All three network evening newscasts on Monday downplayed the start of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings, with NBC Nightly News squeezing in just 24 seconds for Kagan at the tail end of a story about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor the 2nd Amendment. For their part, CBS and ABC offered full stories outlining Kagan’s first day before the Judiciary committee after packages devoted to the gun rights’ ruling.
Only CBS’s Jan Crawford suggested the hearings were more than a ritual leading to Kagan’s inevitable confirmation: “When President Obama nominated her in May, her confirmation was considered a sure bet. But Republicans are emboldened by what they see as a weakened president and sense that support for Kagan in the country has dropped.”
Both Crawford and ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl included Republican criticisms of Kagan’s lack of experience and the hostility to the military she displayed at the Harvard Law School. As for NBC, they mentioned none of those issues, and only included a brief soundbite of Kagan promising to be “impartial.”
Here’s the entirety of NBC’s brief discussion of Monday’s hearing:
The networks Monday night skipped lightly over the late Senator Robert Byrd's segregationist and racist record, devoting as much time to the Democrat's fiddle-playing prowess as his years in the Ku Klux Klan, which CBS's Chip Reid excused as “an effort to help his political career.”
Leading into file video of Byrd playing his fiddle, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer declared “Byrd was a powerhouse and old-fashioned crowd-pleaser on the stump, whipping out his fiddle.” Though Byrd is the only Senator to have voted against both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, Cokie Roberts asserted that “as the country changed, Robert Byrd changed with it. He readily endorsed Barack Obama for President.”
After touting how by “writing several volumes of Senate history” Byrd had followed in Caesar's “footsteps,” she concluded: “Like the Constitution and the bible, Robert Byrd will be a permanent fixture of the Senate.”
Based on the view of a single economist, ABC portrayed the agreement by world powers, at the G-20 summit in Toronto, to pursue fiscal sanity over the accelerated government spending urged by President Barack Obama, as a threat the well-being of the American people. “President Obama lost an argument today with other world leaders, and some economists say that could plunge the world into a second recession,” Dan Harris intoned at the top of Sunday’s World News.
From Toronto, reporter David Kerley agreed: “The President lost the argument and there could be serious consequences. Some economists are saying what was decided in Toronto today could actually lead to a double-dip recession.” A dire Kerley elaborated: “The worry is that by turning off the stimulus spigot the fragile economic recovery could disappear and turn into a double-dip recession.”
ABC’s “some economists” turned out to be a single one, Professor Peter Morici of the University of Maryland, who ominously warned: “It will be very difficult to recover from that. Then we start to get into depression-like conditions.”
When President Obama picked Elena Kagan to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the broadcast networks referred to the upcoming Senate confirmation process as “contentious” a “meat grinder” and a “battle,” warning Kagan was “in for a fight.”
But a Media Research Center analysis of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts in the six weeks since Kagan was nominated shows the broadcast networks have failed to cover the “fight,” and have ignored most of the controversies that could lead to suspenseful hearings next week.
MRC analysts found that the broadcast network evening newscasts aired just eleven stories about Kagan since her May 10 nomination (six on CBS, three on ABC and two on NBC), plus another three brief items read by the anchor. All but one of those stories appeared during the first week after Kagan’s selection; only the CBS Evening News, in a June 3 report, has bothered to cover any of the thousands of pages of Kagan documents released in recent weeks.
ABC, CBS and NBC all led Tuesday night with multiple stories on the “firestorm” over disrespectful coments by General Stanley McChrystal and his aides about President Obama and other administration officials, but ABC's Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos particularly despaired over the position in which McChrystal has put Obama.
Sawyer fretted that Obama “now faces a mind-boggling choice,” before Stephanopoulos kvetched “the President has really been put in a real political box” and “a very painful political position,” forcing him to choose between “looking thin-skinned and petulant” or “looking weak.”
CBS's Katie Couric didn't go that far, but she was disturbed by the burden on Obama: “This controversy is about the last thing the President needed on his plate as he deals with two wars overseas and another against an invasion of oil off the gulf coast.”
Network anchors can’t resist misconstruing Arizona’s upcoming immigration enforcement law. The latest instances came Friday night when ABC and NBC caught up with news that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an interviewer in Ecuador that the Obama administration will sue to block the law.
