In September, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos hyped Mitt Romney's "47 percent" tape as sending "shock waves" through the presidential race. ABC analyst Matt Dowd called it a "six or seven" on the Richter scale of political controversies. Yet, when damaging video surfaced of Barack Obama discussing race, Stephanopoulos offered no hyperbolic language and Dowd insisted that Romney would make a "mistake" if he brought it up at the debate.
On Wednesday, Stephanopoulos calmly opened the show my noting, "And just hours before the first debate, the new release of a five-year-old Obama speech." He wondered, "What's behind it and will the speech make any difference tonight?" In contrast, on September 18, the host excitedly touted, "Breaking now, Mitt Romney caught on tape at a private fund-raiser. His candid comments causing shock waves." Stephanopoulos hyped, "The campaign rushing to contain the damage. Romney responds in a late night press conference." [See video contrast below. MP3 audio here.]
Leading into tomorrow’s presidential debate, journalists are busy setting expectations for the candidates. On Sunday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos argued that Mitt Romney is under “huge, huge” pressure: “He is behind right now. He is behind nationally, he’s behind in all of the battleground states. This is the last big audience that Mitt Romney is going to have with about four and a half weeks left to go.”
But more undecided voters will be swayed by the media’s post-debate spin about who won and who lost than by any pre-debate expectations. Reviewing the last several campaigns, MRC analysts have found a clear trend of network reporters fawning over the performance of liberal candidates, while harping on any perceived weaknesses or gaffes from conservatives.
One of the most reliable pro-Democratic pundits is none other than George Stephanpoulos — not especially surprising, given his track record as a loyal operative for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, but hardly the objective, unbiased voice touted by ABC News. MRC has documented how, in eight out of the last nine general election presidential debates (every one since he joined ABC News in 1997), Stephanopoulos has gone on his network’s airwaves to claim victory for the Democratic candidate, all in the guise of offering impartial analysis. [Video review below the jump.]
UPDATE: Still no ABC, CBS, NBC coverage of Univision's Fast and Furious report on Monday's evening newscasts or Tuesday's morning shows.
Over the weekend the Univision network broke major news in the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal. They found 57 previously unreported guns used in crimes by Mexican cartels, but ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report the Spanish-language network’s findings.
There were zero mentions on Sunday night’s ABC's World News and CBS's Evening News (NBC's Nightly News was pre-empted by Ryder Cup coverage) or on any of Monday’s morning shows. The blackout on ABC’s broadcasts is particularly confounding since they have an excerpt from Univision's September 30 report on ABC's official Web site. (video after the jump)
ABC's Jake Tapper's Thursday report on World News stands alone as the only Big Three coverage so far of what The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reported on Wednesday - that U.S. intelligence officials had "strong indications" within a day that Islamist terrorists were behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi - not a mob enraged at a controversial Internet video.
By contrast, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw tried to point the finger at Mitt Romney on Friday's Today show for the media's apparent lack of curiosity at the inconsistencies in the Obama administration's narrative about the terrorist attack. Otherwise, NBC only aired two reports on the story since Wednesday - twice running the same Ann Curry interview of Libyan President Mohammed Magarief.
It’s been four years since Barack Obama beat John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States, but that hasn’t stopped some in the media from putting McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, in the crosshairs. In this morning’s broadcast of Good Morning America, ABC News’ David Muir detailed the dynamics related to the home stretch of the presidential campaign. It was here that he snuck in a gratuitous swipe at Gov. Palin:
Economic growth grew at an incredibly sluggish 1.3 percent in the second quarter, revised down from 1.7 percent. According to business writer Jim Pethokoukis, this is "dangerously slow." However, NBC skipped the bad news for Barack Obama entirely. ABC allowed it a mere 21 seconds. CBS was the only network to allow the story a full report.
Although Nightly News correspondent Chuck Todd couldn't find time to mention the scant amount of growth, he did hype the fact that the President is trying "a new line." Todd then played a clip of the President calling "for a new economic patriotism." The journalist helpfully parroted that the President's "idea of economic patriotism includes tax hikes on the wealthy and more government spending on infrastructure."
