The three major networks trumpeted the news this weekend that the man behind a mass shooting spree in Norway is also a Christian, highlighting the fact in eight different programs from Saturday through Monday.
The July 25 New York Times used page one to declare, "As Horrors Emerge, Norway Charges Christian Extremist." Yet, these same journalistic outlets were far more reticent to identify the religion of past Islamic killers.
On Saturday's Good morning America, Miguel Marquez trumpeted, "Police have identified the shooter as a 32-year-old Norwegian and Christian fundamentalist." He made sure to note Anders Breivik's "right-wing" and "anti-Muslim" views.
On Sunday’s World News, ABC correspondent T.J. Winick filed a report in which he presented same-sex marriage as a way to stimulate the ailing economy - potentially of the entire nation - by getting lots of new married couples to spend money on weddings. Winick also featured a soundbite of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticizing Republicans for opposing same-sex marriage.
And, as Christiane Amanpour appeared on the same day’s Good Morning America to plug her interview with Bloomberg on This Week, she showed a similar soundbite after GMA co-host Bianna Golodryga brought up Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s views on homosexuality.
On World News, after anchor David Muir introduced the report by referring to the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York state as a "money maker," correspondent Winick soon elaborated:
On Tuesday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jeffrey Kofman asserted that News Corporation founder Rupert Murdoch was a "man infamous for his ruthlessness and his arrogance" as he filed a report on Murdoch’s testimony in front of the British parliament.
Kofman also seemed to mock the News Corp founder as he remarked that "he's the boss, but the buck does not stop with him, and he is not planning to step aside."
Reporters have repeatedly portrayed Barack Obama as a deficit hawk committed to "slashing" spending, as MRC Research Director Rich Noyes documented in April ahead of the president's much-anticipated budget speech.
While the media touted Obama's budget blueprint, which contained puny cuts, as "deeply painful," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told Congress the president's framework lacked sufficient detail to be scored as a credible plan.
Since then, Obama still hasn't revealed a serious plan to cut spending, yet correspondents continue to paint the president as a budget cutter.
On Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, after anchor Dan Harris recounted that News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch met and apologized to the family of the 13-year-old murder victim whose phone messages were hacked by a News of the World reporter, correspondent Jeffrey Kofman commented that Murdoch reminded him of Ebenezer Scrooge approaching Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, rather than a character from a Shakespearean tragedy. Kofman:
On Friday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl took a moment to go beyond the budget debate between House Republicans and President Obama with the GOP unwilling to support a tax increase, and noted that House Democrats have also been just as resistant to voting for cutting the growth of Medicare spending. But the same night's CBS Evening News focused on Republican reluctance to support some of the budget proposals and even gave the impression at one point that congressional Democrats were willing to curtail Medicare growth.
On ABC, after recounting some of the Republicans who have resisted voting for budget plans that have been brought up, Karl continued:
The 2010 elections, which changed the balance of power in the House, were driven by popular opposition to government spending, debt and the threat of tax increases. Yet even with the federal debt limit already breached and only days left to prevent a national default, the media continue to ignore the public's wishes.
The theme of network reports on the debt ceiling battle is that some agreement MUST be reached so that the limit can be increased, but many Americans disagree with raising the debt limit and are more concerned about government spending. But that has barely been mentioned in stories.
Polls taken by Gallup, CBS and AP have all registered significant worry about federal debt and opposition to an increase in the debt ceiling. But ABC, CBS and NBC coverage of the debt limit battle being waged on Capitol Hill has not reflected that fact.
Out of 45 reports on the broadcast network's evening news programs between June 16 and July 12, only one mentioned a poll that showed public opposition to raising the debt ceiling. That's a mere 2 percent of reports. An additional two stories had some reference to what the public might think, but without polling data.
In a relatively inoffensive interview with President Barack Obama for Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley implied the Tea Party (and maybe congressional liberals too) should be blamed for blocking a debt ceiling deal (“Isn't the problem that a large number of the Members of Congress will not follow your leadership or the Republican leadership?”) and fondly recalled how “it wasn't that long ago when compromise in Washington was considered a virtue, not a vice.”
Pelley touted how “Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they respected each other, they liked each other and they got things done.” That allowed Obama to use Reagan to scold conservatives: “If Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises?”
On Sunday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl suggested that Democrats in the House, rather than take a political position based on principle, refuse to vote for a budget plan that would reform Medicare because they wish to use Medicare to run against Republicans and take back the House.
As Karl recounted that he had recently spoken with House Democratic leaders, it is unclear whether he meant that one of the leaders had actually made this admission to him, or whether his assertion was his own perception. Karl:
NewsBusters has been reporting for weeks that the Obama-loving media are going to do anything possible to smear all Republican contenders for the White House in the coming months.
