After a summer swoon, you would think that the evening newscasts of the Big 3 networks would start to recover a bit now that many Americans are back from vacations, kids are back in school, and fall routines are getting established or re-established.
So far, you would be wrong.
It's early, and there's still plenty of time this fall to recover, but during the time period after Labor Day, the broadcasts primarily anchored by Brian Williams at NBC, Charles Gibson at ABC, and Katie Couric at CBS:
Are down a combined 28.5% from their peak in late January during the first full week of Barack Obama's presidency.
Have lost a combined 37.7% of their audience in the 25-54 demographic during the same time period.
Are down year-over-year compared to September 1, 2008, the week after Labor a year ago, by 8.9% overall and 18.1% in the 25-54 demographic.
At 19.55 million, are basically drawing audiences no larger than they were during this past (for them) miserable summer.
In light of the revelation that ABC News anchor Charles Gibson had not even heard of the recently revealed evidence of corruption by ACORN, comedian and FNC contributor Dennis Miller zinged Gibson as he alluded to the fact that the ABC anchor had famously quizzed Sarah Palin on her knowledge of the Bush doctrine during the 2008 campaign, but himself is now failing the test of keeping abreast of newsworthy current events.
During his regular "Miller Time" appearance on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor on Tuesday, when host O'Reilly brought up the tapes showing ACORN employees giving advice on how to break the law to those they believed to be a pimp and underage prostitute, Miller brought up Gibson's embarrassing lack of knowledge of the scandal. Miller: "Before I go on, did you hear Charlie Gibson today? He had not heard of this at all." After he and O'Reilly both praised Gibson as a good man, Miller continued: "He's got to wake up, though. He's got to pay attention to the story and not put it off on the cables. If he paid attention to this like he accuses Palin of paying attention to the Bush doctrine, he would have known about it."
Referring to ACORN, he later added: "These people have to be brought down. I think these two kids deserve Pulitzers, quite frankly."
In the first story on CBS since the scandal broke last week, on Tuesday’s Evening News, anchor Katie Couric reported: "The grassroots community organization called ACORN helps low-income Americans find affordable housing and gets tens of millions of dollars in government funding. But as Cynthia Bowers reports, that may be coming to an end after a scandal caught on tape."
After showing undercover video of ACORN workers across the country advising filmmakers James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, who posed as a pimp and prostitute, on how to run an underage prostitution ring, Bowers explained: "ACORN says the workers caught on tape were fired but contends the videos were illegally obtained, doctored and deceptive, and is threatening legal action against the undercover filmmakers posing as the couple...No matter who’s to blame, long-term damage to the reputation of the poverty rights organization may already be done." The CBS story failed to identify ACORN as a liberal organization.
NBC did not get to the ACORN story on Tuesday’s Nightly News, but did cover the scandal on Wednesday’s Today, with co-host Meredith Vieira reporting: "And now to the scandal involving the community organizing group known as ACORN. Over the years, it has received tens of millions of dollars in federal housing money, but now hidden camera videos have led to the U.S. Senate voting to cut off funds to the group."
ABC and NBC on Tuesday night joined the effort to undermine the anti-Obama tea party participants by smearing them as racists as ABC framed a story around the proposition “some prominent Obama supporters are now saying” the opposition to Obama is “driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President,” while NBC anchor Brian Williams touted how “former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about” the supposed racism. Williams alleged “a certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march in Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.” (MP3 audio of Williams, Video below)
With “OUT OF LINE?” on screen beneath what appeared to be pictures from the August town halls, ABC anchor Charles Gibson set up the piece from Dan Harris who recited a litany of liberal presumptions:
They've waved signs likening President Obama to Hitler and the devil, raised questions about whether he was really born in this country, falsely accused him of planning to set up death panels, decried his speech to students as indoctrination and called him everything from a fascist to a socialist to a communist. And all that was before Mr. Obama's speech was interrupted by a Representative who once fought to keep the Confederate flag waving over the South Carolina state house. Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President. (MP3 audio,Video below)
Katie Couric’s CBS Evening News on Friday omitted any mention of the murder of pro-life activist Jim Pouillon in Michigan, despite having discussed the murder of abortionist George Tiller on the June 1, June 2 and June 9 newscasts (and then referencing the killing as a recent “hate crime” in a June 10 report on the shooting at Washington, D.C.’s Holocaust Museum).
