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.]
When the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks preview Vice President Joe Biden’s 2012 Democratic National Convention speech, will they fill their programs with a montage of the mental mistakes that have plagued him over the years? If recent coverage is any indication, they will choose to bypass Biden’s bumbling.
While the Big Three networks were quick to make fun of GOP vice presidential selections in the past from Dan Quayle to Sarah Palin for their campaign trail stumbles, they’ve either downplayed or completely ignored Biden’s most embarrassing and offensive moments. From insensitively telling a wheelchair-bound state senator to “Stand up!” to not recognizing how many letters there are in the word “jobs,” the media have let Biden get away with gaffes that would have gotten GOP VP picks pilloried. (Video compilation after the jump)
For six days and counting (including this morning), the broadcast networks entertained the idea that Paul Ryan was lying in his convention speech last week. Yet the problem for journalists was that Ryan’s speech was accurate, even if they didn’t like the implications. NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday evening’s Nightly News, for example, even conceded that “what he [Ryan] said many times was technically factual,” but grumbled that “by what he left out,” he “actually distorted the actual truth.”
Such a sensitive standard means journalists could endlessly complain, since even truthful speeches or TV ads necessarily omit information detrimental to their campaign objective. The question is, will journalists be so sensitive when liberal Democrats take liberties with their campaign rhetoric?
The hosts of the three network morning shows on Tuesday grilled Paul Ryan, questioning the Republican's facts and citing Joe Biden as a policy expert. Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos highlighted a quote from the Vice President touting the last four years.
Good Morning America's Stephanopoulos interrogated, "When [Biden] says Osama bin Laden is dead, General Motors is alive, you say?" Using remarkably similar language, CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose pressed Ryan on Obama's first term, parroting, "...Vice President Biden has come back and said, as you know, General Motors is alive and Osama Bin Laden is dead."
Of the three morning shows, only ABC's Good Morning America on Monday highlighted two drunken delegates at the Democratic National Convention, one of whom was forced to leave North Carolina. Fill-in host Lara Spencer touted the story, asserting that "things are already off to a shaky start."
Reporter Cecilia Vega explained, "Two California Democratic delegates partied into the wee hours of Sunday morning. In the lobby of their Charlotte hotel, one was so drunk he apparently passed out and was taken to the hospital." She added that the unidentified delegate was "belligerent" and threatened with arrest for impersonating a congressman. ABC reported the story in the 7am and 8am hour. CBS This Morning and NBC's Today, however, skipped it.
The network morning shows on Friday slammed conservative actor Clint Eastwood's "bizarre," "rambling" endorsement of Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention. Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and NBC's Today dissected the speech in 11 out of 12 segments about the convention.
GMA guest host Amy Robach mocked, "The good, the bad and the ugly." She hyperbolically added, "Did Clint Eastwood derail Romney's big night with a bizarre warm up speech?" CBS This Morning co-anchor Norah O'Donnell spit out a similar critique: "It was the 'no good, the bad and the ugly.'" CBS obsessed over Eastwood the most, in five out of five segments on the GOP's convention. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
How has George Stephanopoulos spent his week? The former top aide to Bill Clinton pushed Democratic talking points on all his guests at the Republican National Convention, continuing the practice on Thursday. After allowing that Paul Ryan "electrified" the crowd in his speech last night, the host fretted, "But it's quite a gamble, especially here in Florida, to put Medicare front and center like that, isn't it?"
Talking to Jeb Bush on Good Morning America, he continued, "You know what Democrats say. They say he reinstates those cuts in order to finance the tax cuts for the wealthy." If anyone "knows" what Democrats would say, it's Stephanopoulos. On Wednesday night, minutes after the vice presidential candidate finished his speech, he informed the world, "I got an e-mail from a top Democrat saying the speech was audacious in its dishonesty."
ABC's analysis of Paul Ryan's RNC address included former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos citing an a-mail from a "top Democrat" slamming the integrity of Paul Ryan's speech.
