According to the three networks, the serious effort by conservatives to defund ObamaCare isn't worth as much coverage as the addition of a new dog to the President's family. In just a 24-hour period, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning shows devoted six minutes and 23 seconds to the debut of the puppy "Sunny." In contrast, those same shows have granted a scant two minutes and 26 seconds over a two-month period (July 9 through September 8) to the move by conservative senators such as Mike Lee and Ted Cruz to strip funding from the increasingly-unpopular ObamaCare.
The networks didn't bother to stack the deck with segments heavily opposed to the "Defund It" push, promoted by influential conservative organizations and some GOP lawmakers. Instead, they chose to deprive the campaign of nearly all publicity, omitting it from their normal political coverage. ABC was the worst offender, with the network offering a mere eight second reference to the defund effort.
Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead and sent the Obama administration scrambling for a cover story that the Big Three broadcast networks initially bought and were slow to unravel.
A similar pattern has emerged in 2013. As new information about the administration’s actions before and after the attacks have been revealed through congressional testimony, whistleblowers, and eyewitnesses, the Big Three have responded by censoring, breezing past or spinning politically damaging bombshells. (full special report after the jump)
Wednesday's CBS Evening News twice underlined President Obama's 2012 "red line" remark before playing a soundbite of the Democrat's "I didn't set a red line" reversal earlier in the day. Scott Pelley noted that "a year ago, he [Obama] warned the Syrian dictator that a red line would be crossed if the dictator used chemical weapons against his rebellious citizens." Major Garrett soon added that Obama "set a red line on the use of chemical weapons 13 months ago." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
None of the Big Three evening newscasts played the actual clip of the President's 2012 warning. On NBC Nightly News, Chuck Todd did his best to explain away the President's denial: "The President redefined what he meant by his red line". Jonathan Karl didn't even mention the original "red line" comment during his report on ABC's World News.
While covering Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, ABC's Martha Raddatz described the Syrian dictator as "looking poised and immaculately dressed." This light-hearted description is reminiscent of some of the softball questions asked by Diane Sawyer on February 5, 2007. The then-Good Morning America anchor dished with the man who, in August, allegedly used chemical weapons on his own people: "You like video games?...Do you have an iPod?"
After the dictator announced that he did, Sawyer sounded more like an Access Hollywood host: "And you're a country music fan. Faith Hill? Shania Twain?"She then moved on to the topics of what films Assad enjoyed. The fan of chemical weapons and gassing his own people touted The Pursuit of Happyness. He blurbed, "It tells you a story...Maybe there's many beneficial things to learn from, about real life." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC on Thursday night again offered a one-sided take on the fast food "strikes," promoting the "living wage." Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis featured multiple clips of angry protesters, but none of those on the other side. (She did the same thing earlier in the day on Good Morning America.) In comparison, NBC's Nightly News at least highlighted those worrying about the economic impact of doubling the minimum wage.
World News anchor Diane Sawyer introduced, "A lot of people at the drive through window at your favorite fast food are asking the question, what is a fair living wage?" Jarvis included a clip of a woman asserting, "My whole household of seven people is surviving on my one $8 an hour [salary]. So, we're barely holding our head over water." At no time did she wonder if the protests were organically grown or something heavily promoted by wealthy unions.
Friday's CBS This Morning ballyhooed the Justice Department's recent move to relax enforcement of laws against marijuana in the several states that have legalized medical or recreational use of the drug. Gayle King heralded the "historic new regulations", while Bill Whitaker failed to include talking heads who oppose this move by the Obama administration [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].
By contrast, ABC and NBC's morning newscasts minimized their coverage of the story on Friday. ABC's Good Morning America granted a mere 17 seconds of air time to the federal government's decision, while devoting 25 seconds to the plight of two kittens that strayed onto subway tracks in New York City.
When conservatives rally or march over an issue, such as the yearly March for Life, they don't get much attention. Yet, ABC offered two reports on Thursday promoting a liberal-backed strike on fast food restaurants. Good Morning America's Rebecca Jarvis went so far as to link the protest to Wednesday's 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's rally.
Jarvis touted, "They're hoping that scenes like the one behind me in New York will play out today in Chicago, in Denver, in Los Angeles, hoping that workers raising their voice will help raise the minimum wage." She then compared, "The day-long event comes on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America on Wednesday conceded that school districts across the country are dropping a new government-imposed lunch program because, as one student put it, "the food is just nasty." However, no one on GMA pointed out that the plan had been heavily promoted by Michelle Obama. In contrast, back in February, the journalists featured the First Lady for an eight and a half minute segment, including time to promote her Let's Move initiative.