Both ABC’s World News and the NBC Nightly News, in contrast, offered full reports on the killing of Pouillon and a local businessman, but offered different explanations. According to NBC’s John Yang, prosecutors said the killer, Harlan Drake, had grudges against his victims and another intended target but “none of them were specifically related to anti- or pro-abortion beliefs.”
Over on ABC, however, reporter Chris Bury showed a soundbite from the Owosso police chief that sure sounded like a grudge against Pouillon’s protests: “Mr. Drake did not believe the children should view the graphic material that was on the signs that Mr. Pouillon carried.”
And ABC’s Bury claimed Friday’s killing of the peaceful protester represented “the flip side of the troubling violence surrounding the abortion debate,” and equated the pro-life activist with the doctor who performed late-term abortions: “George Tiller and Jim Pouillon, on opposite sides of the abortion divide, but both victims of the hate that too often surrounds it.”
Media minds think alike. ABC: “It was the shout heard 'round the world.” CBS: “It was the shout heard 'round the world.” NBC, slightly creative: “The outburst heard 'round the world” and the “heckle heard 'round the world.” Congressman Joe Wilson's “you lie” shout during President Obama's Wednesday address to Congress on health care animated the Thursday evening newscasts, though it at least prompted ABC and NBC, but not CBS, to grudgingly take up, briefly, Wilson's contention illegal immigrants would receive health benefits.
“As the President spoke last night, there was a stunning moment. As the President tried to refute criticisms of his health care reform, a Republican Congressman from South Carolina yelled out 'you lie,'” ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced. On CBS, Katie Couric maintained “Presidents appearing there as respected guests have been interrupted before by boos and hisses, but this was different. A Congressman last night calling a President an outright liar to his face. Just the latest indication of how ugly the debate over reforming health care has gotten.”
Brian Williams teased the NBC Nightly News: “On our broadcast tonight, the speech on health care and the outburst heard 'round the world.” In the subsequent story Kelly O'Donnell portrayed “a stunning outburst. South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson accused the President of lying in a fit of anger that reverberated today.”
ABC's World News on Tuesday night bemoaned the impact of conservatives and citizen journalists in derailing President Barack Obama's agenda. Pivoting from the reaction to Obama's address to students, anchor Charles Gibson observed “today's speech was really the latest target of some conservative groups taking on the President” and “their tactics are having an impact.”
Reporter Dan Harris asserted “the conservative echo chamber is not new, but,” he fretted, “this White House is operating in a vastly accelerated media environment where you no longer need to be in the presence of reporters to make news, as we saw with the health care furor at those town hall meetings.” Journalistic veteran Tom Rosenstiel marveled: “Today you can arrange that protest yourself, photograph it with a hand-held cell phone, and if you can then generate enough views of that video on YouTube, you can make something into national news.” That's because, Harris insisted, “the mainstream media love a good fight, even if the charges are unfounded.”
Though Harris acknowledged “some of the conservative complaints do play into larger concerns” about Obama, he relayed how “critics say the White House has been simply unprepared to deal with the ferocity of the conservative push-back.”
