[See Update at bottom on how they caught up with reality the next night]
“Analysts on the left and the right are calling President Obama’s second inaugural address the most liberal speech he has delivered in office,” FNC’s Bret Baier announced at the top of Monday’s Special Report. Those on the left and right may, but that didn’t include the reporters on the ABC and CBS evening newscasts who scrupulous avoided applying a liberal description to Obama’s address.
On ABC’s World News, Bill Weir innocuously cited how Obana’s speech delivered “a theme of moving forward together,” before George Stephanopoulos asserted: “What you saw today, is the President gave a meditation on freedom and equality, was a President who also felt free.”
All three broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday night ran short items on the federal corruption indictments against the bumbling former Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, but skipped his party affiliation, a fact Reuters considered newsworthy – if not until their sixth paragraph: “Nagin, 56, and a Democrat...”
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer generously described Nagin as “the face of Hurricane Katrina...then the Mayor of New Orleans fighting for his city.”
All three evening newscasts on Tuesday hyped a report that 2012 was the hottest on record for the United States. NBC actually mislead viewers into thinking the data relates to the entire planet and not just one country. On ABC, Dan Harris blamed the study's results on Congress for failing to take "action" over global warming.
World News reporter Dan Harris lamented, "Many cities had record warmth, including Washington, D.C., where a lack of action on man made climate change is likely to mean 2012 is just a glimpse into an unpleasant future, according to many scientists." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Yet, the New York Timesconceded, "Even so, the last year’s record for the United States is not expected to translate into a global temperature record when figures are released in the coming weeks."
All three network evening newscasts on Monday found time to tout Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's return to work after hospitalization for a blood clot, "clearly enjoying a prank gift" from her staff and being greeted by a "standing ovation."
NBC's Nightly News devoted a full report to the development, with anchor Brian Williams declaring: "...we got our first official look at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton since she emerged from the hospital. It came in the form of some still photos of her first day back at work, a view of her carefully managed by her team after a tough couple of weeks."
World News anchor Diane Sawyer on Thursday highlighted the 20 newly sworn-in women in the U.S. Senate as a way to push a liberal, pro-abortion agenda. Mostly ignoring conservative females, Sawyer stuck to Democratic talking points, lamenting, "So, they say they're ready to tackle big issues like jobs, transportation, immigration, but it's their male counterparts who keep reopening Roe vs. Wade and contraception." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The ABC journalist then featured Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen lecturing that "government doesn't have a place in" dealing with abortion. In an extended rant, Democrat Elizabeth Warren scolded, "I mean, that's the problem is that there were amendments that were introduced to say that women wouldn't have access to health insurance coverage for birth control." During the segment, conservative Kelly Ayotte was only briefly featured (on an unrelated topic). Newly elected Republican Deb Fischer was mentioned, but got no screen time.
Over 13 months ago, the NBC, CBS and ABC newscasts touted Barack Obama as a tough talker who wouldn't back down on threatened spending cuts. Now, that he's backed down, the same networks have ignored the President's retreat. On November 21, 2011, Obama thundered, "My message to [Congress] is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This allowed the then-presidential candidate to portray himself as a budget hawk taking a hard line on sequestration. Nightly News anchor Brian Williams introduced Obama's comments by describing the country as a "nation of addicts, spending addicts kicking the can down the road." According to Williams, the President "pushed back hard." Williams and other journalist didn't question the seriousness of Obama's pledge. On Wednesday, the President signed a deal to avert the fiscal cliff and kept those cuts from going into place.
ABC News had to wait two weeks to get on air Barbara Walters’ interview with the Obamas -- and then the network’s evening newscast decided to focus on her asking Barack and Michelle Obama about their sex life.
“An ABC News exclusive,” fill-in World News anchor David Muir teased, “Barbara Walters at the White House, asking Michelle Obama if she’ll run for office next. And a personal question, too.” Viewers were then treated to a clip of Walters with the Obamas: “How do you keep the fire going?” The two laughed as Mrs. Obama giggled: “That’s a good question!”
Yes, the newscasts were dominated by the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, yet the NBC Nightly News managed to squeeze in 24 seconds to note Scott’s historic appointment.
[UPDATE, 3:10 PM EDT Dec 18: On Tuesday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America spiked the news of Scott’s appointment, yet had time for far more frivolous matters, while CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today squeezed in very short items, though Today’s didn’t air until the third hour of the program.]
ABC News, which previously mocked the loss of 18,000 jobs at Hostess, now has concern for the unemployed, worrying about those who will lose benefits if a deal on the fiscal cliff cannot be found. Reporter Jon Karl on Wednesday's World News fretted, "Without a deal, unemployment compensation will end for more than two million people who've been out of work more than 26 weeks."