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
ABC's David Muir on Thursday hyped the presidential election as "slipping away" from Mitt Romney and pushed the idea that next week's presidential debate is "do-or-die" for the Republican.
Talking to the candidate, Muir pressed, "I'm curious what you would say to some of your supporters tonight, your donors who might be concerned this could be slipping away?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Trying ro raise expectations for the former governor, Muir insisted, "In fact, some are already calling [the October 3 presidential] debate a do-or-die moment."
ABC News found scant time for the just-passed political conventions, coming in dead last according to a Media Research Center study. But the network on Tuesday did manage to, yet again, obsessively focus on John F. Kennedy, a man whose presidency ended 49 years ago.
Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos interviewed Caroline Kennedy about newly released tapes of her father. He played clips of JFK discussing serious issues and also playing with his daughter. Stephanopoulos marveled, "But here's the president on the one moment talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, – boom – complete switching of gears." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America on Wednesday touted "stunning" new polls out of Ohio that show Mitt Romney trailing. ABC reporter David Muir pushed a minor comment by the Republican as a "sudden shift." Muir hyped, "After repeatedly saying President Obama raised taxes during his first term...suddenly Romney appeared to be saying the President hasn't raised taxes." [See MP3 audio here. Video below.]
Romney's remark that Obama "did not" raise taxes was in reference to income taxes. Yet, this slight change in phraseology led Muir to position himself as a surrogate for the President, defending, "Romney's comments made immediate headlines. In fact, the President has not raised income tax rates in his first term." But, of course, Obama has increased taxes. As Forbes.com pointed out, Obamacare is now a tax that applies to the middle class. Additionally, the President has promised more taxes in his second term.
George Stephanopoulos and Barbara Walters on Tuesday fawned over the "fun," loving marriage of Barack and Michelle Obama. Walters appeared on Good Morning America to promote the President's appearance on The View.
Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, hyped Walters' "lighter stuff." He gushed, "The President seemed to mix politics and fun, when he talked about coaching his daughter's basketball team." Walters was positively impressed with the couple: "He's funny. She says she's funnier. But he's very relaxed with her."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today failed to air any full reports on the continuing inquiry into the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and mentioned the issue only in passing. CBS This Morning did devote a full segment to the dispute between the State Department and CNN over their use of a Ambassador Chris Stevens' personal journal, but didn't mention President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name.
Matt Lauer vaguely referenced the "new wave of anti-Americanism" in the Islamic world during an interview of Tony Blair, but it took the former British prime minister to specifically point out the "tragic death of your ambassador" in Libya. During a report on the presidential race, ABC's Jake Tapper did briefly note how the President "described some of the events as bumps in the road. The Romney campaign saying that the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador in Libya, is far worse than a bump in the road."
NewsBusters continues to showcase the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, September 27.
Click here for blog posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2006. Today, the worst bias of 2007: ABC fawns over newly-installed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; Rosie O’Donnell insults the troops; and a McClatchy headline writer finds a downside to good news in Iraq. [Quotes and video below the jump.]
The same networks that have been hyping secret video of Mitt Romney talking about who pays taxes, hyperventilating about the Republican's "seismic" bombshell," have, thus far, completely ignored the revelation from the Congressional Budget Office that "significantly" more Americans will have to pay a "tax penalty" for being uninsured, many in the middle class.
All three evening newscasts on Wednesday and the morning shows on Thursday totally skipped this report. The Associated Press explained, "The new estimate amounts to an inconvenient fact for the administration, a reminder of what critics see as broken promises." Writer Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar added, "Nonetheless, in his first campaign for the White House, Obama pledged not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000."
On Tuesday night, the journalists at ABC continued to hype a "secret video" of Mitt Romney in the most hyperbolic terms. World News anchor Diane Sawyer went so far as to call it a "political earthquake" and a "seismic day."
The anchor excitedly began the show by teasing, "...Caught on tape. New moments from the secret video of Governor Romney talking to his rich donors about a lot of American voters." She wondered if Romney would be able to "limit the damage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford stood out as the only Big Three network journalist to play a clip of Barack Obama's infamous "cling to guns and religion" barb at conservatives, as she covered the recently-released secret recordings of Mitt Romney remarking about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government."