Instead of focusing on how the Obama administration found it appropriate to hire a man who added his name to a petition asserting the Bush administration deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur -- or the incompetence displayed in not knowing about it -- ABC and NBC on Sunday night painted Van Jones as a victim, “a target for conservatives,” while “the Republican Right” claimed “its first scalp in this administration.” [audio available here]
With “Under Fire” on screen by a picture of Jones, as if he's the aggrieved party, World News anchor Dan Harris fretted that “at this crucial moment,” with President Obama planning to take up health care, “the White House is now dealing with a sudden overnight resignation of a controversial adviser.” Reporter Stephanie Sy stressed how Jones' remarks on various topics “were all made before he joined the Obama administration, but made him an easy target for conservatives.” She acknowledged Jones “in fact did describe himself as an aspiring communist revolutionary in his youth,” but, she highlighted, “he said he is the victim of a 'vicious smear campaign of lies and distortion.'” Sy featured Howard Dean lamenting Jones will no longer be able “to help this country,” before she concluded: “Democrats worry that Van Jones is only the first of Mr. Obama's so-called policy czars...that will be targeted by Republicans.”
Inadvertently, presumably, NBC anchor Lester Holt conceded the mainstream media's malfeasance: “I don't think most Americans had heard of him before this.” Holt then asked John Harwood: “Can the Republican Right claim its first scalp in this administration?” Harwood pointed to how Obama “lost” Tom Dashle, and proceeded to agree that “yes, it is a victory for the Republican Right,” though he insisted “Jones was not an especially important figure within the administration. His job wasn't that big.”
Howard Kurtz opened Sunday's "Reliable Sources" with a lovefest for the promotion of ABC's Diane Sawyer to replace Charles Gibson on "World News Tonight."
Mysteriously, there was absolutely no discussion about how Sawyer's "Good Morning America" is constantly second in the ratings to NBC's "Today" show, nor was there mention of how Katie Couric regularly bested Sawyer in the morning but has been a ratings disaster since taking over the "CBS Evening News."
That didn't stop Kurtz and his guests from talking about Sawyer's promotion as if it was sheer genius (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 11:30):
The contrast between the virtual silence of major news outlets on Green Jobs Czar Van Jones’s belief in the Bush Administration’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks and the hubbub made about those who believe the President is not an American citizen casts light on the politicized attitudes of the mainstream media.
NewsBusters has noted how the story has been ignored by the television media. Byron York in the Washington Examiner Friday noted that a Nexis news search for the Van Jones ‘truther’ controversy turns up exactly zero results from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and transcripts from ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, and CBS Evening News (though that newscast aired a full story Friday night).
So, as York noted, anyone who gets his or her news from one of these sources, or all five, is unaware that the President’s Green Jobs Czar is not only a self-avowed communist but also a supporter of the truther movement, which means he believes that the Bush Administration was complicit in—even orchestrated—the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Instead of taking up how five years ago Jones signed the 911truth.org petition calling for an “immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur,” a revelation to which FNC's Special Report devoted a full story on Thursday, on ABC's World News fill-in anchor George Stephanopoulos trumpeted the Obama White House “transparency” in the “unprecedented” decision to release visitor logs, which Jake Tapper described as an “historic” move before Stephanopoulos fretted over how Obama “is facing this liberal revolt over the public health insurance option, and the President decided to take it head-on today.”
Over on NBC, Brian Williams bemoaned: “A back to school speech by the President. How did it get branded as an attempt to brainwash America's children?” He also conveyed liberal disappointment Obama-defenders aren't tough enough: “Some are asking how the White House message got hijacked before the speech was delivered and why more people aren't pushing back.” Andrea Mitchell asserted that “it's only the latest example of what the White House calls the silly season -- town halls where disabled speakers are shouted down....From charges of death panels to the birthers...”
The ABC and NBC anchors on Thursday night framed stories, on the controversy over President Obama's upcoming Tuesday address to the nations' schoolchildren accompanied by a Department of Education recommendation that teachers have their students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President,” through the prism of Obama as a victim of unfair presumptions.
“It seemed like a simple idea,” fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos sighed in offering the most benign description of how Obama's “going to kick off the school year next week by speaking directly to America's classrooms, the kind of pep talk to encourage kids to do their best.” But, Stephanopoulos noted, “the idea ran into a storm of protests. School districts across the country are fielding calls from angry parents. Some fear their kids will be forced to hear a partisan message.”