Diane Sawyer erroneously described the anti-illegal immigration measure as “Arizona's controversial new anti-immigration law” while Lester Holt, filling in on the NBC Nightly News, characterized the law as “harsh,” relaying:
There's been a stir this week over something Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Ecuador earlier this month. She suggested the federal government would sue Arizona over its harsh new immigration law designed to identify and deport people here illegally.
The day after President Obama’s oil spill speech — in which the President pivoted from the ongoing mess in the Gulf of Mexico to his call for ending our “addiction” to fossil fuels — ABC’s World News obliged the White House’s agenda with a profile of solar cell manufacturer Natcore, whose president, Chuck Provini, says he can cut the costs of solar cells (which are right now too expensive to be economically viable without government subsidies).
But the problem, as ABC correspondent Dan Harris helped frame it, is that this entrepreneur was getting nothing but “blank stares” from the “congressional staffers, lawyers and lobbyists” he met with in Washington, D.C. — as if a venture capitalists and other private investors wouldn’t be tripping over themselves to get in on the ground floor of a process that could actually make solar power viable.
And the hero of the story, as ABC told it, is China’s dictatorship, which has made a deal with the company and will now gain the “hundreds of jobs” that U.S. officials have supposedly squandered by not bankrolling Provini:
The network morning and evening news shows have all but ignored President Obama's Saturday letter to congressional leaders asking for $50 billion in additional spending to prevent the "massive layoffs of teachers, police, and firefighters." Only Sunday's Good Morning America on ABC has covered the President's request so far.
The chief executive's June 12 letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader John Boehner urged "swift action" on the multi-billion dollar proposal to prevent the public sector layoffs and "give our nation's businesses added impetus to hire and grow."
ABC anchor Bill Weir brought up the President's letter with White House correspondent Jake Tapper 13 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour of Sunday's Good Morning America:
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer greeted Meg Whitman’s victory in California’s Republican gubernatorial primary by putting forward Democrat Jerry Brown as the savior protecting the nation against Whitman becoming Governor. “Jerry Brown told us today, he wants the country to know that he sees this as an epic duel in California between the politics of ideas and the power of money,” Sawyer warned from Los Angeles in setting up an interview with Brown aired on Wednesday’s World News. Sawyer later relayed how Brown “believes the soul of California is at stake.”
Condemning Whitman’s spending on ads, Brown charged “it's almost like a ministry of information in a totalitarian country,” before he offered up pablum, unchallenged by Sawyer, about how he’ll solve the Golden State’s $20 billion shortfall by telling “legislators you have to get did of your cars, get rid of your perks.”
Sawyer fondly recalled: “For 40 years we watched him – the son of a political family who studied to be a Jesuit priest, then turned Buddhist seeker. When he became governor, he lived in one room, bed on the floor, and rode around in his own Plymouth.” Now, “he says it's a singular time for a man who believes the soul of California is at stake. He remembers studying Buddhism in Japan.” Brown got the last word in ABC’s infomercial for him: “‘Life and death is a serious matter. Time waits for no man. Do your best.’ And that, I think, could be the spirit of this campaign.”
On Tuesday’s World News, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos touted how “we've got a new poll out tonight that shows the Tea Party may be losing steam nationwide” as its unfavorable rating has “gone up eleven points in the last couple of months to 50 percent. Their favorable rating has gone down.”
Stephanopoulos and ABC, however, didn’t find time, in multiple stories on the oil leak, to inform viewers how the same ABC News/Washington Post survey, released Tuesday morning, found that by 49 to 44 percent the public disapproves of President Obama's handling of the disaster. In addition, “the number of Americans who think the President ‘understands the problems of people like you,’ at 51 percent, is down from 56 percent in a Washington Post poll in late March; and at 57 percent his rating as a strong leader is down from 65 percent in March.” (PDF of poll results)
The three evening news shows on Monday treated the announcement of Helen Thomas' retirement as an occasion to gush over the "bona fide icon" and "trailblazer." At the same time, CBS's Evening News, NBC's Nightly News and ABC's World News didn't find much time for outrage over Thomas' attacks on Jews and Israel.
Instead, NBC's Andrea Mitchell played a clip of Thomas ranting to President Bush in a White House Press briefing: "Are you going to get out of Afghanistan? Why are we continuing to kill and die there?" According to Mitchell, this was Thomas simply being "outspoken."