On Monday, ABC's "World News" actually began with a segment that included undercover videos of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's husband's clinic where homosexual patients are allegedly counseled to pray to become heterosexual (video follows with transcript and commentary):
World News host Diane Sawyer swears she simply "brings the facts" and makes sure people "know what the truth is." The anchor appeared on Thursday's O'Reilly Factor to promote her new special on kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard.
O'Reilly pointed out that such stories of brutality infuriate him and are the reason he's a commentator and not a straight journalist. Asked if she ever shows anger as a reporter, Sawyer professed, "No, I get purposeful, which is different. I always think that my job is to marshal facts and bring the facts out and let the facts deliver whatever information there is to deliver."
As the broadcast network evening newscasts filed reports this week on the teacher cheating scandal in Atlanta, Georgia, ABC’s World News on its Wednesday show went furthest in seeming to sympathize with the teachers who cheated as correspondent Steve Osunami highlighted complaints about No Child Left Behind’s emphasis on standardized tests to judge teacher performance.
After recounting details of the cheating scandal, in which as many as 178 teachers and principals in Atlanta erased and changed some of the answers on student tests to improve test score statistics for their schools, Osunsami asserted that "everyone here is pointing the finger at No Child Left Behind," and undermined the complaints of parents angry about the scandal:
On Friday's World News on ABC, correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi detailed findings of a Harvard study which claims a correlation between attending July 4 parades and voting for Republicans.
Substitute host David Muir introduced the story: "And tonight, a provocative new study suggests the simple act of taking your child to see the parade shapes not only their patriotism but their politics. Who will they vote for?"
Alfonsi got right to the answer as she began her report with a play on the words "independence" and "independents":
On Thursday evening, uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC’s World News featured a report on GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s recent revelation that her pro-life views were influenced by a miscarriage she once endured. ABC correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi also informed viewers of the Minnesota Congresswoman’s history of giving care to foster children with her husband.
Substitute anchor George Stephanopoulos set up the report:
On ABC’s World News on Sunday, a report by correspondent Jim Avila highlighted the complaints of left-wing mayors who expressed wishes that more defense spending would be redirected at projects in their cities.
The NBC correspondent speculated about what other items could be paid for using the money used by the Pentagon in Afghanistan and Iraq, and concluded the report seeming to suggest that spending on the wars had played a role in causing "damage" to the economy of the U.S. Avila: "It's a growing part of this country's war fatigue - a decade of human cost and damage to a struggling economy."
ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to mention former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's affiliation with the Democratic Party on their Monday evening news broadcasts and the Tuesday morning shows. Blagojevich was convicted by a jury on Monday on 17 out of 20 charges, mainly related to the attempt to sell the Senate seat of President Obama. Only CBS's Early Show noted his party with a "D" on-screen.
NBC devoted the least amount of time to the breaking news, a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds between NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Brian Williams actually didn't mention the party of the new felon or his predecessor during his report on Monday, but noted that "Blagojevich will become the fourth Illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. His predecessor, George Ryan, is still in federal prison, also for corruption." The following morning, news anchor Natalie Morales gave three news briefs on Blagojevich, all about 15 seconds long each.
All three broadcast network evening newscasts awarded full stories Monday night to Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign announcement, with ABC and NBC unable to resist pouncing on Chris Wallace’s “are you a flake?” question to frame their stories. ABC’s Jonathan Karl highlighted how she’s “been accused of being loose with the facts, saying, for example, that the President's last trip to India was costing taxpayers $200 million a day. That's why Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace says he asked her” the “flake” question.
On NBC, Kelly O’Donnell also played the Wallace clip before focusing on how Bachmann “has been embarrassed by a string of factual errors, like placing the battles of Lexington and Concord in the wrong state. She missed the mark again in our interview, bringing up an unrelated and incorrect claim about her hometown.” (That would be about John Wayne’s birthplace.)
The ABC and NBC evening newscasts have focused stories on Billy Bulger, the long-time Massachusetts Democratic political hack who is the younger brother of just-captured reputed mass-murdering Mobster Whitey Bulger, but both refused to identify Billy Bulger’s party affiliation. (The CBS Evening News has, so far, not even mentioned Billy.)
“While Whitey Bulger was running a gang, his brother was a celebrated star of Massachusetts politics,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer trumpeted on Thursday night. On Friday night, NBC forwarded MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to vouch that Billy had no information about the whereabouts of his fugitive brother while Jeff Rossen marveled: “Just as investigators say Whitey was ordering hits, his brother, Billy Bulger, was rising in state government, President of the Massachusetts state senate and later President of U Mass.”
When ABC and NBC interview First Ladies, both the tone and substance of the discussion tend to hinge on whether the husband is an Obama or a Bush.