On NBC, Brian Williams declared Obama's “message will be about the importance of working hard and staying in school” and though “Presidents have done this type of thing before,” those occurred, he rued, before “this hyper-partisan era of instant and vocal outrage immediately on both the right and the left.”
When Diane Sawyer, who ABC announced Wednesday morning will replace Charles Gibson in January as anchor of World News, filled in as anchor of that newscast on Monday, February 16, she excitedly announced how “the trillion dollar week has begun” and so “finally,” as if it had been too long of a wait, “the stimulus starts to flow.” She soon heralded how “we embark on a week like no other in American economic history” with “a presidential whirlwind of spending against a recession.”
Sawyer brought George Stephanopoulos aboard to admire what Sawyer described as a “scrapbook, if you will, of the President's journey on the road to the stimulus package.” In other words, photos released by the White House. Nonetheless, she effused: “I want to show everybody at home, because there is the President, it's Super Bowl night, and he's serving cookies to congressional leadership in the White House screening room.” (February 16 NewsBusters post, with video.)
ABC News has just announced that Good Morning America co-anchor Diane Sawyer is taking over as the anchor of World News when the current anchor, Charlie Gibson, retires in January. Coincidentally, the MRC has just finished a new report, “Good Morning, Bias,” on the liberal spin Sawyer brought to Good Morning America (and previously as co-anchor of the network’s 20/20 and Primetime Live newsmagazines).
As our ABC analyst Scott Whitlock uncovered, Sawyer has repeatedly lauded high-profile liberals, including Nancy Pelosi (“galvanized steel with a smile”) and Hillary Clinton (“political mastery,” “dazzling”), while in her infamous 20/20 interview, Sawyer targeted Ken Starr’s report on Bill Clinton as “demented pornography, pornography for Puritans.” Here are some of the highlights of what Scott uncovered in his research; for the full package, including eight video clips, visit www.MRC.org.
ABC's World News, which has twice in the past few months rued how it's too hard to raise taxes in California, on Tuesday night used one homeowner's appreciation, for the firefighters battling the wild fires threatening his house near Los Angeles, to tout how “he would gladly pay more taxes.”
Reporting from Tujunga, Brian Rooney warned “California has burned through nearly two-thirds of its emergency firefighting money early in the season,” so “the Governor and other authorities today politicked for even more emergency funds.” After a clip of a union official, Rooney highlighted: “One homeowner, at least, says he would gladly pay more taxes after watching the performance of firefighters.” In the subsequent soundbite, the unidentified man didn't actually say he wanted higher taxes, just that the current high level is worth it for the performance of the firefighters (who only get a small sliver of the state budget): “I think we're the highest in the union, but for last night I'm happy to pay it.”
ABC displayed “Battle Cry” on screen, beneath HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as anchor Charles Gibson teased Thursday's World News: “Health care reformers hope to win one for Teddy, but the opposition is largely unmoved.” Gibson introduced the story by asserting “some of his allies in Congress harbor hopes that his death might generate a change of heart among opponents,” but it may not come to be: “If that is to be the case, there are few signs of it yet.”
Reporter Jonathan Karl noted continued opposition amongst those at town hall meetings, yet ran soundbites from three Democrats who demonstrated how “many prominent Democrats are hoping to turn an outpouring of goodwill into political magic.” For instance, “the most senior Senator, Robert Byrd, said yesterday, 'my heart and soul weeps' at the loss of the Senator Kennedy and called for naming the health care bill after him, a view wildly held b by Democrats.”
Karl recalled “the tactic has worked before. After the assassination of John Kennedy, President Johnson invoked his memory to revive the long-stalled civil rights bill.” This year, however, while “win one for Teddy” is “already becoming a rallying cry here on Capitol Hill, Karl concluded, “the divisions run deep and will not be easily overcome, even with all that obvious good will for Senator Ted Kennedy.”