Anchor George Stephanopoulos allowed, "Schools across the country are dropping out of a federal program to curb childhood obesity because the kids just won't eat what they're served." Reporter David Kerley asserted that the "national school lunch program rolled just last fall to great fanfare." According to a student in Kentucky, the new lunches "taste like vomit."
Why should things change now? NBC and ABC on Thursday night and Friday morning yet again refused to identify San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, accused of sexually harassing 18 women, as a Democrat. ABC's Good Morning America devoted two segments to his impending resignation, but mentioned only "Mayor Bob Filner."
In contrast, GMA on Thursday hyped the controversy of the Lieutenant governor of Texas, a "rising Republican star," caught on a 911 call after he attempted to free his niece from jail. On Friday, only CBS This Morning identified Filner as a Democrat. Reporter Bill Whitaker interviewed the ex-fiancee of "Democrat Bob Filner." Whitaker explained, "They already shared a passion for progressive politics, the fight for the homeless, civil rights, immigrants."
The journalists on Good Morning America, Wednesday, again ignored the fact that San Diego's mayor, accused of sexually harassing 18 women, is a Democrat. Yet, on the very same program, reporter John Muller made sure to highlight Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst's scandal, chiding the "rising national Republican star." Dewhurst is under fire for intervening after his step-niece was arrested for shoplifting.
Guest co-host Josh Elliott hyped, "Caught on tape, the rising political star pressing police to let his niece out of jail." Lara Spencer hyperbolically introduced the story as a "stunning 911 call." Underlining the point, Muller informed, "David Dewhurst is one of the most powerful people in Texas politics and a rising national Republican star." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Regarding a prominent Democrat embroiled in a scandal, however, correspondent Amy Robach only noted, "Well, the embattled mayor of San Diego has reached a settlement in the sexual harassment lawsuit against him."
A chemical attack in Syria that may have killed as many as 1300 people was of little interest to ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday. The network morning show allowed a mere 25 seconds to the large scale gassing. In such a small amount of time, it's not surprising that guest news anchor Amy Robach skipped the salient point that this attack violated the so-called "red line" set out by Barack Obama in 2012.
NBC's Today allowed a little more time, two minutes and eight seconds, but also ignored the red line angle and any mention of Barack Obama. It was only CBS This Morning that noticed this. Anchor Charlie Rose pointed out, "President Obama has said that Syria's government would cross a red line if it uses chemical weapons against its own people. We're monitoring the White House for any response." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America devoted a segment on Tuesday to the "White House response" on the growing crisis in Egypt without ever mentioning Barack Obama's name. George Stephanopoulos simply informed viewers that "members of Congress continue to debate whether to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt."
Stephanopoulos later told reporter Martha Raddatz that "the United States [is] saying that for now, at least, they will not be suspending military aid to the government in Egypt." Yet, despite the ABC graphic declaring, "White House Response on Egypt Crisis," no GMA journalist in that segment actually mentioned the President who works in the "White House."
Tuesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to cover the latest development in the controversy surrounding the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Gayle King gave a 26-second news brief to Secretary of State John Kerry clearing four mid-level diplomats to return to duty, after they were placed on leave by his predecessor, Hillary Clinton [audio available here; video below the jump].
Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today devoted any air time to Kerry's move. Instead, the two programs set aside full reports to Sunny, the new dog adopted by the Obama family.
Rather than focus on the myriad of problems plaguing the implementation of ObamaCare, on Tuesday, all three network morning shows instead provided coverage of the First Family getting a second dog. On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander happily announced: "Move over Bo, there's a new dog in town, Sunny. And for her inaugural play date, the White House released it's own music video. A pair of presidential pets frolicking on the South Lawn, that'll get tails wagging." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news reader Elizabeth Vargas reported: "The one-year-old female Portuguese water dog is described as full of energy and very affectionate. First Lady Michelle Obama took to Instagram to make the announcement, tweeting, 'So excited to introduce the newest member of the Obama family – our puppy, Sunny!'" On CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose declared: "That is the same breed as Obama's other dog, Bo....The two dogs appear to be getting along just fine."
ABC was the only network on both Monday night and Tuesday morning to highlight New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signing a bill banning gay conversion treatment. On Tuesday's Good Morning America, ABC News political director Rick Klein touted, "The Chris Christie brand is all about independence, a non-partisan person who leads the state of New Jersey in the best way he knows how."