On CBS, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson labeled these sort of comments "confrontational." It was Thomas' suggestion, caught on video, that Jews should "go home" to Poland and "get the hell out of Palestine" that "many" thought "crossed the line from feisty to offensive." She then played a clip of the remarks.
ABC's Dan Harris was the most effusive, lauding, " She is a bona fide icon and she is also nearly 90-years-old." [Audio available here.]
ABC News found a picture they couldn’t resist showcasing, no matter how much it exaggerates the dangers from the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. To say nothing of how this is just the kind of fear-mongering media coverage which infuriates businesses along the coast trying to allay tourist fears.
Both Good Morning America and World News on Sunday showed and zoomed in on this photo. World News anchor Dan Harris treated donning a gas mask as a reasonable thing to do:
On the beaches along the gulf, it has come to this this weekend. Check out this picture from Gulf Shores, Alabama. Sonya Daniel, of Birmingham, Alabama, sun-bathing in a gas mask.
The American lawyers who flock to Guantanamo Bay to represent captured terrorists are simply fulfilling their duty to provide representation, it is often argued by those who seem to enjoy mucking up efforts to curtail future terrorism. But once representing the American beverage giant Coca Cola makes Attorney General Eric Holder a “corporatist” who’s going to “do the Devil’s work” and only “pretend” to go tough on BP after the oil spill, lefty talk radio host Mike Malloy (a onetime CNN news writer) argued Wednesday night. (Audio here.)
I guess you know this by now, the, uh, Justice Department under Eric Holder who defended, uh, was it Coca-Cola, against murder charges in, uh, South America? Good old Eric Holder, another corporatist, who, uh, is going to do the Devil’s work now and pretend that he is conducting a criminal investigation into the events that led to the oil gush?
For their part, the big three network evening newscasts reported Holder’s announcement of a “criminal investigation” against BP during their Tuesday night broadcasts, but only CBS’s Chip Reid struck what could be called a skeptical note about the Obama administration’s motives in publicly touting the investigation after a week of criticism about the federal government’s less-than-effective handling of the matter.
Three months after the networks, led by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, derided Senator Jim Bunning for daring to hold up an “emergency” spending bill which circumvented the “pay as you go” rules, as Karl made a fool of himself chasing the elderly Senator into elevators to cajole him to give in, on Monday’s World News Karl had the chutzpah to scold Congress for approving “emergency” spending which doesn’t have to follow those very same “pay-go” rules.
“Congress is on its holiday break this week,” fill-in anchor George Stephanopoulos announced, “but there is no break in the steady increase in the national debt, now up to an astounding $13 trillion.” Stephanopoulos promised that in “watching out for your money, Jonathan Karl found some of the culprits” – though neither cited the news media’s role in incessantly pushing for more spending.
Without displaying any self-awareness of his own hypocrisy, Karl listed some of “the ‘emergency’ bills Congress has taken up over the past few months,” including “$20 billion for highway construction.” Yet back in early March, Karl fretted: “Bunning is also blocking money for highway construction. So across the country today, 41 construction projects ground to a halt, thousands of workers furloughed without pay.”
According to the geniuses at ABC News, the flotilla incident between Israel and pro-Hamas activists Monday endangers American troops stationed in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of what had been a relatively well-balanced "World News" report concerning what happened off of the coast of Gaza early Monday morning, ABC's Jim Sciutto apprised viewers of the angry reaction to the event by Muslims in the region.
"While the facts remain in dispute, demonstrations extended across the Muslim world to Muslim communities in Europe," began Sciutto.
"A public outpouring like this one poses a danger for America's relations with the Muslim world as well," he continued.
"The popular perception of America has real consequences for American soldiers undermining already weak support for U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday evening, ABC’s World News and the NBC Nightly News both marked the passing of retired Navy Lieutenant John Finn, who was the oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor, which he earned defending America during the attack on Pearl Harbor. While ABC’s George Stephanopoulos read a short item on Lieutenant Finn, NBC’s Brian Williams devoted an full report to his heroism.
