NBC's Nightly News and ABC's World News on Tuesday provided drastically different reports on the Obama administration's announced plans to build the country's first new nuclear power plant in 30 years. Nightly News host Brian Williams showcased liberal concern and fretted, "...[Obama's] critics are openly wondering what it is he's up to."
The segment by correspondent Anne Thompson attacked Obama from the left on the plans for the "controversial" new plant. She highlighted Friend of the Earth CEO Erich Pica complaining, "There are reactors across this country that have tons of waste just sitting there, waiting for something to happen."
Over on World News, however, reporter Jake Tapper actually included a former anti-nuclear activist, Dr. Patrick Moore, to argue for the power plants. Tapper first explained that "plant design and equipment requirements have been upgraded. Plants are now required to be able to shut down automatically."
CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference begins Feb. 18. Conservative leaders will rally the troops before the mid-term elections in November and discuss the future role of conservatives in politics.
One person who will not be in attendance is Meghan McCain, despite the year-long media attempt to make citizens believe she is somehow representative of conservatives. She tweeted on Feb. 11, "I have no idea where this weird rumor I am speaking at CPAC came from, it isn't true and I will not be attending or speaking."
McCain, the 25-year-old daughter of former Republican presidential nominee John McCain and a writer for The Daily Beast, has taken it upon herself to tell the GOP what needs to be fixed within the party. Because she calls herself a Republican, media outlets have perpetuated the notion that she is also conservative. By doing that, they've pushed a liberal social agenda that directly conflicts with conservative values.
Writer Kathleen Parker, herself no stranger to conservative bashing, praised McCain last spring as "one smart cookie" who "in a matter weeks ... has created a brand, presenting herself as a fresh face of her daddy's party and voice of young conservatives."
Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post and a contributor to MSNBC, suggested last summer that "maybe what the Republican Party is going to have to do is skip a generation and wait for the Meghan McCains to come of age so they can run for office and take over the mantle of the party."
Reporting Congressman Patrick Kennedy's decision to not run for re-election this fall for his House seat representing Rhode Island, CBS and ABC on Friday night bemoaned the impending lack of a Kennedy in the House or Senate – presuming no other Kennedy runs and wins this November – as the “end of an era.” CBS even created a chart to display the timeline for Kennedys in office, as fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Maggie Rodriguez announced:
It is the end of an era, the Kennedy era. Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy has decided not to seek re-election in November. So early next year there will be no Kennedy holding elected office in Washington for the first time since 1947, more than 63 years.
Over on ABC, Diane Sawyer plugged the upcoming story: “End of an era. The last Kennedy in Congress calling it quits.” In the subsequent report, Sawyer recalled: “It was 1946 when his uncle John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected to the House. Then, his uncle, Senator Robert Kennedy, and then his father, Ted.” Getting a bit carried away, Sawyer then asserted: “There has always been a Kennedy in Washington.”
President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan was the most expensive bill in history. Still, it received strong media support - blazing the way for the controversial bill to pass. Network journalists didn't just back the bill during that debate. Once it had passed, ABC, NBC and CBS spent nearly a year promoting "President Obama's stimulus cavalry," as NBC's Lisa Myers put it.
That much money was supposed to enter the economy through many different channels. Typically, where stimulus dollars went, journalists followed. They roamed the nation looking for proof the stimulus was succeeding, and sometimes proof it wasn't.
The Business & Media Institute analyzed 172 stories about the stimulus from Feb. 17, 2009, when the bill was signed, to Jan. 31, 2010. In those stories, the three evening news shows turned to proponents nearly three times as often as opponents of the plan (269 to just 111). Reporters called the Obama program or its many offshoots "good news," or turned to others whose positive views on the stimulus went further, with one calling the program a "lifesaver."
"It's the government that`s going to have to pull us out of this recession," Anthony Mason of CBS "Evening News" said on March 6. That was a consistent theme for the journalists involved. With the economy beaten down by the Great Recession, Americans needed Obama and the government to fix things and boost employment.
“Until the economy starts to create jobs, the President's political fortunes are not going to improve,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos conceded Wednesday night in reporting how President Obama’s approval level has fallen to 46 percent amongst independents. But though 53 percent disapprove of his handling of health care and more are opposed to than in favor of the congressional Democrats/Obama plan, Stephanopoulos asserted a health care bill would help Obama rebound since “people still want that” passed:
What the White House can do -- what they're trying to do -- is to achieve a health care bill. People still want that. Probably scaled down.