Crawford remarked that Obama "spurred similar controversy" with the 2008 comment, but neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today mentioned it in their coverage of the Romney video recordings, which were released by the left-wing magazine Mother Jones. [audio of Crawford available here; video below the jump]
The hosts and reporters of ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday launched a hyperbolic attack on Mitt Romney's "secret tapes," trumpeting the "bombshell" that is sending "shock waves" through the campaign.
The ABC program devoted three segments to the release of tapes of the presidential candidate talking at a fund-raiser about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos breathlessly began the show: "Breaking now, Mitt Romney caught on tape at a private fund-raiser. His candid comments causing shock waves." The host intoned that "the campaign [is] rushing to contain the damage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An executive producer at Good Morning America was forced to defend ABC's skimpy convention coverage, huffing that the network stressed quality over quantity. The Associated Press on Monday picked up a report by the Media Research Center pointing out that ABC had the least amount of convention coverage, less than half than that of CBS.
When pressed on it by the AP's David Bauder, Good Morning America executive producer Tom Cibrowski defended, "We're not going to get into the game of minute to minute in political coverage." He chided, "We want to make sure we have the best political coverage."
Clint Eastwood appeared on Monday's Good Morning America to promote his new movie, but still had to deal with media fallout from his "controversial" "chair stunt" at the Republican National Convention.
Fill-in co-host Josh Elliott teased the segment by lecturing, "We'll have much more about that controversial speech." After talking to Eastwood about his soon-to-be released baseball film, Trouble With the Curve, reporter Nick Watt segued, "Eastwood's last role was, of course, guest star at the Republican National Convention. He controversially addressed an empty chair as if it were President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Lady Gaga’s quest to shock and to court controversy continues. On Sept.13, Lady Gaga released a new fragrance called “Fame,” referring to her new scent as a “very slutty perfume.”
The controversial pop star introduced her new perfume after launching a bizarre ad campaign for the fragrance in July. The labels on bottles of “Fame” describe the smell of the scent as “tears of Belladonna, crushed heart of tiger orchidea, with a black veil of incense, pulverized apricot, and, the combinative essences of saffron and honey drops.”
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Friday landed an exclusive interview with Mitt Romney and proceeded to taunt the Republican presidential candidate: "But you're falling further behind. Why aren't you doing better?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Stephanopoulos's hyperbole aside, a new Rasmussen poll shows Romney ahead by three points. A CBS poll has the President ahead by three. Hardly panic time.
Unsurprisingly, the Good Morning America host neatly parroted the Democratic campaign's attacks over how Romney has responded to the situation in Libya. Teasing the segment, Stephanopoulos promised to hit Romney on "those controversial comments made right after the outbreak of violence."
The NBC and CBS morning shows on Thursday both pushed the theme that Mitt Romney made a gaffe with his handling of Libya. At the same time, they shielded Barack Obama. Good Morning America's Jake Tapper stood out in highlighting problems for the President. In the wake of the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tapper asserted that "many questions remain about insufficient security at those diplomatic posts on the anniversary of 9/11 and U.S. leadership in the region in the wake of the Arab Spring."
In contrast, CBS This Morning devoted a large chunk of its coverage to allowing Barack Obama to defend himself. The three minute and 41 second story featured the President talking for a massive two and a half minutes. How long did Romney get in the Norah O'Donnell segment? A mere ten seconds.
ABC journalist Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday compared the rioting and murder that followed Middle Eastern anger over an anti-Islamic movie to yelling "fire in a crowded theater." Regarding filmmaker Sam Bacile and the killing of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya, Amanpour derided, "So, now, one has to, really, try to figure out the extremists in this country and the extremists out there who are using this and whipping up hatred." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Amanpour appeared on Good Morning America to discuss Bacile and his little-seen film. Talking to George Stephanopoulos, she asserted that the movie mocks the prophet Mohammed, portraying him as "a womanizer, a pedophile, a thug, and generally denigrate[s] Islam." Seemingly debating the need for some kind of self-censorship, Amanpour added, "There is also 100-year law by the United States Supreme Court, which says you can't cry fire in a crowded theater."