On the May 27 World News, substitute anchor Stephanopoulos informed viewers: "You might not know his name, but an American hero died today. Retired Navy Lieutenant John Finn was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, and the first from that war to receive it. On December 7, 1941, as kamikazes zeroed in on Pearl Harbor, Finn manned a machine gun, firing on Japanese planes even after he was gravely wounded. Lieutenant Finn was 100."
On the NBC Nightly News, Williams recounted the story of Finn’s persistence in fighting the enemy even while seriously wounded: "Chief Petty Officer John Finn ran through smoke and fire and commandeered a .50 caliber machine gun. He took aim at the planes overhead and started firing. ... Waves of Japanese planes were flying overhead, and yet he stood there and kept firing for two hours. ... John was hit by shrapnel 21 times. He was shot through one foot. His left arm was numb, and yet he stayed in the fight."
Another pro-illegal alien protest and, once again, the networks champion the cause. Four weeks after the broadcast network evening shows trumpeted May Day marches against Arizona’s effort to enforce federal law, another round of marches prompted ABC and NBC on Saturday night to push the left-wing cause.
“Day of outrage, anger on the streets of Phoenix and across this country tonight,” ABC anchor David Muir declared, pleading: “Will an army of protesters be heard?” Reporter Jeremy Hubbard began his story for World News: “In their most massive numbers yet, a deluge of adversaries rally and rail against what could soon be the law of the land in Arizona.”
On NBC, Telemundo’s Janet Rodriguez also presented the subject through the prism of those against the popular law: “Critics say the law unfairly targets Hispanics who make up about a third of the state's population. Recent college grad Martin Moreno worries about racial profiling” while another protester claimed “this law violates our fundamental principles of human dignity,” before Rodriguez featured a woman holding a sign from ANSWER LA, the far-left/communist-affiliated group. Rodriguez, however, described her simply as “from Long Beach.” The woman smeared as “racists” the majority of Americans who support the law.
The White House press corps just loved President Obama's press conference anecdote meant to prove the pressure he's under and responsibility he's taking (“When I woke up this morning, and I'm shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says: 'Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?'”). The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all showcased the clip, with fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos incorporating it into his lead:
Good evening. The buck stops with him. President Obama acknowledged today that the worst oil spill in American history is his crisis by quoting his daughter.
Earlier in the day, wrapping up ABC's live coverage of the afternoon session, Stephanopoulos was “struck” by the soundbite: “Pretty clear what the President was trying to convey today, Jake [Tapper]. He is in charge. I was struck in that final answer he even brought Malia back into this.”
Back to Thursday night, CBS's Chip Reid began his report by playing the bite, setting it up: “Well, Harry [Smith], if there's one thing the President made clear today it's that pressure to plug that hole is coming from everywhere.” Over on NBC, Chuck Todd introduced the video: “As if realizing he had not yet driven home the message that he came to the East Room to make, the President at the very end made it personal.”
For more than a month, the American Gulf Coast has been threatened by a gigantic oil spill, caused by the April 21 explosion of a British Petroleum deepwater rig. Yet unlike five years ago — when the media were quick to put the onus on the Bush administration for its handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — for four weeks, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to scrutinize the administration’s ineffectual response to this disaster, now blasted even by such Democratic stalwarts as ex-Clinton operative James Carville.
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, Carville accused the President of “political stupidity” for not making the oil spill a top priority. “It just looks like he’s not involved in this! Man, you have got to get down here and take control of this! Put somebody in charge of this and get this thing moving! We’re about to die down here!” Carville specifically faulted Obama for not deploying sufficient federal resources to protect the valuable marshes in southern Louisiana.
We've all sort of known the media have been in the tank for the global warming alarmist movement. For evidence, look no further than a March 2008 segment that aired on ABC "World News" attacking leading climate skeptic, University of Virginia environmental scientist Professor Emeritus Fred Singer.
And the same culprit behind that 2008 segment, "World News" weekend anchor Dan Harris, was at it again with a piece that aired on May 23 attempting to link climate change skeptics to white supremacists.
But for balance, Harris included a few brief remarks, all of 10 seconds, from Marc Morano of ClimateDepot.com, a news aggregator website Harris called "aggressive." But the actual interview Harris conducted with Morano was much more extensive and in depth. Throughout the interview, Harris asked Morano questions, but with premises that weren't necessarily true.
