On Tuesday evening, CBS broke wide open a story on State Department e-mails showing the White House knew on September 11 that the consulate in Benghazi was subjected to a terrorist attack, and that terrorists took credit on Facebook and Twitter. But by Wednesday, the three network morning shows weren't leaping to follow up. ABC and CBS combined devoted just over a minute to the story, while NBC completely ignored it.
By contrast, all three newscasts showed that they were more interested in helping the Democrats in Indiana, aggressively spotlighting Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's faith-based affirmation that he did not support abortion even in the case of rape, that even those are children "God intended." Mourdock's "controversial comments" drew more than seven and a half minutes of coverage.
The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) gave the faux furor over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” statement in Tuesday’s debate a whopping 22 mentions through Friday morning. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden, on Thursday, told an audience member that Republican “young guns” like Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had “bullets” aimed at him the networks delivered just a scant two total mentions (on NBC and CBS, ABC skipped the gaffe entirely.)
On the morning after the debate ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, on Good Morning America, singled out the “binders” comment: “You remember the Big Bird line that dominated the conversations online and around the water cooler, in essence, after the first debate? Last night, it was another Romney comment, ‘binders full of women’ that caused the heat to turn on.”
As the presidential contest enters its final weeks, one loser is clear: the Big Three television networks' evening newscasts, home of some of the worst examples of ongoing and still influential media bias.
Chris Ariens at Media Bistro noted this on October 2 in covering the results for the week of September 24: "Leading into a presidential election, one might think the tune-in to the evening news programs would increase. But one would be wrong." The trend continued during the following week, as will be seen in the graphic following the jump.
On Friday afternoon, Joe Biden lived up to his reputation for committing gaffes, not even a day after Paul Ryan zinged the Vice President over how "sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way" during Thursday's debate. At a rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden claimed Planned Parenthood "under law cannot perform any abortions." In reality, the organization is the largest abortion racket in the country.
Hours later, none of the Big Three's Friday evening newscasts had covered Biden's patently false claim. But just two days earlier, these programs devoted a combined five minutes and 1 second on Wednesday to Mitt Romney's statement to The Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regard to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." NBC's Brian Williams mouthed the Obama campaign's spin - that "what Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
The Associated Press, after an initial acknowledgment in a Tuesday evening timeline from Bradley Klapper, has consistently failed in several subsequent reports to cite State Department officials' unmistakable assertion that there were no protests whatsoever at the Benghazi, Libya U.S. consulate on September 11 before the lethal terrorist attack which killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Instead, later reports create the impression that protests did occur.
It's even getting carried into coverage of different events. In his story (link is to early paragraphs of original version) about the Thursday morning murder of a security official at the U.S. embassy in Yemen, the AP's Ahmed Al Haj (identified as the reporter in the item I originally saw, since revised) betrayed the wire service's uninterrupted obsession with "an anti-Islam video," and wrote as if nothing learned in the past two days has any validity (bolds are mine throughout this post):
ABC’s Diane Sawyer spent a solid four minutes of her interview with President Barack Obama, as excerpted at the top of Wednesday’s World News, channeling liberal angst over Obama’s debate performance – and that’s before she allocated more than a minute to cuing up Obama to denounce a Mitt Romney comment on abortion. She prompted Obama with a harsh assessment of Romney: “Is it a lie?”
“Libya” was not even uttered in the Sawyer-Obama segment. Viewers had to wait until the next story, by Jake Tapper, on the House hearing which laid out the administration’s dissembling on what happened in Libya when Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered. Then viewers got 20 seconds -- more than half of that consumed by Obama’s defense and assurance he’ll “fix” anything that wasn’t done properly.
On Friday's World News on ABC, substitute anchor David Muir filed a report which warned that the winner of the first presidential candidate debate may have to take advantage of a "'cares about you' moment," as the report seemed more preoccupied with Mitt Romney as the candidate more likely to fail in such a moment.
Muir set up the report by harkening back to an audience question in 1992 that left then-candidate Bill Clinton giving an answer which suggested he could "connect with average problems" better than then-President George H.W. Bush.
