On Thursday evening and Friday morning, ABC, NBC, and CBS all touted a "surge" in sign-ups for ObamaCare ahead of Monday's March 31 deadline. What none of the networks mentioned was that the percentage of young, healthy enrollees was still short of the minimum necessary to sustain the health care law.
On ABC's World News on Thursday, anchor Diane Sawyer hailed the enrollment numbers as an "achievement" for President Obama as she proclaimed: "ObamaCare has hit a new milestone. More than 6 million people have now signed up. That's almost the original goal of 7 million. They have seen a surge in this final sprint before the deadline on March 31st..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Thursday's network morning shows tripped over themselves in their rush to fawn over President Obama meeting Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican. At the top of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts touted how the President "feels a special bond with the Pontiff." On NBC's Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd spoke of an "ideological comfort level" between the two leaders, while on CBS This Morning, White House correspondent Major Garrett described their "genuine connection." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While ABC, NBC, and CBS provided a combined 14 minutes 30 seconds of coverage to the papal meeting on Thursday, only 2 minutes 21 seconds of that air time referred to the fundamental disagreements between Obama and the Pope on a host of issues. Instead, the morning broadcasts chose to play up the "common ground" between the two men on issues of "income inequality" and "social justice."
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows repeated the White House line that the reason for delaying the March 31 ObamaCare enrollment deadline was due to a last-minute "surge" of people signing up. In a 20-second news brief on NBC's Today, fill-in news reader Tamron Hall announced "a reprieve this morning for people who've been trying to sign up for ObamaCare," before noting that "the Health and Human Services Department says there has been a last-minute surge in demand." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a 17-second news brief on ABC's Good Morning America, fill-in news reader Amy Robach gently described the law's new setback as a sign-up "grace period" and declared: "...the White House predicts a crush of applicants in the final hours could cause a computer traffic jam."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King adopted liberal spin on the ObamaCare contraception mandate being challenged in the Supreme Court: "It pits the rights of a woman's access to contraception against a company's religious freedom." That description of the case was nearly identical to the false framing of the issue in Monday's New York Times. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed on This Morning, correspondent Jan Crawford teed up the faulty argument: "Women's rights groups and doctors say the cases are about women's health." A clip ran of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists president Jeanne Conry ranting: "As a physician, I need a number of ways to treat women, and treat them appropriately. And I don't need an employer coming into my exam room and telling me how to treat a patient."
When lives are lost due to a faulty product the media point fingers all the way up to the top of the company. Just not when the government owns the company.
The broadcast networks have aired 42 reports on the GM safety recall of faulty ignitions; malfunctions that resulted in more than 300 deaths. But in the course of their reporting, ABC, CBS and NBC only once said something that could remind viewers that GM was, for a time, Government Motors. More than half of fatalities occurred during the period of federal ownership of GM.
In a full report for Friday's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "This trip is really focused on building good will. White House aides are confident that the First Lady's personal story will also resonate with the Chinese people....It's a highly anticipated visit to a country whose relationship with the U.S. is complicated at best." All the more reason to allow American journalists to go along. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bill Plante acted as a stenographer for the Obama administration on Thursday's CBS This Morning, as he spotlighted the "multi-tiered state and national effort to get young people enrolled" in ObamaCare before the end of March. Plante touted the "supportive celebrity Tweets and videos....and a tongue-in-cheek tool kit that teaches parents how to get on social media and 'nag' their children 'mercilessly.'"
The correspondent again noted Zach Galifianikis' mock interview of President Obama, which the Big Three networks spent 100 times more coverage on than the low enrollment the previous week. However, CBS This Morning at least mentioned how the administration fell millions short of its original seven million goal. ABC nor NBC have yet to mention the new enrollment figures on their morning and evening newscasts. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Network journalists on Wednesday fawned over the fact that Barack Obama is again making NCAA basketball picks. On ABC, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott touted, "And finally, the bracketologist-in-chief is at it again. President Obama, as he does every March, making his predictions..."
