wednesday.
ABC may have set a loathsome new MSM low in insulting traditional Christians. On today's "Good Morning America," the network lumped the "Christan right" with the 9-11 Islamic terrorists as driving people to atheism.
Keying off an atheists convention being held this weekend, GMA ran a segment on the "Rise in Atheism." Seeking to explain the phenomenon, as images rolled first of the WTC in flames and then of a man placidly holding a sign that simply read "One Nation Under God" and of a display at a demonstration of the Ten Commandments, ABC's Liz Marlantes stated:
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host Diane Sawyer interviewed actress Sally Field and again indicated that the TV star's edited anti-war tirade at the September 16 Emmys was simply no big deal. The GMA anchor dismissively observed, "Again, we were saying at the time, everybody in Canada heard the whole thing, sat at home and watched it." Agreeing with the implication of American provincialism, the "Brothers and Sisters" star fragmentedly noted, "And in London. A friend of mine in London." Sawyer added that the cultured British must have been "thinking probably nothing much of it."
Field also furthered the idea that Fox censored her as part of some pro-war agenda. According to the "Flying Nun" star, "...When it has to do with war at all on Fox, I think they all ran around like a bunch of chickens and started pulling wires, you know, ‘Get her off the air!’" Of course, the actual reason her comments were edited was because Fox feared being fined by the FCC. Other edits that night included a profanity and a Ray Romano’s use of the word "screwing." In fact, Fox allowed several conservative-slamming, non-vulgar jokes to air unimpeded.
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," for the fourth time this year, the ABC program skewered America for not being generous with paid leave and openly lobbied viewers to support a Democratic, big government initiative. After lumping the U.S. in with countries such as Liberia and Lesotho, as being one of only five countries that don’t provide paid maternity leave, GMA contributor Tory Johnson appeared with Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to promote his legislation.
"First and most important is to make your voice heard, Johnson exclaimed. Openly advocating this government expansion, she added, "On the GMA website, we have links to all the senators’ and congressmen’s offices. Call them. E-mail them. Let them know where you stand." Would GMA promote legislation for family friendly television that a Republican presidential candidate was sponsoring? Also, there was almost no mention of the expensive cost of providing eight weeks of paid maternity leave and how that would effect the U.S. taxpayer. Instead, co-host Robin Roberts mentioned that unpaid leave is already available and wondered, "What's stopping the government from making the law truly family friendly?" Johnson alternatively described paid leave as "government’s relief" and "great benefits" without much consideration of where these "benefits" are coming from.
Cooper joins other members of the mainstream media who are "featured attendees" at this year’s "Clinton Global Initiative" annual meeting, including Daljit Dhaliwal of PBS; Nicholas Kristof and George Suroweicki of the New York Times; Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, and former (current?) Clinton lackey George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Major media executives attending the meeting include Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks; Rupert Murdoch; and Ted Turner.
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host George Stephanopoulos provided another example of the close relationship that the "This Week" host has with Bill and Hillary Clinton. After playing a debate clip of the New York Senator publicly disagreeing with her husband over a question about torture, Stephanopoulos revealed to co-host Robin Roberts, "My e-mail started going off the minute after that exchange happened. All the Clinton people."
Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, explained that Mrs. Clinton’s operatives "were thrilled" with the retort and "they like any moment where she can show that, actually, she's the one in charge. He's not pulling the strings." In other words, the Clinton camp e-mailed the ABC anchor, told him the debate moment they most appreciated and Stephanopoulos dutifully highlighted it the next day on "Good Morning America." This isn’t the first time the veteran journalist has touted his continuing ties to the Clintons. In March of 2005, he boasted to (then) MSNBC host Don Imus that he talked with liberal political operative James Carville "every day."
On Monday’s "Nightline," co-anchor Terry Moran spent almost the entire 30 minute program gushing over Bush-bashing rapper Kanye West. The ABC host asserted that West’s 2005 comment that "George Bush doesn’t care about black people" turned West "into a cultural force to be reckoned with" and extolled the "complex and thoughtful pop star." Moran even opened the program by asking, "What went through [West's] mind when he blasted the President in the wake of Katrina?" The co-anchor breathlessly wondered, "Would he say it again?"
Moran could hardly be more effusive in his adulation for the rapper. During the course of the program, he rhapsodized that West "is more than merely popular. He's a very interesting figure on the cultural landscape, a complex icon of music and style." Dropping all pretext of objectivity, Moran lauded the performer, who essentially called President Bush a racist, as "a shrewd and self-reflective observer of America's racial politics" and someone who has "got a lot to say." The ABC host briefly played music critic and marveled at West’s "complex and intricate rap lyrics." It’s probably not surprising that, during a discussion over whether the rapper is boastful, Westcomplimented Moran as "definitely one of the better reporters who have interviewed me."
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program once again demonstrated the template for GOP figures to receive air time: Trash your fellow Republicans. GMA featured former Congressman J.C. Watts questioning whether top 2008 GOP presidential candidates are racist for skipping a PBS debate on minority issues. Continuing the theme, co-host Robin Roberts asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, "...Why are Republicans so reluctant to talk to minorities?"
