On Tuesday, only NBC's Today reported on the White House accidentally leaking the name of the CIA station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan, which correspondent Peter Alexander described as "an incredibly embarrassing and actually potentially dangerous mistake." Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning mentioned the administration screw-up that occurred during President Obama's trip to Afghanistan over the weekend to visit the troops. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
ABC and CBS did find time to promote other favorable White House stories. GMA did a full segment on First Lady Michelle Obama defending school lunch standards against criticism and This Morning devoted a full report to the White House holding a science fair for girls.
In early May, CBS's morning and evening newscasts spotlighted congressional Democrats' vehement opposition to the formation of a select committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 Islamist attacks on the U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya during 10 minutes and 14 seconds of reporting.
However, when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named five Democrats to the committee on Wednesday, the CBS news programs minimized their coverage of the development. Wednesday's CBS Evening Newsset aside 23 seconds to the story, while Norah O'Donnell gave a 14-second news brief on Thursday's CBS This Morning about the story: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
A day after President Obama finally reacted to the Veteran's Affair scandal after weeks of silence, NBC's Today could only manage a couple news briefs on the development, totaling forty-seven seconds. Meanwhile, the morning show devoted one minute and nineteen seconds to First Daughter Malia Obama learning to drive this summer.
ABC's Good Morning America at least provided a full report on the VA scandal, but edited out any criticism of Obama. On Wednesday's World News, correspondent Jim Avila included a soundbite from a family member of a veteran who died waiting for care who accused the President of "lying" about the scandal. However, that clip vanished from Avila's GMA report Thursday morning.
NBC and CBS on Wednesday hyped a win by Senator Mitch McConnell as an example of a major setback to the Tea Party movement. But it was only ABC's Good Morning America that highlighted the "big loss" suffered by Bill and Hillary Clinton as their candidate went down to defeat. CBS This Morning co-anchor Charlie Rose lectured, "Tea Party backers are reeling this morning from primary election results in six states." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He added, "Tea Party favorites lost in all of the most important Republican races heading into the November midterms." The journalist trumpeted, "...A CBS News poll out this morning show that Tea Party support fell over nine point this past year." Surprisingly, it was former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos on GMA who exposed a "House race in Pennsylvania that was a big loss for both Clintons."
The idea that Good Morning America is a superficial show is not in doubt. On Tuesday, the show's hosts devoted 12 minutes and 22 seconds to full reports on a college student stripper, a super model trying to lose weight and Dancing With the Stars. But the frivolous nature of the program often masks its liberal bias. GMA on May 20 completely ignored the revelation that Barack Obama was warned five years ago of the substandard conditions at Veterans Affairs medical facilities and that soldiers were struggling to obtain decent treatment.
That development was also avoided on ABC's World News, Monday night. What did the hosts of GMA cover instead? Juju Chang played footage of an exotic dancer and breathlessly informed: "This is how she pays her tuition. Essentially, you're a student by day and stripper by night?" Robin Roberts highlighted the efforts by super model Molly Sims to lose weight. [See below for a video montage of the morning show's most insipid news stories. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd proclaimed that a series of congressional primary races were evidence "the ongoing family feud between the Tea Party and the establishment wings of the GOP festers." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd detailed how Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell "waged a ruthless campaign" against his Tea Party challenger, then announced: "As tough as Kentucky's been, it's even nastier and more personal in other GOP primaries."
Good Morning America is a profoundly superficial show. The ABC program on Monday devoted air time to Full House star Jonathan Stamos responding a blogger's criticism of the '90s show. So, what does it take for the program to cover the 2014 midterm elections? A Republican scandal helps. GMA reporter Mara Schiavocampo highlighted the revelation that Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby's ex-boyfriend in 2013 called police, accusing her of stalking.
Referring to her former boyfriend, Andrew Miller, Schiavocampo made sure to note: "The millionaire timber executive claiming the rising Republican star is a stalker..." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] To underline the point, the journalist reiterated, "So far, Wehby has been leading her Republican opponent in the polls."
On Sunday, May 18, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today hyped President Obama’s selection of Julian Castro, Democratic Mayor of San Antonio, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Both NBC’s Jenna Wolfe and ABC’s Ron Claiborne beamed at how Castro is a “rising star in the Democratic Party” with Wolfe praising how “there’s been speculation that he could be vice presidential pick in 2016.” [See video below.]
