In a story which ironically included a soundbite from Republican Congressman Paul Ryan denouncing demagoguery on budget decisions, ABC’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday night sank to employing some of his own by citing a local government’s budget cut from two years ago for a drowning death on Memorial Day and then drawing a line to GOP efforts on the federal level to cut funds from food inspections and bomb detection methods.
Noting a White House meeting with Republicans and President Obama, anchor Diane Sawyer offered a dire warning against reducing any spending anywhere at any time: “Hovering over the meeting in that room, the stories of cuts already made and their consequences.”
ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News on Wednesday night both allocated full stories to Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner and his evolving non-denial denials over the lewd photo sent from his Twitter account, but not the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
Williams instead made the news judgment to skip Weiner and highlight the “PR problem” Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces for taking a state police helicopter to his son’s high school baseball game – and later found 25 more seconds to note the retirement of NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.
The evening newscasts on Thursday night eagerly devoted time to fresh speculation, prompted by Sarah Palin’s upcoming bus trip from Washington, DC to New Hampshire, that she may jump into the presidential race, but they all made sure to point out her high negatives amongst non-Republicans, characterizing her as “divisive” and “polarizing” while raising concern she couldn’t beat President Obama.
“She's a divisive figure,” CBS’s Jan Crawford declared,” citing how “our latest polls show that a majority of Republican voters do view her positively, but, among all voters, only 26 percent do. So that gives Republicans some pause. They want someone that they think can beat President Obama.”
The network evening news programs on Wednesday and morning shows on Thursday skipped covering the suspension of MSNBC host Ed Shultz for trashing Laura Ingraham as a "right-wing slut." Yet, these same networks eagerly jumped all over the story of Don Imus referring to college basketball players as "hos."
On Wednesday, ABC's World News, CBS's Evening News and NBC's Nightly News avoided reporting on this May 24 remark by Schultz: "Like this right-wing slut, what's her name, Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she's a talk slut." (Good Morning America, Today and Early Show did the same.) Later in the day on Wednesday, MSNBC suspended Schultz.
The cause for the end of the world has been imagined by screenwriters to include everything from giant insects and malevolent robots to asteroids the size of Texas. But five year ago in May 2006, Hollywood found a new menace: carbon dioxide. This scenario was different in another respect. It was supposedly true.
The documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" wasn't intended to be the blockbuster end-of-the-world tale that "Armageddon" was, but it was intended to frighten. The new film was full of disaster footage and catastrophic predictions about climate change. Its leading man: former vice president Al Gore.
The apocalyptic warning earned nearly $50 million worldwide and turned Gore into a "movie star," according to the fawning networks. Gore won accolades, including an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize. Reporters and anchors on ABC, CBS and NBC also made a hero of Apocalypse Al, embracing his views and bringing on guests with the same views including one who said Gore had been busy "saving the planet - literally."
Gore received almost entirely uncritical coverage from the network morning and evening shows over global warming, despite plenty of evidence - scientific evidence - that would have discredited him and his film. Since the movie's release, nearly 98 percent of those stories have excluded criticism of the so-called "science" of the film.
ABC’s Diane Sawyer on Monday night presumed everyone lives inside her media bubble obsessed with “global warming” as she set out to blame the Joplin, Missouri tornadoes on it – but not even the CEO of a group dedicated to instilling public fear of “climate change” would go along with Sawyer’s fear-mongering. From Joplin, Sawyer plugged the upcoming segment:
When we come back, what do those experts say? Everyone's saying, is this it, is this global warming? Is this the evidence? Is it in? The answer.
Sawyer set up the subsequent World News story: “Is this it, this is the evidence of a kind of preview of life under global warming?” Reporter Jim Avila, who called the tornadoes “nature’s payback,” cited a thousand tornadoes and “counting so far, compared to 500 in an average year.” He turned to Heidi Cullen of Climate Central who, he relayed, says climate change “can be blamed for a general increase in extreme weather, science cannot specifically point to climate change for this hyper-deadly tornado season.”