At first, Michael Mann, a Penn State professor and a central figure in the Climategate scandal, but best known for his discredited "hockey stick graph" didn't like being mocked in a YouTube video. Now Mann is alleging he's a victim of hate groups.
On ABC's May 23 "World News Sunday," a segment from anchor Dan Harris alleged that threatening e-mails Mann received were part of a "spike" in violence aimed at the global warming alarmist community.
"The ongoing oil spill crisis in the Gulf is keeping the debate over climate and energy very much in the headlines and that debate is becoming increasingly venomous with many prominent scientists now saying that they are being severely harassed," Harris said.
ABC and NBC rushed to get stories onto the air Friday night delivering left-wing talking points against the new social studies curriculum guidelines passed by the Texas State Board of Education, as both portrayed conservative Christians as the enemies of accurate history. Reality wasn’t good enough for ABC, which framed its lead story around “Rewriting History?” and saw no liberals in the “big controversy,” yet also tried to discredit the conservatives by highlighting “some of the things the conservatives tried and failed to do.”
ABC’s Dan Harris fretted “the new standards require that textbooks mention pillars of the conservative movement, like the Moral Majority the National Rifle Association, and the Contract with America with no liberal counter balance.” Harris, acting as more of a prosecutor than a journalist, then ran archived clips of him demanding from board chairman Don McLeroy:
- What do you say to people who say that you are, in essence, imposing your political and religious views on school children?
- If the Founding Fathers really wanted this to be a Christian nation, why is there no mention of Christianity or Jesus in the Constitution?
Instead of citing any other examples of awful new guidelines, Harris went to ones not added: “Here are some of the things the conservatives tried and failed to do: Have the President called by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, which some called an attempt to raise questions about his faith, and even rename the slave trade as the Atlantic Triangular Trade.”
With “Sharp Words” forming the on-screen graphic, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer on Thursday night championed the domestic gun control argument espoused by a foreign leader trying to shift the blame for his nation's criminal activity, a remark neither CBS nor NBC found newsworthy:
Mexico's President Felipe Calderon today challenged a joint session of Congress on gun control, asking that they reinstate a ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004, saying 80 percent of the traceable weapons used in those crimes in Mexico, right across the border, come from the U.S.
Viewers then heard from Calderon: “I admire the American Constitution, but many of these guns are not going to honest American hands. Instead, thousands are ending up in the hands of criminals.”
All three broadcast evening newscasts have repeatedly touted, as if it is a valid representation of national sentiment, the “boycott” of Arizona by liberal municipalities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. But when the Arizona Corporation Commissioner on Tuesday made a tongue-in-cheek offer to help Los Angeles out in its boycott by shutting off the electricity flow, CBS and NBC were silent.
The only network to mention the proposal to test the depths of the city’s commitment to liberal sanctimony was ABC, MRC intern Matthew Hadro discovered. White House correspondent Jake Tapper first noted how President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon both criticized Arizona’s new immigration law at the White House, then reported:
JAKE TAPPER: The debate is intense. The Los Angeles City Council voted last month to boycott all official business in Arizona, prompting an Arizona utilities commissioner to all but threaten to cut off the electricity Arizona power plants provide L.A. GARY PIERCE, ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSIONER: You can’t call a boycott on the candy store, and then decide to go in and pick and choose candy you really do want.
Since Obama took office, there's been a leftward swing toward increased regulation. The news media have supported that tilt, generally failing to demand explanations for high profile failures of government regulators.
From the financial crisis to the Gulf oil spill, a recent string of problems exposed serious failures of government regulators that are supposed to protect the public. But broadcast news media rarely criticized the poor performance of government in such cases.
Take the worsening oil spill off the Gulf Coast that has been called an "environmental catastrophe." The network evening shows have aired a flood of news reports attacking British Petroleum, on the progress of the clean up and speculating about how much wildlife and economic damage could result.
But some of the blame appears to rest on the shoulders of the federal government - something the evening shows didn't acknowledge until more than three weeks after the drilling rig exploded on April 21. In fact, it wasn't until after Obama spoke out against the federal agency on May 14 that any of the evening shows criticized government regulators.
ABC, CBS and NBC all showcased a second grader's question to First Lady Michelle Obama, about her apparently illegal mother. The girl pleaded: “Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn't have papers,” but “my mom doesn't have papers.”