Elliott played a clip of the President insisting he would use big bracket winnings to "pay down the debt" and buy his wife shoes. The news reader then enthused, "Smart man. Constituents and wife. Keep them all happy." [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
This winter the networks have seized on all sorts of extreme weather, making it appear new, exciting or unusual. In the case of the California drought the broadcast networks have been hot and bothered claiming it is “historic.”
ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows hyped the California drought, describing it as unprecedented and the “worst drought on record.” But Dr. Martin Hoerling, a federal climate researcher, disagrees with that assessment. He said that the drought was consistent with previous California droughts.
ABC News completely ignored the Monday death of heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, who used her wealth to help conceal the mistress of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. CBS and NBC both noted the passing of the 103-year-old and her connection to Edwards, but failed identify Edwards as a Democrat. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell touted how Mellon "was a horticulturist who redesigned the White House Rose Garden at Jackie Kennedy's invitation." However, when it came to her involvement with Edwards, O'Donnell only vaguely mentioned: "In later years, she gave money to help presidential candidate John Edwards."
As of Monday evening, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover North Korea's firing of 25 short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Sunday. NBCNews.com did post an unsigned article from Reuters on Sunday about how the "missiles flew for 45 miles before splashing into the sea," and ABC News' website went with AP's write-up on the development, but neither outlet devoted any air time to the story.
By contrast, CNN's New Day on Monday devoted a 20-second news brief to the Obama administration's reaction to this latest instance of North Korean sabre-rattling: [video below the jump]
St. Patrick’s Day may be a time of revelry and fun, but that didn’t stop ABC and NBC from hitting New York’s parade as anti-gay. Today co-host Natalie Morales on Monday lectured, “And today is St. Patrick's Day, of course, but some controversy hanging over some of the country's biggest celebrations.” [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
Morales added, “New York's mayor Bill de Blasio isn't marching in today's parade because it does not allow gays and lesbians to openly take part.” Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, news reader Josh Elliott remarked, “And New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, the largest in the world, lost a major sponsor overnight.”
This week, anchors and reporters practically fell over themselves laughing at Barack Obama’s Funny or Die collaboration with comedian Zach Galifianikis as they hailed the ObamaCare promotional video was “great” and urged viewers “you gotta check it out!”
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks devoted a total of 16 and a half minutes to the fake interview, but the reason Obama had to do the video? The horrible ObamaCare enrollment numbers, particularly among millenials? How much time did that get? [Video after the jump]
On Wednesday, the network morning shows gave a combined 53 seconds of air time to Democrats losing a bellwether congressional election in Florida and just 37 seconds to bad poll numbers for President Obama. Meanwhile, Obama shopping at the Gap and pushing regulations to force businesses to pay employees overtime wages got 3 minutes and 36 seconds of coverage. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie gushed: "You're at the Gap, you're trying to decide between the cranberry or maybe the indigo t-shirt, you look over and who is sizing up the same items but the leader of the free world....It happened to a store full of shoppers here in New York on Tuesday, President Obama popped in."
ABC, CBS and NBC on Tuesday morning uncritically hyped an extended effort by Senate Democrats as an "all-night marathon" to raise awareness on climate change. Yet, these same networks mocked a similar effort by Ted Cruz in fall of 2013 as a "bizarre," "long-winded protest."
Today's Natalie Morales explained, "The dusk to dawn talk-a-thon was expected to go about 15 hours." She noted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called global warming action a "question of our own survival."It was only CBS This Morning co-anchor Norah O'Donnell who pointed out that there "are no plans to bring a climate bill to the Senate floor this year." If no legislation is planned, how does this warrant network coverage? [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday, all three network morning shows dutifully touted a fake interview President Obama conducted with comedian Zach Galifianakis designed to help the commander-in-chief hock ObamaCare to young people. On NBC's Today, social media co-host Carson Daly gushed: "It's over six minutes long...all of it is really, really funny....You know, the First Lady's been everywhere showing her comedy chops and it's been great. But boy, the President, he is amazing in this. So check that out this morning if you have time." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later in the show's 9 a.m. ET hour, weatherman Al Roker praised Obama's comedic genius: "It's about the delivery and the President shows he's got the comedy chops." Co-host Tamron Hall declared: "Yes, yes. Which he shows at the White House Correspondents' Dinner every year." Co-host Willie Geist explained: "It was part of a – this concerted effort to promote the Affordable Care Act. Because they get into that and the President's allowed to explain it."