On Sunday’s World News, ABC correspondent David Kerley mocked the current field of GOP presidential candidates as making comedians "happy" as he recounted that polls show many Republicans are not satisfied with the choices available so far. After informing viewers of the disappointment for Republicans that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels had chosen not to run, Kerley continued: "Recent polls show that nearly half of Republican voters are not happy with their potential candidates. But comedians are."
Then came a clip of late night talk show host David Letterman: "The Republicans are really scrambling out there, really backs to the wall looking for a guy to lose to Obama."
Kerley then moved on to revelations about Republican candidate Newt Gingrich spending $500,000 on jewelry and comedian Stephen Colbert’s response:
ABC's World News on Tuesday continued to demonstrate the network's lack of interest in whether enhanced interrogation methods such as waterboarding played a part in the killing of Osama bin laden. The Diane Sawyer-anchored program was the only newscast to avoid the topic.
In contrast, Nightly News host Brian Williams interviewed CIA director Leon Panetta, grilling, "Can you confirm that it was as a result of waterboarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after bin Laden?" He hammered the question three times, adding, "...Are you denying that waterboarding was in part among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?"
On the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric made similar points to Panetta: "One of President Obama's first acts was to outlaw enhanced interrogation techniques. Now, some of these were used on detainees who provided information that led to bin Laden's whereabouts. Given that, do you think the use of these techniques should, in fact, be re-evaluated?"
Saturday's World News on ABC highlighted complaints from Democrats about the Medicare reform plan proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan as the Wisconsin Republican seeks to restrain the growth of Medicare spending by having private insurers compete for seniors as customers.
Without delving into the Republican argument in favor of using private insurance, correspondent David Kerley recounted the complaints of angry constituents, showing clips of audience members shouting at Republican members of Congress during town hall meetings. Kerley concluded by passing on Democratic hopes of the Medicare plan being a political "gift" that would hurt Republicans. Kerley: "Democrats believe that Republicans have really handed them a gift with their vote to change Medicare. It's a vote that Democrats are already using in TV ads and fundraising calls as well."
Anchor David Muir then previewed an interview with Congressman Ryan for ABC’s This Week show and brought aboard This Week host Christiane Amanpour, who ended up referring to claimst that the Ryan budget proposal contains "drastic" cuts that other Republicans may need to back away from. After noting that Ryan is committed to the plan regardless of political consequences, Amanpour continued: "And many are now saying that perhaps the Republicans will start running away from the Ryan plan because of the drastic cuts he calls for in Medicare and Medicaid and other such programs."
Like clockwork, an unusual weather event occurs and some shallow journalists immediately leap to speculating about global warming – even accusing humankind of causing the event. On Thursday night, looking at the tornadoes across the South, ABC’s Sam Champion ridiculously claimed “everybody is asking if climate change played a role here.” Brian Williams blamed humans: “What's going on here? Is this something we have done?”
On the NBC Nightly News, Williams prompted Greg Forbes of the Weather Channel:
Let's be candid here. When you and I go home, you see friends and family, you get e-mail from people you know. People ask the same question: What's going on here? Is this something we have done? What has happened to the climate because it seems so much of what we cover is relentless weather-related tragedy?
After Barack Obama bitterly complained that the "birther" issue dominated the news instead of budget matters in recent weeks, ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper on Wednesday exposed an "untruth" by the President online, but skipped the same information while reporting for World News. In his Political Punch blog, Tapper noted the falsity of Obama's claim that the media was aiding and comforting conservative conspiracy theorists.
In a White House speech, Wednesday, the President asserted that the birth certificate became the "dominant news story" during the budget battle, saying that was "true on most of the news outlets that were represented here." Online, Tapper labeled this an "untruth" and "wrong."
Citing a new Pew study, the journalist noted, "The ridiculous claims about the president’s birth certificate actually was the No. 4 story for the week – receiving about one tenth of the coverage devoted to stories about the economy." Yet, on World News, Tapper simply repeated the President's "untruth" without correction.
ABC's Jon Karl on Monday railed against the "obscene" profits of the oil companies and demanded to know what House Speaker John Boehner plans to do about it. World News anchor Diane Sawyer alerted viewers that "the five behemoths of the oil industry" are announcing record profits this week.