ABC suggested it demonstrates the need for immigration “reform” as anchor Diane Sawyer proposed “a child's fear brings a new focus to the debate” since “the First Lady had to respond to a child's poignant question” which, reporter Jake Tapper relayed, “immigration reform advocates called...the most meaningful exchange of the day.” [Audio available here]
With “THE QUESTION” on screen (jpg), NBC anchor Brian Williams teased: “The question that a little girl asked Michelle Obama that put her smack in the middle of a big debate.” On the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric cued up the video showing “a second-grader had a tough question for Mrs. Obama on immigration.”
After ABC's Jonathan Karl painted Senator Arlen Specter's (D-R-D-PA) troubles as emblematic of how “the national anti-incumbent wave has hit Pennsylvania” (complete with a matching full screen graphic), George Stephanopoulos fretted on World News about how voters say “they want the parties to work together, yet they seem to be most against now the Senators, the incumbents, who did work across party lines.”
He cited the single incumbent who has lost – “Bob Bennett in Utah worked with a Democrat on health care” – then raised Specter, touting how “he's been in both parties,” as if that's something noble, before naming “Blanche Lincoln, down in Arkansas, a centrist Democrat. She's in a lot of trouble tonight.” Here's a possibility: Those upset by pro-big government politicians and insider coziness bailing out their donors are out voting and are not the same people who incessantly yap about “bi-partisanship.”
ABC stumbled into that as anchor Diane Sawyer marveled: “And the driving center of this, is the bailout?” Stephanopoulos confirmed: “The biggest issue by far is the bailouts. That's what's fueling so much voter anger out there.”
The night after two major national polls confirmed overwhelming majorities support Arizona's impending immigration enforcement statute (59 percent per Pew and 64 percent per NBC/WSJ), CBS and ABC promoted the cause of activists in the minority. Both devoted full stories to the “uproar” and “emotional civil war” over the law and moves by a few liberal local government bodies to enact boycotts, only getting late in their stories to those who like the law.
The Thursday night stories were pegged to a boycott vote by the Democratic city council of Los Angeles, but CBS's Bill Whitaker and ABC's Barbara Pinto both also played a three-day old clip of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger mocking Arizona and pointed to the cancellation of a trip to Arizona by a suburban Chicago high school's girls basketball team – not to deride adults for using teens to grind a political axe, but to illustrate the supposed depth of opposition to Arizona's law.
“The boycott of Arizona is spreading,” Katie Couric trumpeted before Whitaker touted: “The city of Los Angeles, the latest to react strongly to Arizona's tough new anti-illegal immigration law.” He pushed how “a growing number of states and municipalities are boycotting or considering boycotting Arizona,” citing how “Highland Park High School in Chicago's suburbs is pulling its champion girls' basketball team from a tournament in Arizona because of the law.”
As the MRC’s Tim Graham documented yesterday, ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have so far refused to tag Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a “liberal,” with CBS’s Jan Crawford offering the sole ideological label of the nominee on Monday's Evening News: “Her career has put her solidly on the left.”
In contrast, all three networks made a major deal out of the last person nominated by a Republican President for a slot on the Court, Justice Samuel Alito. Out of the first 21 stories on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows after Justice Alito’s selection, correspondents conveyed ten explicit “conservative” labels during the first 36 hours of coverage. In contrast, Graham documented just one “liberal” label in 14 Kagan stories during the equivalent time period after her selection.
In Alito’s case, the networks began trumpeting ideology from the moment he was picked. Anchor Charles Gibson opened ABC’s Special Report announcing Alito’s nomination: “He is very conservative. This is a liberal appellate court, but he is the most conservative member on it....The President has picked someone very conservative, but a very accomplished jurist as well.”
Five weeks ago (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Big Three Networks' combined evening news audiences dropped to below 20 million -- an audience about 5% less than what Matt Drudge in the summer of 2006 headlined as “TV’s Lowest Week.”
Three weeks ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), their combined audience came in at 19.61 million, down over 12% from the previous year.
For the week of May 3, the combined total fell further, to the point where they're one more really bad week away from hitting an all-time low -- a low that was "achieved" in mid-June of last year (Source -- Media Bistro, week of May 3, 2010; week of May 4, 2009):