ABC's Brian Ross and NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday night each listed some al Qaeda plots uncovered via CIA interrogations, but both balked when it came to vindicating former Vice President Dick Cheney on whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) led to information which prevented attacks.
“Nowhere in the reports...does the CIA ever draw a direct connection between the valuable information and the specific use of harsh tactics,” Ross declared on World News in citing reports Cheney requested be released. NBC's Andrea Mitchell cited only Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and related how “administration officials say there is no way to know whether the same information could have be obtained from him without waterboarding or whether he would have given it up sooner had he been handled differently.”
On FNC, however, The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes, quoting from the just-released 2004 report by CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, pointed out how even it noted regarding Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the terrorist behind the USS Cole attack, “following the use of EIT's, he provided information about his most current operational planning as opposed to the historical information he provided before the use of the EIT's.” Hayes asserted: “I mean, it doesn't get clearer than that. So we can debate the morality, we can debate whether this was torture. We can't debate any longer about whether this was effective.”
Media Embraced Cindy Sheehan's Anti-Bush Push in 2005; ABC Anchor Now Says: "Enough Already"
When Cindy Sheehan arrives on Martha’s Vineyard tomorrow (Tuesday), to protest against President Barack Obama, will the news media be as drawn to her as they were in the summer of 2005 when she was condemning George W. Bush?
Last week, ABC anchor Charles Gibson declared “enough already” when asked on Chicago’s WLS Radio about Sheehan’s plan to travel to Obama’s island vacation spot to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When she camped near Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch four years ago, that was hardly the view of Gibson and his colleagues. At the time, NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell aptly dubbed her “a media magnet.”
Back then, the networks were eager to publicize her cause from the moment she arrived. Katie Couric, for instance, showcased Sheehan at the top of NBC’s Today show: “A mother’s vigil. Her son died in Iraq. Now this woman is camping outside the Bushes’ Texas ranch and demanding a meeting with the President today, Monday, August 8th, 2005.”
With “Losing Support” as the on-screen heading, ABC's World News on Friday night certainly made clear how President Obama is losing favor with the American people as his approval level and attitudes toward his health care efforts continue steadily downward so now more are opposed (50 percent) than in favor (45 percent) and he's suffered a 29-point drop in agreement with enacting a “public option.” But ABC's Kate Snow still saw a “glass half full” view as she managed to end with a positive spin for Obama:
It's not all bad news for the President. We didn't find an overwhelming majority against health care reform. Instead, if you look at the glass half full point of view, the country is basically split. About half of Americans still favor reform, and about half still favor a public option.
Also skipped by World News: How, despite the loaded wording in the question referring to those “angrily protesting at town meetings,” a majority (51 percent) considered the protests “appropriate” versus 45 percent who called them “inappropriate.” (Question 16 in the PDF.)
As Noel Sheppard noted earlier today in picking up from the Washington Examiner's Byron York how ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson declared “enough already” when asked on Chicago's WLS Radio (audio) about Cindy Sheehan's plan to travel to President Barack Obama's Martha's Vineyard vacation spot next week to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. York observed how “that's a remarkably different stance from the one Gibson took four years ago” when he was co-host of Good Morning America. Specifically, York recalled:
On August 9, 2005, the ABC anchor conducted an extensive on-air interview with Sheehan. “Cindy Sheehan is her name,” Gibson began. “She says she's not moving until the President meets with her, and I had a chance to speak with her a few minutes ago. Cindy Sheehan, bottom line, what do you hope to accomplish with all this?”