Stephanopoulos noted "we saw how much this crowd loved it" before immediately adding "I got an e-mail from a top Democrat saying the speech was audacious in its dishonesty." He added in his own words that the speech was "brazen in some of these claims." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
During a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, advertising executive Donny Deutsch ripped into Republican National Convention keynote speaker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "I'm gonna talk about the Christie brand. Bullying will never be accepted across this country....If you're a woman, if you're a minority...they don't want somebody up there going, 'This is the way it is.' His brand will never sell to the country." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to present a different perspective: "It's interesting you say that, because one man's bullying is another man's straight talk." Deutsch immediately dismissed any such point of view: "No, it's not...no, this is a bully....This guy will never, ever get elected President of the United States. Remember I told you that....this brand will never sell."
All three morning shows, Wednesday, pounded Marco Rubio, forcing him to defend a supposedly anti-Hispanic Republican Party and explain that the GOP won't destroy Medicare. CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose lectured, "...Many people worry that people who are Hispanic, African-American and other minorities don't have a place in this party." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He continued, "[Your party is] becoming something that is more narrow rather than outreaching." On ABC's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos pushed the same liberal talking point. He quoted Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, parroting "He [Villaraigosa] said you can't just trot out a brown face or as Spanish surname and expect people to vote for your candidate. He was referring to you tomorrow night."
In an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer was aghast at an off-the-cuff joke by Mitt Romney on Friday: "...he said, 'No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate,' an obvious reference to the birther debate. Is it – he says it was a joke. Is it funny to kind of pay attention to a fringe group and question the very legitimacy of the President of the United States's citizenship?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Christie replied: "Yeah, but he hasn't. I mean, he has been the clearest, the most affirmative of all the Republican candidates who are running for this nomination, in saying that he didn't think that was an issue." Lauer ignored the fact that President Obama himself has joked about his birth certificate on more than one occasion and that the Obama campaign actually raised money off the issue, selling mugs and t-shirts mocking the conspiracy theory.
Former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday hit Chris Christie, the Republican National Convention's keynote speaker, with liberal talking points about his state. Reading off a sheet of paper, the Good Morning America host recited, "You know, the Democrats are already ready for you to talk about the New Jersey experience. They're pointing out, ahead of your speech, that New Jersey is near the bottom of states in unemployment." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Stephanopoulos parroted, "Forty eight in unemployment. Forty seven in economic growth." Christie shot back, pointing out that in the last 12 months "we're ranked fourth in the country in terms of the number of private sector jobs that have been created, according to CNBC. That we've had 90,000 new private sector jobs created since I've been governor."
The hosts and reporters on Monday's Good Morning America downplayed a new ABC News/Washington Postpoll showing Mitt Romney taking the lead over Barack Obama. It wasn't until the 8am hour that news anchor Josh Elliott specifically revealed the numbers: "When it comes to the economy, 50 percent trust Romney to handle it, while just 43 percent favor the President."
The poll has the presumptive Republican nominee at 47 points, Obama at 46 percent. As Hot Air pointed out, "This is the first time that Obama has lost the lead since a brief polling burst for Romney in January." Yet, Diane Sawyer simply told co-anchor George Stephanopoulos that the race was "virtually tied." She vaguely referred to the economic numbers, but spun, "More people trust Romney on the economy, but they think he favors the wealthy over the middle class."
The media obsession with a gaffe by Congressman Todd Akin continued on Wednesday and Thursday morning. The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts and morning shows offered five additional segments, bringing the amount of coverage to a massive 96 minutes (and 45 segments) over three and a half days. The disparity between Akin and gaffe-prone Vice President Biden's "chains" controversy from last week is now five-to-one.
The massive amount of coverage is obviously favorable to the Democrats, a point Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos underlined: "Mitt Romney hoping to shake off those controversial comments from Congressman Todd Akin about abortion and rape. President Obama and his team doing everything they can to make it stick."
"A grand jury indicted Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va., on a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, and two District of Columbia offenses: assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a handgun during a crime of violence," reported CBS News and the Associated Press yesterday shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern. CBSNews.com carried the story in the "daily blotter" section of its Crimesider feature. "Corkins' parents told investigators that he was a supporter of gay rights, and he said he didn't agree with the FRC's politics before the shooting, according to the documents," the article added.