Karl highlighted the case of Melinda Vega, worrying about "her $450 a week unemployment check, her lifeline." However, ABC journalists were less concerned about unemployment when it didn't involve possible tax increases. On November 16, 2012, Good Morning America's co-anchors mocked the bankruptcy of Hostess, passing out Twinkies.
The environmental movement had an idea on how to cut down your carbon footprint – live in a little house. This movement, often called the Tiny House Movement or micro living, is not new but had picked up steam recently, and not without some media support. However, the media have consistently left out that this idea of living small and downsizing had been pushed by environmentalists long before journalists decided to report on this “trend.”
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and correspondent Jonathan Karl on Monday night salivated over Republicans breaking Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. “We did see a sign the paralysis may be ending,” Sawyer relayed over “Tax Revolt?” on screen, touting “a Republican mutiny against a man who had convinced them to take a pledge.” She soon trumpeted the “new sign of flexibility.”
As if that’s a bad thing, Jonathan Karl fretted “the pledge is the biggest obstacle to any deal that would raise taxes.” But he saw hope ahead in how “with a budget crisis on the horizon and a re-elected President insisting on tax increases, some Republicans are now thinking the unthinkable: Ditching the pledge.”
Tuesday's CBS Evening News showed a video clip of Hamas terrorists dragging the body of a suspected informant for Israel through the streets of Gaza, and Wednesday's ABC World News showed a photograph of the dragging.
But ABC correspondent Alex Marquardt seemed to provide a bit of cover for Hamas as he inserted commentary suggesting that it is "inevitable" that some "participants" in such a war would resort to such "savagery," as if brutality were normally out of character for the terrorist group. Marquardt: (Video of ABC below)
On Tuesday's World News, ABC correspondent Alex Marquardt again forwarded terrorist propaganda rationalizing the firing of rockets into Israel as he repeated claims -- which he attributed vaguely to "Gazans" -- that the rocket attacks represent Gazans "simply defending themselves." He then repeated without question their contention that "true peace" will not happen "until Israel stops targeting people here in the Gaza Strip, and that blockade of Gaza is lifted."
Two ABC News stars have proven, once again, the media’s obsession with raising taxes over any effort to cut a cent of spending. Two days after the election, anchor Diane Sawyer repeatedly pushed House Speaker John Boehner to move away from a conservative position and agree to President Obama’s wish to hike income tax rates, but on Sunday’s This Week, Martha Raddatz refused to press House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about getting Democrats to shift from their position and accede to any reduced spending.
Instead, she quizzed Pelosi about getting Republicans to accept a tax hike and how to get around such intransigence: “Have you seen any indication that the Republicans are open to raising rates?”
On Thursday's World News on ABC, as correspondent Christiane Amanpour discussed the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Amanpour seemed to presume that Israel created an unreasonable number of civilian casualties during the late 2008/early 2009 war in Gaza, even though the Israeli military concluded that the overwhelming majority of Gaza residents killed were members of the Hamas terrorist group.
After anchor Diane Sawyer asked what the role of the United States would be as an ally of Israel, the ABC correspondent responded:
On Friday's World News on ABC, correspondent Alex Marquardt relayed without question a claim by "one of the militant groups behind" the rocket attacks on Israel that they "wouldn't fire rockets if Israel wasn't killing us," even though almost 700 rockets had already been fired out of Gaza into the Jewish state between January 1 and November 5, well before Israel's recent sustained military campaign began.
Israel was attacked by more than 200 rockets on Nov. 15 by a known terror organization – known by everyone but ABC, CBS and NBC.
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, was declared a “foreign terrorist organization” more than 15 years ago by the United States. But not one rocket attack story on the network morning or evening news shows called the terrorists anything other than “militants.”
In 61 percent of the stories (8 out of 13) in 2012, the three networks wemt to great pains to avoid calling Hamas terrorists. Instead, they were “militants” with “militant Islamic leaders”
The journalists at ABC News on Wednesday and Thursday hyped the President for "coming out swinging" and showing "presidential anger" by defending his United Nations Ambassador, Susan Rice, over Libya. These World News and Good Morning America reporters downplayed the issue of what the Obama White House knew and when.
During the November 14 White House press conference, Fox News' Ed Henry spoke of the families of the four Americans who died during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. He directly pressed, "...[They] have been waiting for more than two months. So I would like for you to address the families, if you can. On 9/11, as Commander-in-Chief, did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Instead of highlighting this angle, World News anchor Diane Sawyer began her program by exclaiming "...[Barack Obama] came out swinging in defense of one member of his team and ABC's Jonathan Karl was right there in that room asking questions."