Using a highly judgmental word, Karl complained to Boehner, "Is there something obscene about gas company, oil and gas company profits being that high when Americans are struggling just to fill up the tank?"
The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline hit $3.86 on April 25, more than $1-a-gallon higher than a year earlier and less than 25 cents away from the record high price of gasoline set in July 2008.
In fact, per gallon prices are more than $2 higher than when Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. Yet the president has been nearly exempt from criticism on the issue of rising prices, despite a six-month drilling moratorium and more regulatory hurdles for industry.
The Business & Media Institute found that out of the 280 oil price stories the network evening shows have aired since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, only 1 percent (3 stories) mentioned Obama’s drilling ban or other anti-oil actions in connection with gasoline prices.
Potential presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose controversial stance on President Obama's birth certificate has made waves in the mainstream media during the past weeks, for one reason or another, has avoided interviews on CBS's morning and evening news programs so far in 2011. In fact, Trump hasn't done an interview on either The Early Show or CBS Evening News in over two years.
On April 20, 2010, a horrific oil spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico on British Petroleum's (BP) Deepwater Horizon rig. Since that day, gas prices have risen nearly $1-a-gallon to $3.83 per gallon. President Barack Obama's anti-oil policies, including a drilling moratorium are at least part of the reason for that dramatic spike. But you will rarely hear that from the mainstream media.
It certainly isn't the story the network evening news shows have told their viewers since the oil spill. Out of 280 oil price stories since the disastrous pill, just 1 percent (3 out of 280) mentioned any connection between Obama's anti-oil efforts, such as the drilling moratorium, and rapidly rising gas prices.
Easter is the quintessential Christian holiday - the celebration of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. Although it has been celebrated by billions of people around the world for nearly 2,000 years, the mainstream media would rather celebrate the liberal holiday known as "Earth Day" and connect Easter to the abuse scandal that surrounded the Roman Catholic Church. Some major Findings:
A round-up from over the weekend of journalists denouncing Republican Congressman Paul Ryan for not including a big tax hike in his deficit-reduction plan and discrediting the Tea Party’s pressure on House Speaker John Boehner as a “far right” impediment to good government.
“He doesn't deal with the revenue side at all,” despaired Newsweek veteran Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, arguing: “We cannot survive on 18, his goal is to do 18 percent of GDP as revenue. That's not enough. We're going to have to raise some taxes...”
On HBO’sReal Time with Bill Maher on Friday night, Katty Kay, anchor of BBC’s World News America, echoed, “He does nothing on the revenue side,” fretting: “There is this allergy, amongst Republicans, about saying ‘you know what, we actually do have to deal with taxes too.’”
Juan Williams charged “the rich get off like scoundrels,” complaining onFox News Sunday that Ryan is “not doing anything in terms of raising taxes.” Williams also worried: “John Boehner now has the Tea Party wrapped around his neck like an albatross.”
Instead of being embarrassed by how their story generated a talking point for the President to use in a partisan political battle, ABC on Thursday night boasted of how President Obama cited Jake Tapper’s coverage to boost his argument. Anchor Diane Sawyer touted how “the President, last night, well, he noticed what Jake was saying.” Tapper recalled: “Last night on World News, we told you the story of Louisville, Kentucky's. J.T. Henderson, his wife and their adopted son, worried about not receiving the family's desperately needed tax refund because of the possible shutdown....And at least one negotiator was watching.”
That was Obama, who during comments in the White House briefing room on Wednesday night, cited the man Tapper featured a few hours earlier, the father of an adopted four-year-old from Ethiopia. Obama announced: “J.T. said if he could speak directly to all of us in Washington, he'd tell us that all of this political grandstanding has effects as it trickles down to normal, everyday Americans. There is no reason why we should not be able to complete a deal, unless we've made a decision that politics is more important than folks like J.T. Henderson.”
Tapper added: “Today, Henderson told us he appreciated the President hearing his concerns.”
As a potential government shutdown looms the liberal media are filling their programs with stories about dire consequences of deep cuts that will lead to troops not getting paid, closed national parks, and late tax refunds. However, a review of MRC's coverage of the 1995 budget fight reveals the media are simply rerunning their tired old arguments from the last shutdown.