In a nakedly political move designed to ease election year pressure on Democrats the Obama administration has delayed, yet again, another aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and again the Big Three networks have barely covered it.
The White House’s March 5 announcement that they would allow insurers to keep offering health plans that don’t meet ObamaCare standards was granted a total of just four minutes and 33 seconds on the ABC, CBS, NBC evening and morning shows. And while all three networks commented on the election-year timing of the announcement, not a single anchor or reporter depicted the move as the unconstitutional end-around Congress that it is. [video after the jump]
Once again, ABC's Good Morning America avoided an issue that makes liberal New York Mayor Billl de Blasio look bad. CBS This Morning and NBC's Today on Monday both highlighted how popular actor Liam Neeson slammed the Democrat, telling him to "man up." Neeson and others are furious that de Blasio wants to ban horse-drawn carriage rides within the city.
This Morning guest co-host Anthony Mason informed, "On Sunday, Neeson showed lawmakers the stables that show carriage horses that travel through Central Park. Neeson says the horses are well cared for." He added, "Neeson says, quote, '[de Blasio] should have manned up and come.'" On Today, Carson Daly noted, "Bill de Blasio wants to shut down the service, saying that the horses aren't treated humanely." Daly described the Taken movie star as "lashing out" over this. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
If you like your jail cell plan, you can keep it? In a front page story for Monday's New York Times, writer Erica Goode revealed that prisons all across the country are enrolling inmates to ObamaCare. Despite the fact that many media outlets consider the Times to be the "paper of record," NBC and ABC ignored the news that taxpayer-funded money would be going to the health care of convicted criminals.
Only CBS This Morning covered it, allowing 20 seconds. Guest co-host Anthony Mason summarized the details and insisted, "States can save millions by letting Medicaid pay for prisoners' hospital stays lasting more than 24 hours. Up to 35 percent of those now eligible for Medicaid under ObamaCare have had run-ins with the law." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Although CBS covered the latest revelation, Mason failed to mention conservative criticism.
Viewers of ABC's morning and evening newscasts on Friday would have been left unaware of President Obama's gaffe of elementary proportions during a White House concert on Thursday evening. Both Good Morning America and World News omitted how the Democrat left out the first "E" in the title of Aretha Franklin's most famous song: "When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her."
By contrast, the network's competitors at CBS and NBC covered the President's trip-up on their morning shows and evening news broadcasts. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams even mentioned a infamous spelling flub by a former Republican vice president: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The journalists at Good Morning America on Thursday were sufficiently provoked by a pro-American Cadillac commercial that they devoted a whole segment to wondering if the spot was "arrogant" and "xenophobic." GMA's reporters, who couldn't find any time to cover former IRS head Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth on Capitol Hill, devoted almost three minutes to the "backlash" against the car commercial.
The ad features a man strolling around his large house, praising the free enterprise system and the work ethic of Americans: "Other countries, they work. They stroll home. They stop by the café. They take August off. Off!" Co-host George Stephanopoulos worried, "Is it selling a confident take on America with a sense of humor or showing off an arrogant caricature that is just plain obnoxious?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Like a simple parlor trick, the networks are able to make skeptical scientists vanish, at least from the eyes of their viewers.
In some cases, the broadcast networks have failed to include such scientists for years, while including alarmist scientists within the past six months. ABC, CBS and NBC’s lengthy omission of scientists critical of global warming alarmism propped up the myth of a scientific consensus, despite the fact that many scientists and thousands of peer-reviewed studies disagree.
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts has repeatedly been awarded interviews with Michelle and Barack Obama. There's a good reason for this: She doesn't ask tough questions. On Thursday, the co-host promised a "revealing, one-on-one conversation" with Mrs. Obama. Roberts did bring up ObamaCare, but offered no tough questions about the repeated delays.