Despite the rise in deaths from preventable childhood diseases, the networks spent the last 15 years fueling speculation that vaccines cause autism. Just in the past seven years more than 1,300 died from such diseases, according to CDC data.
The medical community widely refuted such claims and the medical journal that once published the study later retracted it. But for years the broadcast networks continued to report on the alleged connection between vaccines and autism.
Earlier this week,, The New York Post reported that Karl Rove recently made comments questioning Hillary Clinton’s health in the event she runs for president in 2016, and the Wednesday, May 14 ABC and CBS morning shows predictably rushed to defend Secretary Clinton from Rove’s criticism.
CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose promoted the “backlash following Karl Rove’s comments about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton” while ABC’s George Stephanopoulos played up the “hard-edged dustup over Hillary Clinton's health.” [See video below.]
Tim Geithner appeared on Good Morning America, Monday, to promote his new book. While co-host George Stephanopoulos avoided negative comments about the Obama administration, he made sure to tout praise of Hillary Clinton and to lobby for an endorsement. After the former Treasury Secretary explained how he recommended Clinton as a possible replacement, the GMA anchor enthused, "Is she your candidate for president next time around?"
Geithner dodged and the host repeated, "Is she your candidate for president next time around?" Stephanopoulos also pressed the ex-cabinet official from the left, wondering, "So, what's the simple answer, then, to critics like Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, who say you focused too much on big financial institution, not enough on family?"
Despite the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Michael Sam being drafted by the St. Louis Rams as the first openly gay player in the NFL, the Big Three network morning shows on Monday all hyped a negative one-word tweet from another NFL player as evidence of a social media "backlash" against Sam, where "every creep and cretin" could attack him. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos touted Sam "making history," but fretted over "the backlash that blew up over his celebration sealed with a kiss," referring to Sam embracing his boyfriend as he got the news. In a later report, correspondent Mara Schiavocampo warned that "not everyone is celebrating the news," proclaiming: "It's sports history sealed with a kiss, and this morning, a little controversy."
The House on Thursday voted to create a select committee to investigate Benghazi, but NBC's Today, a four hour program, on Friday totally ignored the story. In contrast, the show spent two minutes on the topic of how many times a week should people shower. ABC's Good Morning America allowed a mere 12 seconds for the latest details. News reader Amy Robach emphasized, "Republicans on Capitol Hill are opening an eighth investigation into the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi." She added, "Today, Democrats are meeting to decide whether to boycott the new investigation, calling it election year politics."
CBS This Morning offered a scant 15 seconds. Co-host Charlie Rose quickly derided, "Thursday's vote to create the committee stayed mostly along party lines with 225 Republicans voting in favor. Only seven Democrats backed the probe." On Thursday, CBS's Nancy Cordes featured Democrats such as Congressman Gerry Connolly complaining, "For political reasons, to keep the base fired up between now and the midterm elections." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Not even a full vote by the House of Representatives to hold Lois Lerner in contempt can shake the networks out of their slumber in covering the IRS scandal. On Wednesday the House voted 231-178 (all Republicans voted yes with six Democrats) to hold Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. Total coverage by ABC, CBS and NBC? Just a 15-second brief on Thursday’s edition of ABC’s Good Morning America.
However the Big Three networks did find the 110x more time this week to tout the “dire” and “alarming” findings from the White House climate change report.
ABC on Thursday morning highlighted more of Robin Roberts’ fawning interview with Hillary Clinton. On the issue of Benghazi and the revelation that the White House had a direct hand in creating false talking points about the 2012 terrorist attack, Roberts could only manage this lame effort: “Benghazi. The new investigation. Are you satisfied with the answers and are you content with what you know what [sic] happened?” [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
That was it. No follow-up. No interrogation about Clinton’s handling of the incident that left four Americans dead, including a U.S. ambassador. Instead, Roberts moved right on to this 2016 gossip: “And the question I took straight from the audience, were you to run for president in 2016, would you consider Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren or San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as a running mate?” Continuing the softball questions, the Good Morning America host wondered, “You're going to be a grandma?”