On this Wednesday's edition of ABC's Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl tallied the services that could be at risk this time around, as he warned: "If they don't reach a deal and get it passed by then, American troops, including those on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, may not get their paychecks. And smack in the middle of tax season, that refund you've been counting on, well, you may have to wait." Karl went on to alert travelers that: "Treasures like Old Faithful and Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Yosemite's half dome, will be closed to visitors. And if you don't already have a passport, don't even think about leaving the country. Last time the government shut down, 200,000 passport applications were stopped in their tracks."
However Karl and others, as quotes from 1995 show, are simply dusting off the old media playbook to blame Republicans, not Democrats, for a shutdown, as they focus on high profile federal projects like national parks in an attempt to frighten the American people into opposing prudent fiscal decision-making.
An ABC report that preemptively identified possible victims of a government shutdown was so close to White House spin that Barack Obama touted it at a news conference, Wednesday. The President focused on J.T. Henderson, an American whose tax refund could be delayed, a story first highlighted on ABC, April 6.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Thursday proudly recounted, "President Obama saw Henderson's story on World News With Diane Sawyer and singled him out last night." An ABC graphic trumpeted, "Obama Singles Out Father: Kentucky man Counting on Refund." The President on Wednesday night quoted from Henderson on World News.
The original World News segment by Jake Tapper shamelessly featured sixth graders who have a field trip to Washington planned. One young girl lamented, "The government is mean." Karl also included this manipulative footage in his GMA report.
It used to be a cliche that a threatened federal shutdown would send liberals and journalists scurrying to show people harmed by highlighting a closed Washington Monument and disappointed tourists – a cliche ABC’s Jake Tapper turned into a reality Wednesday night. He, however, shamelessly went even further, invoking not only how “landmarks will close” – citing the Washington Monument, the Liberty Bell and the National Zoo – but also “medical research and hope for desperate patients,” including “children with cancer.”
After illustrating the implication of closed landmarks with video of upset 6th graders from rural Massachusetts, one of whom proclaimed “the government is mean,” Tapper wasn’t done with his parade of victims supposedly to be hurt by a shutdown, which hasn’t yet happened and could last just a matter of days, as he found a 4-year-old refugee from Ethiopia to exploit. Really. Warning that “for those who sent in their taxes by mail, tax refunds may not arrive,” Tapper relayed:
In Louisville Kentucky, J.T. Henderson and his wife had to file their taxes by mail so they could receive the adoption refund after 4-year-old Teddy, from Ethiopia, joined their family last summer.
Over two programs totaling two and half hours of air time, ABC allowed only 65 seconds of coverage for Barack Obama's decision to break a campaign promise and try 9/11 terror suspects at Guantanamo and not in a civilian court. In contrast, all the other network evening shows on Monday and morning shows on Tuesday provided full reports.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America on ABC, Juju Chang mildly explained in a news read, "Well, we begin with a legal turnaround for the Obama administration." On Monday's World News, Diane Sawyer delicately described it as a "switch in positions." Reporter Jake Tapper noted the President has "blinked" in the face of criticism and pointed out this was a breaking of a campaign promise. (This brief mention came during a larger story about the 2012 campaign.)
In contrast, CBS's Katie Couric actually provided much stronger language. She began by asserting, "In other news, a lot of people thought it was a terrible idea to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men on trial here in New York City for the 9/11 attacks." Reporter Bob Orr, unlike Chang, labeled it a "stunning reversal" to try suspects at Guantanamo.
The latest presidential approval poll shows Barack Obama's ratings at his lowest point of his tenure: 42 percent. But the three major broadcast networks took no notice whatsoever on their Wednesday evening newscasts.
Neither CBS, NBC, nor ABC reported the Quinnipiac poll results on their respective evening news broadcasts. The results, released Wednesday, recorded 42 percent of respondents approving of the job President Obama is doing, and 48 percent disapproving.