According to exit polling of the 2012 election, just 5 percent of voters who turned out were gay. Yet voters said their states should legalize same-sex marriage by 49 percent to 46 percent. Indeed, social issues like gay marriage and the media-concocted “war on women” probably gave President Obama his margin of victory.
Consider another figure: According to a May 2011 Gallup poll, most U.S. adults “estimate that 25 percent of Americans are” gay or lesbian. In reality, the number of people who identify themselves that way is just 3.4 percent, according to a Gallup survey released in October 2012. But it’s understandable that so many people might overestimate the number.
Wold News host Diane Sawyer on Thursday grilled John Boehner, pushing the House Speaker to support tax increases in the wake of Barack Obama's victory. In a clip played on Friday's Good Morning America, the anchor lectured, "[Obama] campaigned on it. Sixty percent of the voters have said that they are ready to raise these taxes. They are ready to have the wealthier Americans pitch in here." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reporter Jon Karl reminded that Obama "talked about it in every single campaign speech." In the full interview that aired on World News, Sawyer demanded to know about more taxes: "He campaigned on specific increases in tax rates from 35 percent to 39 percent, for those making more than $250,000. So, is that on the table?...Is it on the table to talk about?"
ABC, CBS and NBC did their part Friday night to minimize the negative impact to the Obama campaign from the rise in the unemployment rate from 7.8 to 7.9 percent in October.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer allocated a piddling 18 seconds to the news as she characterized the 171,000 jobs growth as “beating predictions,” NBC’s Brian Williams stressed how the 171,000 additional jobs number “was better than the experts had expected” and the CBS Evening News focused on one “flourishing” company which has grown this year from 80 to 450 workers.
Presidential elections have been won or lost due to the economy. Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan. This election season is no different as polls, including a recent one from NBC News/Wall Street Journal, continue to show the economy is the top concern of voters.
But the network news media often skew economic coverage in favor of liberal candidates and against conservatives. In September 2012, President Barack Obama continued to face a barrage of poor economic news including a GDP downgrade to 1.3 percent, an unemployment rate still above 8 percent and “record” high gas prices. But media coverage of economic issues from that month did not accurately reflect that turmoil. When President George W. Bush sought re-election in 2004, during the exact same time period, broadcast coverage criticized him on the economy despite a GDP of 3.3 percent, an unemployment rate of just 5.4 percent and gas prices a low $1.82.
ABC’s World News on Thursday continued its week-plus blackout of any of the new revelations about the Obama administration’s dissembling on what occurred before and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks, yet made time to tout Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Obama and for an excerpt of Diane Sawyer’s gauzy “Portrait of a Candidate” interview with Obama from early October.
“Our brand new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows” Obama “with a one-point edge,” Sawyer announced, leading into touting: “He also got a big helpful endorsement today.”
Earlier today, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell accurately noted that the Big Three TV news networks are "as guilty in ... (the Benghazi) cover-up as is the administration." He did so based on the fact that "For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11."
Not that it mitigates the legitimacy of Mr. Bozell's outrage, but one can take some comfort in the fact that fewer people are tuning in to the three nightly news broadcasts than were doing so a year ago, and that their ratings in the 25-54 demographic in the past five weeks are down by almost 20 percent from the same five-week period during the 2008 presidential cycle. A table containing individual results from the past two weeks and the average results from the past five is after the jump (a previous NewsBusters post on the first three weeks is here).
Al Gore is concerned about Mother Nature. In a statement he released on his blog on Oct. 30 2012, he hyped the imminent doom of global warming. “Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come,” the Goricle stated. No big surprise that Gore would immediately link Sandy to global warming. After all, he’s gotten very rich claiming the sky is falling. Unfortunately, Gore wasn’t the only one.
ABC News has mostly ignored the blockbuster revelation that the Obama White House knew, within hours, about the terrorist connection to the September 11, 2012 attack in Libya. Instead, shows such as World News and Good Morning America have focused their attention on more pressing subjects, such as yawning dogs, "mystery monkeys" and a woman who only eats three different foods.
On Wednesday Night, World News allowed a scant 20 seconds to e-mails showing that the strike on the Benghazi embassy was, indeed, a pre-planned assault. Yet, on Thursday, Diane Sawyer devoted a minute and 47 seconds to answering this pressing question: "...We know how contagious yawns can be among people, but have you ever wondered if your dog is yawning because you did?" [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
World News on Wednesday night continued to try and link Mitt Romney to the comments of a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana. Anchor Diane Sawyer began the program by hyping, "The Romney campaign wrestles today with a landmine on a big issue for women."
On Tuesday, Richard Mourdock said that life is a "gift from God" and that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen." Reporter David Muir insisted the words "have caused a firestorm." On Wednesday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos warned that "Romney [is] catching some flak for his ties" to Mourdock.
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.”