If an NFL team ends up taking Michael Sam in a late draft round – or not at all – don’t blame the media. The Missouri defensive end came out of the closet to near universal media adulation (coincidentally timed with the NFL Combine in February). Now, with the draft looming on May 8, ESPN and ABC are doing their parts to make sure Sam is picked.
ESPN announced May 7 that it’s bestowing Sam with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The ceremony doesn’t take place until July, but it’s never too early to remind NFL coaching staffs that Sam had the courage to join society’s most trendy and celebrated grievance group.
After enthusiastically promoting an upcoming White House climate change report on Tuesday, all three network morning shows on Wednesday happily touted interviews with President Obama on the subject and continued to hype the "dire" and "alarming" findings. Meanwhile, critics were dismissed as an anti-science minority. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "Millions coping with the first record-breaking heat wave of the season, while the White House issues a dire warning about the nation's climate change." In the report that followed, weatherman Al Roker dutifully parroted White House talking points: "This report has taken years to complete with input from hundreds of scientists and technical experts. The President saying the report's conclusion is clear: If we want to stop climate change, the time to act is now."
After a big promotional push by ABC and NBC, Democratic House candidate Clay Aiken leads his primary opponent by 372 votes out of 28,000 cast on Tuesday. According to Good Morning America on Wednesday, the "American Idol congressional candidate" may pull out a razor thin victory. Co-host Lara Spencer enthused, "Clay Aiken in the public eye for almost a decade, making headlines for his songs, his personal life and now a run at the United States Congress." [MP3 audio here.]
Spencer stated the obvious, noting, "He was considered by many the underdog. [Primary opponent Keith] Crisco outspent him by nearly a half million dollars." However, the liberal candidate has had a lot of help from journalists. On February 6, Mara Schiavocampo enthused, "Well, simply put, he is a long shot but that hasn't stopped Aiken from throwing his hat in the ring."
Summary: After a partisan report last June absurdly suggested that progressive groups were just as likely to be scrutinized as conservative ones, ABC, CBS and NBC essentially abandoned their coverage of the IRS targeting scandal which broke one year ago this week. After producing 136 stories on their morning and evening news show during the first seven weeks of the scandal, broadcast news coverage dried up, with just 14 more reports over the next 10 months, as the Big Three ignored numerous damning developments in the case.
In another example of censoring a Barack Obama scandal, NBC has ignored the brewing controversy impacting American veterans and a shocking lack of access to hospital care. Though the news of up to 40 patients dying in Arizona has been going on for months, ABC finally covered the story on Tuesday's Good Morning America, offering a scant 29 seconds. Reporter Amy Robach informed that the President is "standing by his Secretary of Veterans Affairs," despite a call by the American Legion on Monday for his ouster. CBS This Morning gave it 18 seconds.
Robach explained that the nation's largest veterans group has accused "Secretary Eric Shinseki and his top aides of, quote, 'poor oversight and failed leadership,' after reports that as many as 40 patients in Phoenix may have died because of delays in care and allegations that hospitals have tried to cover up other delays." Despite the controversy, this was the first time Shinseki's name has been uttered on ABC since his nomination on December 6, 2008. Fox News and CNN have both covered the scandal, but NBC has avoided it. [See video of CNN's coverage below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday, the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows all seized on a new climate change report being released by the White House ahead of a slate of interviews with President Obama conducted by network meteorologists. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, weatherman Al Roker stood in front of the White House holding up a draft copy of the report and proclaimed: "This is why we're here. This document, the National Climate Assessment Report, it comes out later this morning, and once it does, there are going to be administration officials, scientists around, we'll be talking with them. And then this afternoon we interview the President of the United States about this report."
On Monday, the three network morning shows provided 12 minutes 24 seconds to Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner but only CBS This Morning reported House Speaker John Boehner on Friday announcing a new investigation into Benghazi – a news brief that totaled a mere 47 seconds. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose noted: "Both parties on Capitol Hill are sniping over new a investigation of the deadly Benghazi attack." After a soundbite of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham discussing the scandal on Sunday's Face the Nation, Rose added: "House Speaker John Boehner is calling for a new investigation based on a White House memo released last week. Republicans say the document proves the Obama administration tried to spin the attacks for political gain." NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story on Monday.