As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad defiantly refused to implement democratic reforms and his security forces fired on protesters on Wednesday, the networks continued to ignore Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Sunday comments labeling the dictator as a "reformer."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News fill-in anchor Erica Hill read a news brief on the latest crackdown by the Syrian government: "There's more turmoil in Syria today after a hard-line speech by President Bashar al-Assad. Instead of announcing reforms, as expected, Assad blamed recent protests on a foreign conspiracy....In the port city of Latakia, witnesses say Syrian troops opened fire during an anti-government protest." Despite Clinton having made her gaffe on CBS's Face the Nation, Hill did not mention it.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer was caught on tape Tuesday instructing his Democratic colleagues on how to spin the media with regard to “extreme” Republicans and their budget cuts. "I always use extreme...That is what the caucus instructed me to use,” Schumer blurted.
The liberal senator was apparently unaware his comments were being recorded (The remarks were made moments before a conference call with reporters began.) Tuesday’s nightly newscasts on NBC, ABC and CBS all skipped the story. On Wednesday, Good Morning America, Today and Early Show did the same.
The broadcast evening news anchors all got ten minutes with President Barack Obama on Tuesday afternoon in New York City to press him about contradictions in his Libya policy, ceding authority for foreign entities and how he’s a hypocrite after his criticism of President Bush for unilateral actions and not getting congressional approval, but instead they simply prodded him to provide arms to the rebels and pushed him to take action in Syria.
But ABC’s Diane Sawyer stood out for her obsequiousness as the Kentucky native ended by giddily bringing up the college basketball tournament: “How much do you think Kentucky will win by?” Before that, she cued him up to agree he’s as burdened as Abraham Lincoln:
What about the famous quote from another beleaguered President, Abraham Lincoln, who said he had been driven many times to his knees because his own wisdom and that around him “was insufficient for the day”?
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer on Tuesday interviewed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for World News and Nightline, but offered no questions about the Obama administration's failure to seek congressional approval for air strikes in Libya. Instead, the journalist seemed fascinated by the decision-making process, repeatedly asking about Clinton's "decisive" role in going ahead with the bombing.
Sawyer quizzed, "We have read, repeatedly, that you were decisive in this. Did you persuade President Obama? Was yours the voice that turned around the opponents?" The intrigued World News anchor followed-up by asking if Secretary of Defense Robert Gates "opposed" her.
A vague Clinton prompted Sawyer to press, "So, you're not going to characterize yourself in the hierarchy?" Two parts of the interview aired on World News. A replay aired on Nightline. In all of this, Sawyer never wondered about Obama bypassing Congress. This was a topic journalists were keenly interested when it related to George W. Bush and Iraq.
The Obama administration launched its air war against Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya after a vote of the UN Security Council, but without any congressional authorization — and apparently not even very much consultation with congressional leaders. A review of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from Friday night through Monday night finds virtually no network interest in Obama’s bypassing of Congress — an attitude in stark contrast to their approach to the Bush administration during the run-up to the Iraq war in late 2002. (Video montage below jump.)
With Libya, only the NBC Nightly News has even mentioned the controversy over the Obama administration’s decision to cut Congress out of the decision-making. On the March 20 Nightly News, White House correspondent Chuck Todd offered one sentence taking note of John Boehner’s objections in a laundry list of other congressional complaints:
Diane Sawyer allocated all but 1:37 of World News to Japan on Wednesday night, committing 33 seconds of that limited time to touting President Obama’s NCAA basketball picks provided to ABC corporate cousin ESPN.
“Despite all the troubles around the world” Sawyer rationalized – as if there’s much evidence Obama, who’s hardly been engaged in the Libyan or Japanese situations and who went golfing last weekend, is devoting much time to any of it – “the President kept his annual appointment to fill out his bracket for college basketball's March Madness. The basketball Fan-in-Chief got together with our sister network ESPN's Andy Katz.”
Following a clip of Obama revealing a couple of his selections, Sawyer trumpeted: “You heard it here first. The President is going with Kansas!” Then, with “BARACK-ETOLOGY” at the top of the screen above ESPN graphics, Sawyer plugged: “And you can see all of his picks on ESPN’s Sports Center and at ESPN.com.”