An ABC graphic added an editorial, placing quote marks around the word therapy: "Chris Christie and Gay Conversion: Bans 'Therapy,' Angers Conservatives." Regarding Christie's 2013 reelection bid and his potential 2016 presidential campaign, Klein understandingly noted, "Chris Christie understands something very important in politics. 2013 comes before 2016."
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Sunday parroted Barack Obama's talking points, insisting that a shutdown of the government would wound a "weak" Republican Party for a "generation." On Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos touted the President for "cutting his vacation short" due to unrest in Egypt.
After allowing that Obama has "little leverage" over House Republicans, he narrated that the White House believes "the Republican Party is in an even weaker position, that if they shut down the government, say, over their calls to defund Obamacare, they will relegate themselves to minority status for a generation." Playing the role of administration cheerleader, the journalist pointed out that Obama has a big autumn coming up, "which is why he cut his vacation short. He only went eight days this year instead of the normal two weeks." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Network morning “news” shows are aimed directly at women aged 25 to 54. ABC’s “Good Morning America” is routinely winning the ratings race by skipping the boring “hard news” and focusing heavily on real-life soap operas like the Jodi Arias murder trial or the Ariel Castro kidnapping outrage. It isn’t news at all. It’s infotainment.
But what really caused jaws to drop recently was ABC promoting its latest sex-drenched Sunday night soap opera to those women. Viewers saw a naked man and woman in bed, with a side breast shot and the man's hand grasping the top of the woman's thigh -- on TV at breakfast time [screen capture shown below break]. As usual, this eye-grabbing sex scene wasn’t between spouses. That’s never scandalous enough.
NBC hasn't covered the ongoing Bob Filner sexual harassment scandal an almost a week, despite a fifteenth woman – a 67-year-old great grandmother – coming forward on Thursday, accusing the former congressman of making lurid comments to her. The last time that NBC's morning and evening newscasts covered the Filner story was on August 10, 2013.
On Friday, ABC and CBS's morning newscasts aired news briefs on the latest development in the Filner controversy, but both failed to identify him as a Democrat. Mere seconds before reporting on the San Diego mayor, CBS This Morning pointed out the Democratic party affiliation of Filner's former congressional colleague, Jackie Speier, who blasted the Defense Department on their handling of sexual assaults in the military. [audio available here; video below the jump]
Here's another name to add to the "name that party" file: Michael Thornsbury. The Mingo County, West Virginia circuit court judge was the subject of a federal indictment on Wednesday "after federal authorities allege he targeted his ex-lover's husband and used his position on the bench to manipulate criminal charges against the man," Kate White of the Charleston [W.V.] Gazette reported yesterday.
The Mountain State has partisan judicial elections and Thornsbury is a Democrat. Both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today covered the bizarre story on their August 16 programs, but both neglected to mention Thornsbury's party affiliation.
On Thursday morning, neither ABC nor CBS labeled former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. a Democrat as they reported on his 30 month jail sentence. NBC's Today did not report Jackson's sentence on Thursday, but on Wednesday they covered it without identifying him as a Democrat.
"Jesse Jackson, Jr. will spend two and a half years in prison. The former Illinois congressman was sentenced Wednesday," reported Charlie Rose, co-host of CBS This Morning. ABC's Josh Elliot said on Good Morning America that "former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for misusing campaign funds, spending $750,000 on things such as a gold Rolex and 500 dollar dinners."
On Tuesday morning, The New York Times reported the Obama administration had delayed a “significant consumer protection” in the Affordable Care Act, a provision that limits how much individuals and families can pay out-of-pocket for health care, until 2015. Under ObamaCare, the limit on out-of-pocket health care costs was set at $6,350 per year for individuals and $12,700 per year for families.
The Times suggested the delay “underscore[s] the difficulties the Obama administration is facing as it rolls out the health care law” – yet, the development was ignored by both ABC and NBC on their nightly and morning news programs. CBS This Morning also failed to report the delay, while CBS Evening News offered up a short segment on the story.
CBS This Morning and NBC's Today couldn't be bothered to give Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s political affiliation as they devoted just 35 seconds of air time on Wednesday to his upcoming sentencing. Both morning newscasts merely identified the onetime Democratic politician as a former congressman.
The same morning, ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story about Jackson, who pled guilty in February 2013 to misusing campaign funds to buy big ticket items, such as a $43,000 Rolex watch, and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
President Obama held a press conference Friday in which he called for stricter controls over the government’s domestic surveillance system and commented on his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But to ABC’s Good Morning America, those developments were not the primary news. Their main takeaway was that the president showed personality.