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to set aside any air time to a mass abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from a school in northern Nigeria on April 16, 2014. Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram raided the government-run institution and forced the students into vehicles. On Thursday, the girls' parents and their supporters led a demonstration to pressure the government into action.
The last time the Big Three networks covered the ongoing insurgency in Nigeria was on the April 14, 2014 edition of NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams gave a 26-second news brief about Boko Haram's bombing in the capital of Abuja, which took place mere hours before the jihadist group kidnapped the students. Nine days later, CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted a full segment on his Wolf program to the school incident with correspondent Vladimir Duthiers: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Tuesday April 29, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate air pollution from power plants that cross state lines yet NBC and ABC failed to cover the story.
Despite the unprecedented ruling by the court, only CBS bothered to cover it, with Scott Pelley giving it a mere 22 seconds on the CBS Evening News on Tuesday night. Unlike the EPA ruling, all three networks provided extensive coverage of last week’s Supreme Court ruling that voters could decide whether or not they want to limit the use affirmative action in their respective state. [See video of Fox News’ coverage of the ruling below.]
[UPDATE: As of Thursday the total was 165 minutes.] When network journalists decide a story is important, they make sure it dominates the airwaves. Over the course of three and a half days, ABC, CBS and NBC vigorously investigated a racist rant by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, offering 146 minutes and 39 seconds of coverage since Saturday night. CBS devoted the most, a whopping 52 minutes and 13 seconds.
NBC came in second with 48 minutes and 36 seconds. ABC was a close third with 45 minutes and 40 seconds. In contrast, important stories over the same time period that cast Barack Obama (or Democrats in general) in a bad light were buried by the network evening and morning shows. For instance, new White House e-mails released on Tuesday show that the administration played a direct role in creating misleading talking points on the Benghazi scandal. Only CBS This Morning covered the story -- and for a mere two minutes and 50 seconds. NBC and ABC skipped it.
Tuesday's World News ignored ABC's own poll showing President Obama's lowest approval rating of his presidency. ABC gave a scant 18 seconds to the numbers on Good Morning America earlier that day.
Voters also preferred a Republican Congress in this year's election. As ABCNews.com reported, "Registered voters by 53-39 percent in the national survey say they'd rather see the Republicans in control of Congress as a counterbalance to Obama’s policies than a Democratic-led Congress to help support him."
The news that Barack Obama is "facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency" warranted a mere 18 seconds of attention from Good Morning America on Tuesday. This scant coverage is despite the fact that ABC conducted the poll in question (along with the Washington Post).
Reporter Amy Robach briefly explained, "And President Obama is returning to Washington today, facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency. His approval rating has dropped to 41 percent, mostly because of the economy." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In contrast, when George W. Bush's approval rating dropped to 42 percent on March 7, 2006, GMA offered two segments. Co-host Robin Roberts trumpeted, "President Bush's job approval rating has sunk to a new career low." In another story, Roberts hyped, "We begin with the President's slumping poll numbers."
ABC, CBS, and NBC spotlighted the issue of child sex abuse by priests on their Saturday morning and evening newscasts – twenty-four hours or less before the Catholic Church canonized Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. CBS and NBC both uncritically turned to the president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), but didn't mention her controversial affiliations with prominent anti-Catholics.
CBS and ABC also hyped how "some of the faithful have complained the canonization process was fast-tracked." ABC's Terry Moran even inserted some slanted labeling of the Catholic practice of venerating the relics of saints on Saturday's World News, and wondered if modern people could relate to the Church's examples of holiness: [MP3 audio from the networks' reporting available here; video below the jump]
The Friday before the Catholic church would celebrate the canonization of two popes, NBC's Today hyped the "controversy" of the jubilant fans of Blessed John Paul II "drowning out dissent" from those who felt "stomped on" during his papacy.
Raining on the canonization parade, NBC's Anne Thompson said the crowds who chanted "sainthood now" at John Paul II's funeral were "drowning out dissent" from folks like, as leftist religion reporter David Gibson told NBC, "Voices of women, voices of sex abuse victims, voices of the more progressive folks in the church who felt they had gotten stomped on during the 26, almost 27 years of John Paul II's papacy." [Audio here; video below the jump]