During the next week, Gibson and ABC continued to cover Sheehan. On August 17, 2005, when Sheehan left Crawford, Gibson reported, “We're going to turn next to the standoff that is playing out near President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Cindy Sheehan, you know, the mother who lost a son in Iraq, is now on the move, but she's still standing her ground. ABC's Geoff Morrell is in Crawford with the details…” The next day, Gibson reported, “All across the country last night, people held candlelight vigils in support of Cindy Sheehan…”
ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday night all showcased liberal Democratic Congressman Barney Frank's rejoinder -- “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” -- to a woman's question: “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy?” As if the premise were coming from a typical anti-ObamaCare conservative, ABC's Charles Gibson set up the exchange by asserting “the contentious rhetoric over health care reform has gone up another notch. It happened in Massachusetts, after protesters brought pictures of President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache to a town hall meeting with Congressman Barney Frank.”
Though ABC showed a picture of the poster with “LaRouche PAC.com” visible at the bottom, neither Gibson nor CBS's Nancy Cordes (who did not show the LaRouche credit) noted the posters were created and distributed by the group affiliated with Lyndon LaRouche, a seven-time far-left Democratic presidential candidate who spent many years as a Trotsky-ite and is best-known as a propagator of wild conspiracy theories. The New Bedford Standard Times identified the woman as “with the LaRouche Political Action Committee.”
On the NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Lester Holt referred to “more rowdy town hall meetings” which led Frank to decide “he'd had enough and faced off against a woman holding a picture of President Obama that was doctored to make him look like Hitler.” After video of the exchange Tuesday night in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Holt benignly described the source: “That anti-Obama image is being disseminated by supporters of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche who are campaigning against health care reform.”
Newsflash: The media doesn't understand that the Catholic Church is not a democracy, and that the Vatican is not swayed by public opinion.
The proof of this disconnect came from ABC "World News Sunday" anchor Dan Harris and correspondent David Wright during the Aug. 16 "World News" broadcast. Wright's report on American nuns facing an apostolic visitation, labeled by Harris as "a controversial investigation," portrayed the Vatican as a big, bad bully of American nuns.
On Monday’s World News, ABC’s Charles Gibson channeled the worry of liberal activists over the Obama administration’s seeming retreat on government-run health insurance, the so-called “public option.” Gibson fretted about Obama to White House correspondent Jake Tapper: “Will he go to the mat for a public option?” Gibson exposed how one-sided his universe of experts is: “We talked to several health care experts today, and they all said if you take out the public option in terms of insurance, there's going to be no restraints on the cost of insurance.”
Conservative health care experts see empowering individuals, not government or insurance company bureaucrats, as the key to creating a more sensible health care marketplace.
MRC’s Brad Wilmouth caught Gibson’s exchange with Tapper, which followed Tapper’s piece on how the White House backpedaling was upsetting liberals:
During Thursday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC correspondent Kate Snow held open the possibility that some ObamaCare opponents are correct in their belief that universal health care will include taxpayer funding of abortion, although she characterized the truth as "unclear," during a "Reality Check" during which she brought up the likelihood that taxpayer funding would be used to purchase private health insurance plans that cover abortion. Snow:
Will health care reform lead to taxpayer-funded abortions? Unclear. Current law states federal funds cannot be used for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. But under health care reform, lower income Americans would have their health care subsidized by the government, and they will be allowed to pick a health plan that covers abortion.
She also informed viewers that at least one alternative plan would try to separate tax dollars from abortion funding -- she contended that "it might not be the easiest thing to regulate, keeping public and private money separate," but she also cited "experts" who say that such a plan "could work." Snow:
On Saturday, ABC’s World News Saturday and the NBC Nightly News each ran a story touting the high number of patients arriving at a free clinic in Los Angeles, operated by Remote Area Medical, as evidence of the need for health care reform. For the NBC Nightly News, it was the third such story on the facility of the week.
While ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson had run one story on Friday that focused on the generous work of the organization and its founder, Stan Brock, Saturday was the first time World News had touted the clinic as evidence of the need for reform, or compared America’s poor to the Third World, as stories on the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News had already done previously. And on Saturday, ABC and NBC again failed to inform viewers that patients who arrived at the free clinic were not required to prove financial need to receive service, but were merely accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
On World News Saturday, ABC anchor Dan Harris set up the piece:
In Inglewood, California, tonight, a vivid demonstration of the health care crisis: A clinic that provides free health care has been inundated with patients. Almost 46 million people in this country do not have health insurance, but the problem is a lot bigger than that. Many people who do have insurance still cannot afford the care that they need.