Seriously, that was the angle that Saturday's GMA took on this story. Anchor Dan Harris set ABC's premise right at the top: “Switching gears now to all the chatter this morning about President Obama showing a different and very interesting side of his personality in a high-profile moment in front of the assembled White House press corps on Friday afternoon.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC's Jonathan Karl admitted "it's hard to take Trump seriously," yet he spent almost a minute of his report on Monday's Good Morning America playing up Donald Trump's possible 2016 candidacy amidst Trump's birther questions. He also hyped Hillary Clinton's potential candiacy.
In contrast Karl gave just 7 seconds to 2012 GOP candidate Rick Santorum, who appeared at the Iowa State Fair over the weekend and roused speculation of a 2016 run. Almost a whole minute of Karl's report focused on Trump. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Liberal Jane Fonda plays Nancy Reagan in a very brief appearance in the film "The Butler," but ABC's Good Morning America hyped the cameo as "very impactful" and "remarkable" in a flatter-fest on Monday.
"It's remarkable. It's not a big role, but it's very impactful," co-host Lara Spencer said. "It's a 20-second appearance in the movie. But it was jam-packed with excitement," Fonda admitted. ABC's puffery for the liberal activist led to a vulgar chat about her Newsroom character's bedroom escapades. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Over 1000 Iraqis were killed in July, victims of bombings and shootings marking that country's deadliest month since April of 2008. According to the Washington Times, Iraq is sliding into "chaos" with al Qaeda militants stoking terror. Yet, the three networks provided only scant coverage of the escalating death toll. From July 1 to July 31, the ABC, NBC and CBS evening and morning shows allowed only four minutes and 49 seconds to highlighting the unraveling situation.
In contrast, the networks in 2005 aggressively reported bad news and a pessimistic outlook for the country when a Republican was in the White House. Obviously, there's a difference between the two situations, given the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops. However, it seems as though NBC, CBS and ABC have effectively decided that the stability of Iraq is no longer a concern for George W. Bush's Democratic replacement.
ABC and NBC on Wednesday continued to pretend that one of Barack Obama's gaffes on the Tonight Show wasn't a mistake. World News's Jon Karl and Nightly News's Chuck Todd uncritically repeated the President's claim that Vladimir Putin "headed up the KGB." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In fact, he did not. The highest rank the now-Russian President obtained was Lieutenant Colonel in 1991.
Karl introduced the clip of Obama talking to host Jay Leno, insisting, "The President vented about it all last night with Jay Leno." But he made no mention of the error. Todd used the snippet as a way of demonstrating the difference between "famously flamboyant" Putin and "buttoned down and measured Obama."
Barack Obama delivered one gaffe after another in his August 6 interview with Jay Leno, but the networks that usually mock every mistake or slip of the tongue made by Republicans ignored the President's verbal mishaps.
ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning and NBC's Today show, on Wednesday morning, all bypassed the chance to criticize Obama for: downplaying the threat of terrorism; falsely claiming Vladimir Putin once ran the KGB; placing the Atlantic coast cities of Savannah, Charleston and Jacksonville on the Gulf of Mexico; confusing the Winter Olympics with the Summer Olympics. (video after the jump)
ABC's Good Morning America, which first covered the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal by ignoring that the politician was a Democrat, did grow to embrace the tawdry aspects of the story. Yet, the morning show on Wednesday avoided he mayoral candidate's latest gaffe: Calling his Republican opponent "grandpa" at an AARP candidate forum. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both managed to highlight the story.
CBS guest anchor Anthony Mason recounted, "Weiner slammed his opponent over age and did so, of all places, at an event sponsored by the AARP." A graphic mocked it as a "senior moment." Mason dismissed Weiner's campaign as a "circus." In the video, Weiner can be seen heatedly talking to George McDonald. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Some comments are so unbelievable, one would think even liberal journalists would be forced to challenge them. However, even though all three morning shows on Wednesday covered Barack Obama's appearance on the August 6 Tonight Show, none of them noticed his claim to be a supporter of small government.
Talking to Jay Leno, Obama discussed the sequester and spending. He seriously insisted, "One of the things I've been trying to get across here is that we don't need a huge government. " He added, "But we need government doing some basic things and we should all agree on a sensible mechanism to go ahead and pay for it. Make sure we don't waste money." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Keep in mind, "in just one term President Obama will have increased the national debt as much as all prior Presidents, from George Washington to George Bush, combined," according to Forbes. He also pushed through Obamacare. Yet, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning all skipped this cynical assertion.