Yet last night's CBS Evening News completely ignored the story, as did ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News. The August 23 editions of those networks' morning shows also ignored the story. A search of our DVR recordings also found no mention of the indictment on the ultra-liberal, fervently pro-gay rights MSNBC network. John Berman of CNN's Starting Point did briefly touch on the story in the 7:00 a.m. news brief:
A week after giving relatively light coverage to Joe Biden's "chains" smear, the broadcast networks eagerly dove into the Todd Akin controversy, giving over four times more coverage to an uproar involving a statewide (conservative) politician than a controversy involving a national (liberal) politician. NBC, CBS and ABC's evening and morning shows have devoted an astonishing 88 minutes (or 40 segments) of coverage to Congressman Akin's "legitimate rape" remark. Over a similar three day period, the networks allowed a scant 19 minutes (or ten segments) to a racially charged gaffe by the Vice President of the United States.
CBS This Morning reporter Norah O'Donnell on Tuesday pronounced, "If Akin is still running for the United States Senate, everybody is going to be asking about Akin, abortion rights, women's rights, etc., during the Republican convention." CBS journalists certainly did their best to make sure "everybody" would be talking about the Republican. The network hyped the story the most, pushing the controversy for 13 segments and 37 minutes.
The network morning shows on Tuesday devoted an enormous 20 minutes and 53 seconds to obsessing over a gaffe by a Republican congressman, hyping Todd Akin's comments for nine separate segments. NBC, CBS and ABC touted Democratic efforts to link the gaffe-prone representative to the GOP presidential ticket.
Former Democratic operative turned Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos zeroed in on Akin's comments what constitutes a "legitimate rape." He breathlessly wondered, "We saw the President pounce in the White House briefing room yesterday. How are the Democrats going to try to capitalize on this today?"
After Paul Ryan released his last two years of tax returns late Friday, reporters on ABC and CBS not only made sure to point out that Ryan paid a higher federal tax rate than the wealthier Mitt Romney, but also noted that he had supplied more than two years to the Romney campaign as part of the vetting process, as if to put additional pressure on Romney and Ryan that they should make more than two years public.
All three morning shows on Monday highlighted gaffes involving two Republican congressmen, touting the "firestorm" that followed a GOP senatorial candidate who discussed "legitimate rape." Both NBC and CBS attempted to link that incident (and one of a congressman swimming naked in the Sea of Galilee) to the Republican presidential ticket.
On CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted "comments made by Missouri Republican Todd Akin [that] have caused a firestorm" and added, "...National Democrats are already seizing on his comments as they try to push the notion that Republicans are out of touch when it comes to women's health." Talking to Chuck Todd, Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie giddily hyped, "But let me ask you the larger question, do you think this will have an effect on the Republican race for president, where the female vote is so important?"
Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Friday yet again hyped the issue of Mitt Romney's taxes. Guest anchor Elliott touted, "And Mitt Romney finally ready to address that question about his taxes." Amy Robach thrilled, "Mitt Romney, for the first time revealing new information about his tax returns...But why now?"
The candidate on Thursday asserted that he had "never" paid lower than a 13 percent tax rate. Reporter David Muir played up ABC's own role in this supposed new revelation: "Romney went back and checked after our sit down with him two weeks ago. At the time, we asked him about the tax rate he paid and the one completed tax return he has released." Muir then played a clip of him asking the Republican whether or not he had "ever" paid less than 13.9 percent.
Over eight hours of broadcast time, Thursday, the network morning shows devoted a scant two minutes and 57 seconds to Wednesday's shooting at the conservative Family Research Council (FRC). Good Morning America on ABC offered the most time, a still tiny two minutes and 22 seconds. But at least guest anchor Josh Elliott revealed key details about the alleged shooter's possible motive, such as the fact that Floyd Corkins "was a volunteer at a local LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] center." CBS This Morning totally skipped the story.
ABC reporter Pierre Thomas added, "Sources say [Corkins] had items from fast food giant Chick-fil-A in his bag, but it was unclear whether Wednesday's incident had any ties to the recent controversy on gay marriage." Thomas then gratuitously noted, "The company's owner recently set off a political firestorm, suggesting he opposed gay marriage." (CEO Dan Cathy created a "firestorm" by simply giving his opinion on an issue? Wouldn't it be fair to say that liberal groups whipped up the anger?)
Of the three morning shows on Wednesday, only CBS acknowledged the racial tinge of Vice President Joe Biden telling a mostly black crowd that Republicans will "put y'all back in chains." ABC's Good Morning America, instead, tried to explain away and provide context for the Democrat. NBC's Today vaguely alluded to GOP concerns about the remark, but didn't mention race. (On Tuesday, the CBS Evening News was alone in making this point.)