In a piece setting up the Gingrich interview, Roberts intoned that the absence of Republican front-runners at the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." GMA co-host Diane Sawyer teased the segment by not-so-subtlety asking, "...Are the Republican candidates snubbing minority events?" Roberts and Sawyer never bothered to mention that Thursday’s PBS debate will be moderated by liberal host Tavis Smiley who, for instance, wondered in May, "Why shouldn’t we be outraged" at George Bush. Perhaps the Republican front-runners simply don’t want to go into a hostile, left-wing event. Would "Good Morning America" insist that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attend a forum hosted by the NRA?
CORRECTION: 2007-09-25 14:20:00 -0400 [An earlier version misidentified Jake Tapper as saying the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." This was actually said by co-host Robin Roberts.]
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a mostly softball interview with Columbia University President Lee Bollinger about his decision to host Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the prestigious school. Rather than grill the University president about the unpopular decision, Cuomo offered friendly questions, such as when he wondered, "What value do you think Ahmadinejad's comments will add to the debate in this country?"
The ABC host also appeared to have left an actually compelling question on the cutting room floor. At the end of what was apparently a pre-taped piece, Cuomo observed to co-host Diane Sawyer that Bollinger would consider inviting Osama bin Laden. He claimed, "Even when we brought up Osama bin Laden for an invitation, it wasn't dismissed. No one was dismissed." And yet, that query isn’t actually in the segment at all. Wouldn’t such a shocking answer be big news? At the very least, one would assume, that quote would be included in the interview. It should also be noted that Sawyer responded defensively to Cuomo even referencing the missing bin Laden question. She quickly added, "Yes, but [Bollinger] says the invitation has not gone to Osama bin Laden."
There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
Sometimes, the truth is obvious to everyone. During a discussion with fellow MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann wondered why Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards found it necessary to buy commercial time following a speech by President Bush. Marveling at Edwards’s actions, he revealed, "I don't think I'm saying anything unknown to the audience, I don't think he would have gotten a hard time from this particular network."
Speaking of Chris Matthews, one has to admire the host’s creativity. On Tuesday, while discussing the tasering of a University of Florida student, the cable news anchor blamed it on, you guessed it, Iraq. Matthews also decried the "fascistic notion" of American troops "forcing" democracy on Iraqis. Only a day earlier, the MSNBC host wondered, "Should we put Exxon signs up over Arlington Cemetery and Mobil signs up there, like they have at baseball stadiums?"
When members of the Duke University lacrosse team were falsely accused of raping a black stripper last year, media focused great attention on the woman in the middle of the controversy, and the supposed crime.
Yet, as pointed out Thursday by NewsBuster Matthew Balan, as the press report activities in Jena, Louisiana, the name of the white boy who was beaten by the "Jena 6," Justin Barker, is rarely mentioned, and the assault which precipitated the arrest of the "6" is either ignored, or downplayed.
Such was certainly the case on Thursday's "Nightly News" which led with the day's civil rights protests in Jena, but, for all intents and purposes, ignored the assault which precipitated the arrests of the six students in question.
Ironically, NBC's Brian Williams began the broadcast:
On Thursday’s morning shows and Wednesday’s evening newscasts, CBS and ABC discussed a possible visit to Ground Zero by Iran’s President and, at the same time, ignored Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s connections to terror and also his statements about wiping out Israel. On "Good Morning America," Chris Cuomo briefly mentioned the upcoming U.S. trip and only cited construction at New York’s Ground Zero and "security concerns" as reasons to deny the man a visit. On CBS's "Early Show," reporter Russ Mitchell filed a similarly bland report. Neither mentioned that the Iranian leader in 2005 called for Israel to be wiped from the map and Iran is a state supporter of terrorism.
Only on NBC’s "Today," did Ahmadinejad’s extreme statements and actions warrant a reference. Reporter Andrea Mitchell labeled the attempted visit to Ground Zero a "PR stunt" and pointedly observed, "[Bush] Administration officials called it appalling. Presidential candidates condemned the visit and one 9/11 widow said it's like letting Osama Bin Laden visit Ground Zero." With a series of anchor briefs, Wednesday night’s news broadcasts featured a similar pattern. NBC’s "Nightly News" host Brian Williams proclaimed that the request had been rejected because of security and the fact that "Iran is, as the U.S. said today, among the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism." However, "World News" host Charles Gibson provided no reason at all. In a news brief, he simply asserted, "[Ahmadinejad] told New York police he’d like to visit Ground Zero. The New York City police department has said no." "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric didn’t cover the subject at all.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," ABC anchors and reporters spun the editing of Sally Field’s profanity laced anti-war rant at Sunday’s Emmys as an example of political censorship by Fox, a right-wing network. Reporter Dan Harris ominously observed, "Some saythe Fox network, owned by well known conservative Rupert Murdoch, was engaged in political censorship."
However, during the ceremony, "Sopranos" creator David Chase, extolled the values of gangsters. In a halting speech, he asserted, "And hell, let’s face it, if the world and this nation was run by gangsters-- [Pause] Maybe it is." Mr. Chase’s political statement was not censored, nor were any of the numerous anti-Bush and Republican-slamming jokes that aired on the awards show. But rather than accept the explanation that Field’s comments were cut because she used an expletive, Harris claimed, "...It’s the Sally Field case that is provoking the real cries of political censorship because Fox cut off not only her expletive but also her entire thought." The argument is somewhat self defeating because, as Harris noted, Fox also censored comedian Ray Romano’s off-color joke. In fact, the ACLU is attacking the edit on the grounds of vulgarity, not politics.