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.
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?
Repeating a common mythology that a person’s federal income tax rate equals the effective tax rate they actually pay after deductions, ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Friday night forwarded the canard that Mitt Romney’s 14.1 percent rate is lower than what a $75,000 earner pays. NBC’s Peter Alexander, however, correctly noted “the average middle class American family pays roughly 13 percent.”
On World News, Karl reported that Mitt Romney “made $13.7 million last year and paid nearly $2 million in taxes. His effective tax rate, 14.1 percent.” Then, without citing any source, Karl asserted: “That’s a lower rate than an auto mechanic who made $75,000 in pay.”
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.]
Jim Avila may not be a household name, but he has become one of the most prominent news correspondents on television – averaging 130 reports a year since 1997. But he’s done much more than just report the news, Avila has become an activist.
He made that name for himself and sullied the term “lean beef” early in 2012 with a series of stories repeatedly calling the beef “pink slime.” On Sept. 13, Beef Products Inc. filed a 1.2 billion lawsuit against ABC for the coverage of “pink slime.” Avila is specifically named in this lawsuit for his part in the anti-meat attacks. “Avila knowingly or recklessly made multiple false and disparaging statements regarding BPI and LFTB during ABC broadcasts, in ABC online reports and social media postings,” read the lawsuit. That was just one of four separate anti-meat topics Avila has pursued in 2012 alone.
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Monday recounted protests in Beirut, Lebanon, organized by Hezbollah, only the CBS Evening News noted that the U.S. government considers Hezbollah to be a "terrorist group," while ABC called it a "militant group" and NBC gave the organization no label.
As he listed Muslim countries where protests against the United States had been occurring, CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted:
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) Wednesday evening newscasts devoted more than 9 minutes (9 minutes, 28 seconds) to the flap over Mitt Romney's statement criticizing the administration's handling of the Libyan crisis but spent just 25 seconds on questions regarding Barack Obama's Middle-East policy, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity.
NBC's Brian Williams opened the Nightly News telling viewers: "Romney is taking fire tonight for the way he went on the attack politically...somehow [Romney] wanted today to be about America apologizing for its values, even after it became clear today was about the death of an American ambassador and others." CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley dutifully noted: "Democrats said the governor had injected politics into a tragedy." Over on ABC's World News Diane Sawyer announced: "Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney under fire for comments he made about the upheaval as it was unfolding." (video after the jump)
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC's World News on Tuesday failed to mention Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism of the Obama administration for not being aggressive in preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons. The CBS Evening News included a plug in its opening teaser and then devoted a full report to the story.
“You don’t want to put delegates in a position where they’re booing God and Jerusalem, especially on videotape,” the Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes observed on FNC’s Special Report in citing a “basic rule” for conventions, calling it “a bad moment for Democrats” since “it has to be included in all the coverage of the convention.” Hayes, it turns out, was far too generous in his presumption about media professionalism – at least at ABC News.
World News on Wednesday evening devoted 12 minutes – more than half the newscast – to the Democratic conclave, yet spiked the embarrassing decision by Democrats, which drew boos from the floor (earlier NB item with video of booing), to revise their platform to add a reference to God and identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern today, it took three attempts for Democrats to reinstate the words "God" and "Jerusalem" into their party platform, drawing some reactions of despondency from the more liberal members of the party. Over on MSNBC, for example, Chris Hayes called it a "craven capitulation."
This shift from the original platform that omitted God and did not explicitly express support of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital wasn’t mentioned once during ABC World News September 5 broadcast. Below is video from C-SPAN of the actual vote on the matter, which, you can tell was unlikely an actual 2/3rd vote for the rule change.
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)
The severe drought affecting the Midwest this year has caused the latest corn projections to be the lowest since 1995. With such a small corn crop, the government mandates that make some of that corn be used for ethanol make even less sense, and will raise prices even further.
The drought has been a big news story for the network morning and evening show in the past six months, earning 55 stories about facets of the drought including struggling farmers, predictions of increased food prices and coverage of wildfires. That figure did not include weather reports that also often mentioned drought.