Regarding the Vice President's assertion that Mitt Romney wants to "unchain Wall Street," CBS This Morning guest anchor Anthony Mason explained that Biden "seemed to suggest that Republicans want to put black Americans back in bondage." Correspondent Nancy Cordes hinted the Vice President was implying that the GOP "wants to put black Americans back in bondage." In contrast, GMA's David Muir simply told viewers that Biden is now "trying to explain the chains remark."
Former Democratic operative turned TV host George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday immediately set to work on the job of parroting Democratic talking points about the new Republican presidential ticket. The network anchor teased the program by hyping, "Mitt Romney and his new running mate under attack from the White House. President Obama says they will end Medicare as we know it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Stephanopoulos also used social media to parrot liberal attacks: "President Obama put out a tweet last night to his 18 and a half million followers, saying Romney and Ryan want to end Medicare as we know it, while giving millionaires a tax cut."
Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos on Monday kicked off the program by tagging Paul Ryan as "the former prom king that once drove the Weinermobile." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The ex-Democratic operative turned TV host also authoritatively declared that "the White House is actually pretty pleased by the choice of Paul Ryan because they do see him as a target." (What else would they say? Would the campaign admit to being scared of the Republican?)
Reporter David Muir continued the false narrative about the Ryan plan: "Ryan is known in the political world for his controversial budget plan that would call for steep cuts and the Obama campaign said it would change Medicare as we know it." On Sunday, GMA's Bianna Golodryga warned of "budget slasher" Paul Ryan.
Previewing the choice of Paul Ryan as the GOP vice presidential candidate, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows all used Democratic framing to describe the House GOP budget plan that Ryan championed as a plan to, as CBS’s Bob Schieffer put it, “cut more than $5 trillion over the next ten years.” ABC’s Bianna Golodryga passed along the demagogic rhetoric of liberals: “Democrats, meantime, contest that it will destroy Medicare and Social Security.”
But Ryan’s plan would actually increase federal spending over the next ten years, from about $3.6 trillion this year to just under $4.9 trillion in 2022. The $5 trillion in “cuts” are merely reductions from the much-higher spending anticipated by President Obama’s budget. (See tables starting on page 88.)
Breaking the news this morning that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, ABC’s Good Morning America in a single hour employed no fewer than seven “conservative” labels to label Ryan and his supporters. But four years ago as Barack Obama tapped Joe Biden, there wasn’t a single “liberal” label to be found on GMA’s coverage that Saturday morning.
Ryan, ABC’s team accurately pointed out, is as fill-in co-host David Muir put it, “a favorite among conservatives;” a candidate who “rallies the conservative base,” as George Stephanopoulos later opined. According to the American Conservative Union, Ryan has a solid 91.69 conservative rating (100% being a perfect conservative score).
ABC on Thursday night finally broke the network's silence about a dishonest Obama super PAC ad that, essentially, accuses Mitt Romney of killing a woman. On Friday, Good Morning America's hosts and reporters vaguely, but haughtily, chided "both sides" for negative ads, as if they had been covering Obama's commercial all week. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the very end of a segment on Romney's possible VP choices, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos lectured, "It really seems to be, watching this time around, that both sides are willing to take all kinds of heat for getting accused of running misleading ads, but they're going to keep pumping them out there." What was Obama's ad? He didn't say. Karl, who on Thursday night became the first ABC reporter to note the misleading Obama spot, huffed about both campaigns: "You know, it's almost like they're not trying to be factual."
All three evening newscasts on Tuesday and the morning shows on Wednesday skipped a new Super PAC ad (run by former Obama spokesman Bill Burton) that blames Mitt Romney for a woman's death from cancer. While ignoring that, NBC, ABC and CBS made sure to highlight negative news for Romney or White House complaints about the Republican's new campaign spots.
By contrast, CNN on Tuesday demolished the Obama super PAC ad as "not accurate." Anchor Wolf Blitzer asserted it was "full of falsehoods." The spot misleadingly claims that Ranae Soptic passed away from cancer shortly after Bain Capital closed down the steel plant her husband worked at. In reality, she died five years later. Instead of investigating this, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Wednesday alerted, "Our new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds [Romney's] personal popularity sinking to a new low, the lowest of any presumptive nominee since 1984."