Each morning, NewsBusters has been showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala September 27. (Click here for details and ticket information.)
If you’ve missed a previous blog, recounting the worst of 1988 through 1997, you can find them here. Today, the worst bias of 1998: Journalists disparage Ken Starr for investigating Bill Clinton's tawdry scandals, while an ex-Time magazine correspondent reveals the depth of her appreciation for Clinton's pro-abortion policies. [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday attacked Bob Woodward and his new expose from the left, worrying that "Speaker Boehner [is] using your book as a sign that voters should turn away from President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Woodward appeared on ABC to promote The Price of Politics, his new book on the 2011 battle over the debt ceiling. According to Stephanopoulos, Woodward paints a picture of a president who failed to "work [his] will." The former Bill Clinton operative parroted Obama talking points, complaining, "As you know, the White House takes exception to the conclusion" that "the President lacked the stamina to build the relationships he needed to get this done."
All three morning shows on Monday covered the massive teachers strike in Rahm Emanuel's Chicago that left 350,000 students in the lurch. However, only CBS This Morning explained that the teachers, through their public sector unions, are already well compensated, making an average salary of $71,000 a year (plus benefits).
Reporter Dean Reynolds informed viewers, "That a dispute involving public sector employees would erupt in Chicago was somewhat surprising, given the generous packages unions here have won in the past." He noted that "Chicago's public school teachers make an average of $71,000 a year." Good Morning America and the Today show ignored these facts.
Even the journalists on the liberal NBC, CBS and ABC morning shows had a hard time spinning Barack Obama's acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention. On Friday's Today show, Chuck Todd glumly conceded, "Look, aides acknowledge this wasn't his most poetic speech, not on par with his previous convention speeches and maybe not even the best convention speech of the week." [MP3 audio here. See video below. ]
Todd offered that "because of the hard economic realities, the President decided that had to trump soaring rhetoric." Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos actually refrained from his normally effusive praise of the President. The host acknowledged, "A different kind of convention speech from President Obama last night. More sober, a little more humble." How anxious were the hosts of GMA to get off the subject of the President's speech? The two hour program gave Obama a mere five minutes and 45 seconds.
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday buried coverage of the embarrassing spectacle of Democratic delegates booing the reinsertion of God and Jerusalem to the party's platform. World News,Nightline and live coverage of Wednesday's convention completely ignored the gaffe.Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Thursday breezed by it with a single sentence: "Lots of infighting about the party platform."
What was the problem, exactly? Tapper didn't say. (He did explain it online.) NBC's Nightly News and the CBS Evening Newsboth covered it, Wednesday night. On Thursday, CBS This Morning's Nancy Cordes observed that "earlier in the day," the "party had to publicly rework the Democratic platform because they forgot to put a mention of God in there and a mention about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel." The program then featured video of convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa trying to force through the additions of God and Israel. Boos rained down. [See video below. See MP3 audio here.]
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared on all three morning shows, Wednesday, but faced no questions about the city's skyrocketing murder rate. Instead, NBC, CBS and ABC treated the former chief of staff to Barack Obama as a political pundit and not someone responsible for dealing with the 350-plus slayings in his city. (August was the deadliest month yet in 2012.)
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos did note that Emanuel would be leaving the Democratic National Convention in Chicago after Wednesday. He cited "real, real problems" in the city." However, the host and friend of Emanuel didn't mean murder. Stephanopoulos, who worked with the now-Mayor back in the Clinton White House, quizzed, "Potentially the first teacher's strike in 20 years. You going to be able to prevent it?"
All three network morning shows on Wednesday ignored a move by Democrats to delete references to God from the party's 2012 convention platform. NBC skipped another controversial decision, removing an assertion that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. (CBS and ABC, however, did cover this decision.)
Some top Democrats appear touchy about the decision to avoid mentioning God. Senator Dick Durbin became visibly angry when Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked about it, Tuesday. Baier reminded, "In 2008, God was mentioned once. In 2004, it was mentioned seven times. In 2000, God was mentioned four times. Just a question. The question is why take it out in this time?" [See video of the heated exchange below. MP3 audio here.]