On Saturday's World News, ABC correspondent Jake Tapper explained President Barack Obama's deceptive strategy of trying to get voters to believe that Mitt Romney supports lowering his own tax rate to less than one percent by attacking a tax plan which his running rate, Paul Ryan, once proposed in Congress which is not part of Romney's own plan.
As he introduced a deceptive soundbite from President Obama, host David Muir raised the issue:
On the day after gunman Floyd Corkins attacked the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., ABC's World News on Thursday was the only broadcast network evening newscast to run a followup report which elaborated on Corkins's political opposition to the group's conservative views.
On Saturday's World News, ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl informed viewers that former Democratic President Bill Clinton had spoken favorably to Republican Rep. Paul Ryan about his budget plan that is so unpopular with other Democrats.
After recounting President Barack Obama's history of clashing with Rep. Ryan, Karl continued:
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday gave attention to Vice-President Joseph Biden asserting that Mitt Romney, by "unchaining" Wall Street would effectively "put y'all back in chains," only CBS's Bob Schieffer informed viewers that about half the audience in Danville, Virginia, was African-American, thus suggesting the Vice-President was making an embarrassing pander to black audience members who likely have ancestors who used to be "in chains."
On the CBS Evening News, as he set up a soundbite of Biden, substitute host Schieffer related:
All three broadcast network evening newscasts recounted President Obama's charge that Rep. Paul Ryan is holding up a farm aid bill as the President campaign in Iowa, but only CBS's Nancy Cordes took the time to forward to viewers the Romney campaign's rebuttal that "Ryan voted in favor of a drought relief package that's currently languishing in the Senate."
On ABC's World News, correspondent David Muir set up Obama's complaint:
Chuck Todd has chutzpah. Jake Tapper has some integrity. For decades, journalists have aided liberals by mischaracterizing proposed slight reductions in the rate of spending hikes on a program as a “cut” or “slash” to it, so many trusting people, naively presuming the words have meaning, thus assumed there’d be an actual reduction.
NBC’s Peter Alexander repeated this fallacy on Monday’s Today when he described Paul Ryan as “the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare...” NBC’s chief political correspondent, Chuck Todd, however, had the gall to correct Mitt Romney over a “cut” claim while ignoring Alexander’s falsity.
Still working hard to avoid mentioning an outrageous Obama super-PAC ad that basically accused Mitt Romney of being responsible for the cancer death of a woman, Thursday's NBC Nightly News had the gall to instead promote pro-Obama fluff, as anchor Brian Williams gushed: "Knowing a hot product when he sees one, the President today visited the U.S. Olympic training facility in Colorado."
Williams made sure to inform viewers that Obama "Promptly took his shoes off, got on the mat, and said his grandmother would be proud there were no holes in his socks."
On Thursday's World News, ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl gave attention to the now-infamous Obama superpac ad that blames Mitt Romney for a man's wife dying of cancer, labeling it "the single most outrageous ad of the campaign."
Karl's piece was devoted to criticizing campaign ads from both sides, and, after a clip of President obama complaining about ads from Romney's side, the ABC correspondent continued:
All three evening newscasts on Wednesday continued to ignore a super PAC ad by top Obama supporters that accuses Mitt Romney of, essentially, killing a woman. At the same time, CBS and NBC amplified the Obama administration's "war on women" talking point, playing up attacks from Sandra Fluke, who previously tangled with Rush Limbaugh over contraception. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
NBC and CBS uncritically parroted a vicious new campaign quote from the President: "They [Republicans] want to take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century." NBC's Andrea Mitchell cheered, "Playing a starring role for the first time in the campaign, Sandra Fluke, the former law student who became a lightning rod after Rush Limbaugh denounced her for supporting contraception rights."
On Sunday's World News, ABC's senior Washington editor, Rick Klein, found it to be a "wildly unsubstantiated" and "irresponsible" claim for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to accuse Mitt Romney of not paying taxes for 10 years. He also asserted that Republicans are "taking the bait" by responding, suggesting that there is a "big risk" for the GOP in doing so.