Talking to the First Lady at a Black Entertainment Television conference, Roberts vaguely began: "[The health care law] has not been without its critics who question whether or not this will work." The journalist continued, "How do you see that and being able to close the gap for those people who have not been given that opportunity to have quality health care?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Only CBS This Morning on Wednesday bothered to cover yet another delay of ObamaCare. NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America both skipped the news. On Tuesday night, all three networks ignored the topic.
CBS co-anchor Charlie Rose explained, "This morning, critics of the President's health care law have a new target for anger, another major delay." He added, "The Obama administration will allow insurers to continue offering bare-bones plans, even if they don't comply with the minimum standards." Journalist Jan Crawford described the move as one that would avoid more cancellations near the 2014 midterm elections. She opined, "...The administration will allow insurers to offer the substandard plans." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NBC has been the only Big Three broadcast network to look back to President Obama ridiculing Mitt Romney for calling Russia a U.S. "geopolitical foe" in 2012. On Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander reminded viewers: "Republicans have repeatedly attacked President Obama's Russia policy as weak and naive....Helping fuel that criticism, this moment from the 2012 campaign, where President Obama mocked Governor Mitt Romney for calling Russia America's number one geopolitical foe." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning managed to work that into their coverage of the unfolding international crisis on Wednesday.
The three network morning shows combined gave less than two minutes of air time to President Obama's proposed 2015 budget on Tuesday, though they all managed to highlight how the plan "will cut taxes for thirteen and a half million working Americans" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]. What the NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts all ignored was that the debt projections under the President's budget were off by $2.7 trillion compared to recent numbers released by the Congressional Budget Office.
As the Washington Post pointed out on Tuesday, "[Obama's budget] forecasts a dramatic reduction in deficits over the coming decade. The request paints a much rosier debt scenario than a report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office a month ago."
The journalists at World News on Monday and Good Morning America on Tuesday ignored the results of their own poll, a survey finding Democrats in deep trouble for the 2014 midterms. It's not as though GMA was packed with hard news and there was no available time. The morning show devoted an astonishing 18 minutes to promoting the new season of Dancing With the Stars. ABC News labeled this a "GMA dance party."
According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, "...Republicans [are] in a stronger position than Democrats in the states with Senate races this fall and more than holding their own in the battle for control of the House." Writers Dan Balz and Scott Clement explained, "In the 34 states with Senate races, 50 percent of voters say they favor Republicans and 42 percent favor Democrats."
No one should ever argue that when a morning show like ABC's "Good Morning America" doesn't cover serious news events -- from Obama scandals to boring debates about the farm bill -- it's because it has too many important stories to cover.
In the second hour of Thursday's show, ABC wasted three minutes promoting its own Oscar show for Sunday night with parody trailers of the Best Picture nominees. They plopped George Stephanopoulos into "The Wolf of Wall Street," but most of the time was devoted to the film "American Hustle," with anchor Josh Elliott in the Bradley Cooper role and badly man-dressed Lara Spencer in the Christian Bale role:
Perhaps because President Obama is looking pitiably weak in his mano a mano with Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine, ABC News chose to bury the story during today's Good Morning America. Incredibly, the show-opening teaser didn't mention the Ukraine--but did highlight the latest on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. As the program unfolded, and before saying a word about the Ukraine, GMA inexcusably chose to air segments on rain in California, snow in the North, a laser being shined into a plane's cockpit, an airplane bird strike, the arrest of a Mexican drug lord, the cause of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, and Mardi Gras in Brazil.
When GMA finally got around to the most serious story in the world right now, it did its best to protect President Obama. Two nights ago on FNC, Charles Krauthammer did a devastating take-down on President Obama's feeble statement, saying “the Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement. I find it rather staggering.” So how did GMA's reporter Alex Marquardt describe the Obama statement? As a "harsh warning." Gag me with a kalashnikov, and view the video after the jump.