On Wednesday's ABC "World News" and NBC "Nightly News," network correspondents sat down with Michelle Obama in South Africa for exclusive interviews in which they lobbed softball questions and avoided her husband's policies. But in interviews with Laura Bush in 2007 and 2010, ABC questioned the then-First Lady's Mideast trip and NBC re-litigated President Bush's response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
NBC barely covered the Thursday arrests of two Islamists in a planned terrorist attack on a military facility in Seattle. The network didn't cover the breaking news at all on Thursday's Nightly News, and devoted only 17 seconds to it on Friday's Today Show. Thursday's CBS Evening News had a minute-long report on the arrests, while ABC had full reports on the arrests on World News and GMA.
CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced correspondent Bob Orr's brief report on the terror plot: "It has been a busy 48 hours for the FBI. We learned today that agents have arrested two men in what the feds say was a terrorist plot to attack a military recruiting station in Seattle." Orr only made one indirect and vague reference to the suspects' religion: "The two men...somehow had become radicalized on their own." Actually, in an online report on Thursday, ABC referenced unnamed officials who stated that they are "believed to have met in prison and to have converted to Islam in prison."
Barack Obama's confusing one living American war hero with a fallen one he honored in 2009, has been completely ignored by the Big Three Networks shows, including the same NBC Nightly News that threw a fit over Sarah Palin's recent recounting of an event over 200 years ago, Paul Revere's ride.
ABC and NBC have delivered fawning coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama's visit this week to South Africa and Botswana, oozing over the "celebrity" and "excitement" of the "patented Michelle power" on display. To its credit, CBS has largely taken a pass on the idolatry.
The Supreme Court on Monday unequivocally rejected the notion that courts should force power companies to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, but none of the major broadcast networks covered the unanimous decision on their evening newscasts or morning shows.
The New York Times teased the ruling on the front page of Tuesday's paper, directing readers to a thorough analysis of the 8-0 decision, but ABC's "Good Morning America" and "World News," CBS's "Early Show" and "Evening News," and NBC's "Today" and "Nightly News" all skipped a decision that prevents environmentalists from using the courts to impose greenhouse gas regulations on electric utilities.
Instead, on Friday night ABC offered a bunch of ways to describe Melaku , who caused a major incident when his car was found hidden in bushes near the Pentagon -- starting with anchor Diane Sawyer who identified him simply as a “Marine Lance Corporal.” Reporter Pierre Thomas referred to him as “the suspect” multiple times as well as a “Marine reservist,” “a 22-year old Ethiopian American” and a “lone wolf.”
In a combined ten hours of programming, Wednesday, the networks devoted a mere 41 seconds to an important ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that allowed Scott Walker's collective bargaining law to be implemented. NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams, however, found time to focus on Spider-Man and the 2012 Academy Awards.
On June 15, only NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show covered it. That day's newscasts, including Evening News and World News, totally skipped it (as did Nightline).
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) conducted hearings on Wednesday to investigate a highly controversial ATF operation that led to the death of a U.S. border agent, but neither NBC nor ABC covered the story on their nightly newscasts.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman lambasted a Justice Department official who claimed to be cooperating with the investigation but offered not much more than severely redacted documents. "You should be ashamed of yourself," scolded Issa. "How dare you offer an opening statement of cooperation."
Wednesday’s World News on ABC led with a report from the left-leaning Center for Public Integrity (Arianna Huffington is one of several liberals on the Board of Directors) documenting Barack Obama’s failure to meet his promise to “change” politics as usual and thus not sell access and give jobs to big donors, a report not touched by the CBS or NBC evening newscasts.
“Today,” Jake Tapper relayed, “the Center for Public Integrity issued a report concluding that, quote, ‘about one-third of Obama bundlers or their spouses joined the administration in some role,’ and ‘80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took “key administration posts” as defined by the White House.’”
Tapper zinged: “There is a difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration, according to the Center: The Obama administration is worse.”
Much of the media made fools of themselves with their excited obsession over the release of Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial e-mails, but NBC News went the furthest, sending, as did CNN, reporters to Juneau as the network uniquely led its Friday night newscast by hyping the non-news as a major event. “On the broadcast tonight,” anchor Lester Holt heralded, “mail call. Thousands of pages of e-mail from Sarah Palin's time as Governor. What we're learning about her tonight.”
Following a story from “national investigative correspondent” Michael Isikoff in which “MSNBC.com investigative reporter” Bill Dedman had the gall to complain “we waited longer for these records than Sarah Palin was Governor, almost a thousand days,” NBC’s David Gregory recognized, in an understatement: “As Mike and his team are finding, not a lot of bombshells here.”
In the '80s the liberal media filled the airwaves with tales of woe from the homeless as a way to distract viewers from the runaway success of Reaganomics. In the 2000s, the same media chatted with one frustrated gas station customer after another to slam then-President George W. Bush.
However in 2011, with over 44 million Americans on food stamps, a new high according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (See Table 2), the Big Three broadcast network news programs have been virtually devoid of anecdotal sob stories of moms and dads struggling to pay for their kids' box of Frosted Flakes, as a way to hammer Barack Obama's failed economic policies.