On Friday’s broadcast network evening newscasts, the CBS Evening News uniquely noted that Democrats in Montana had "orchestrated" a friendly environment for President Obama at a Montana town hall event as many Democrats arrived early to secure tickets. After CBS correspondent Chip Reid filed a report in which he relayed that "this crowd was on [Obama's] side," and that "the questions were mostly softballs," Reid brought up "orchestration" as one of the reasons for a friendly crowd: "So why wasn't there more anger in here? For one thing, after accusing Republicans of orchestrating their protests, Democrats did some orchestrating of their own, getting in line early in large numbers and snatching up most of the tickets."
On the NBC Nightly News, substitute anchor Ann Curry led with Obama's town hall appearance:
The President was to squarely take on the anger we’ve seen in recent weeks over health care reform, flying to a town hall in a conservative part of Montana. The audience, we were told, was not pre-screened. But the meeting was more like a campaign rally than a debate over health care. The President even getting a standing ovation.
All three broadcast networks this week have reported on the charity Remote Area Medical's offer of free medical care at a temporary facility in Los Angeles, citing the arrival of many patients as a sign of how many Americans there are who need "free health care," and even relaying the words of program volunteers who compared the health care challenges of some Americans to problems in Third World countries like Guatemala and India.
But only by watching ABC's Good Morning America did one see a soundbite of program founder Stan Brock informing viewers that the free clinic does not even screen patients to learn if they really are in need financially. Brock:
It's first-come, first-served basis, no questions asked, no financial information required. There are a lot of good programs in this country, but they tend to have hurdles that the patient has to leap through in order to get the care.
Reporters seemed shocked that thousands of people would stand in line for hours to receive hundreds -- or even thousands -- of dollars worth of free medical care.
Of the three major networks, only CBS has managed, thus far, to ignore controversial comments from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that compared America’s disputed election in 2000 to political corruption in Nigeria. ABC, however, highlighted the August 12 remarks on Thursday’s Good Morning America. GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo challenged, "Now, did [the comments] cross the line?"
Co-host Robin Roberts chided, "Hillary Clinton in the hot seat. She compares Nigeria’s politics to the controversial Bush/Gore election here in the U.S. Did she go too far?" Clinton, who was in Nigeria at the time, said this: "Our democracy is still evolving. We had all kinds of problems in some of our past elections, as you might remember. In 2000, our presidential election came down to one state where the brother of the man running for president was the governor of the state, so we have our problems, too."
In addition to GMA, ABC played the remark on the previous night's World News. CBS avoided the comments during Wednesday’s CBS Evening News and Thursday’s Early Show. Brian Williams briefly reported on the quote for the August 12 NBC Nightly News, featuring the remark and labeling it "another off-the-cuff comment" for the Secretary of State. NBC did not discuss the story during the four hours of Friday’s Today show.
ABC’s Kate Snow, who early on Monday couldn’t find time to show any Republican opposition to a controversial provision in the health care plan relating to end-of-life care, reversed course on World News and briefly highlighted a GOP voice. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter appeared and asserted, "And there should never be any doubt as to whether your end-of-life decisions are influenced by its effect on the United States Treasury."
Snow was filing a piece for Monday’s World News about a section in the House health care bill that reimburse doctors for discussing end-of-life care with their patients every five years. And although the segment was billed as a "fact check" to debunk incorrect claims, this report at least looked into something that her earlier piece on Good Morning America didn’t, Republican opposition.
On Monday, I asked Snow about this on her Twitter page. She justified the absence: "We often cut down pieces to fit time allotted. But always aim to include all pov's. On end of life v impt [sic] to fact check too."