Stephanopoulos apparently based his contention how the ABC News/Washington Post poll (PDF of portion released Wednesday night) found 63 percent think “lawmakers in Washington should (keep trying to pass) a comprehensive health care reform plan.” But they don’t want what Obama is pushing, so it’s hard to see how continued White House focus would benefit Obama.
From Monday's broadcast network evening newscasts: CBS and NBC found hypocrisy in Sarah Palin scolding President Obama's incessant use of a Teleprompter while she had “crib notes” written on her hand during her Saturday Tea Party convention appearance, CBS followed by giving Obama two-straight minutes to explain why the public will come around to “connect” with him again and, meanwhile, ABC devoted a full story to “whether Republicans want action or are just the 'Party of No'?”
CBS's Nancy Cordes reported, over a helpful graphic showing the words written on Palin's hand, that while Palin “dismissed the President Saturday night as a 'charismatic guy with a Teleprompter,' she may have been relying on some crib notes of her own.” Cordes concluded: “Her supporters called it an endearing sign that Palin's a real person, while detractors argue it's proof she doesn't know her facts.” On NBC, Brian Williams led the Palin story with how “it happened after a speech where she criticized the President for relying too much on a Teleprompter.”
Next on CBS, Katie Couric highlighted how, in her pre-SuperBowl sit-down with Obama, she had raised with him that “people are not sure who he is or what he stands for.” Viewers were then treated to a two-minute long answer from Obama, ending with his insistance that when the economy improves “we'll do just fine and everybody will be saying what a connection President Obama has with the American people. Which is what they were saying a year ago.” (“They” being journalists?)
Amid all of the snow news on Sunday night’s World News, ABC reporter David Kerley tossed in a positive reference to President Obama’s supposed abilities to create jobs. “While President Obama didn’t come up with it, the storm is its own mini-jobs program,” Kerley touted, talking about the extra cash some people made helping to shovel out their neighbors.
Actually, the jobs “created” by the snow storm might resemble those “created” by the government in that the work is only temporary, but the snow-clearing work also sprouted spontaneously based on actual demand and without the need for huge government bureaucracy to manage the process.
And nearly 48 hours after the snow stopped falling, most private businesses and individuals have dug out their own property, while local governments have yet to finish clearing residential areas. Maybe instead of demonizing profit, liberals could finally recognize how effective the profit motive is at inspiring people to engage in productive work.
Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement “both have far less support in the country at large than a gullible Old Media seems to understand or suggest,” Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin asserted on “The Page” while colleague Joe Klein, on Time’s “Swampland” blog, showed fear of the supposedly impotent coalition as he denigrated her Saturday night convention speech as “anti-intellectual drivel,” scolding as “anti-American” those dumb enough to like her:
Those who celebrate Sarah Palin's lack of knowledge as a form of “authenticity” superior to Barack Obama's gloriously American mongrel ethnicity and self-made intellectuality are representatives of a long-standing American theme – the celebration of sameness, and mediocrity, in a country that has succeeded brilliantly because of its diversity and restlessly eccentric genius. Happily, it has almost always been a losing theme. And, indeed, in the truest sense, it can be called anti-American.
Halperin, political director for ABC News until 2007, appeared on the Sunday edition of ABC’s World News where he insisted Palin and tea partiers are “still not big enough or specific enough to do anything but criticize Obama, criticize the government” and while “that creates excitement,” it's “not a national governing movement.”
“The business of this first ever national Tea Party convention is the nuts and bolts of politics, like voter registration,” ABC’s John Berman began his Friday night World News story from Nashville, “but barely scratch the surface, and there's a tone of anger and confrontation.”
Specifically: “The convention's first speaker, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, said that people who voted for Barack Obama could not pass a basic civics literacy test.” Tancredo’s offensive remark: “People who could not even spell the word vote put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.” Berman pounced on the rhetoric as out of bounds: “The President a socialist, his supporters illiterate? Today, Tancredo stood by those comments.”
Berman showed how attendees shared the bizarre assessment, running soundbites of a man affirming “I believe he is a socialist ideologue” and a woman asserting “You just read his history, he’s a Marxist,” before finding another man to agree that calling the President's supporters illiterate “was probably a little harsh.”
Berman concluded: “One of the goals of this convention is to turn this movement into a political force. The question is, does the harsh rhetoric keep them on the fringe?” Sort of like the media’s condemnation of Americans with which they disagree marginalize their influence?
ABC, CBS and NBC all aired full stories Tuesday night on Admiral Mike Mullen’s testimony against “don’t ask/don’t tell” before the Senate Armed Services Committee, but only ABC led with the comments from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as anchor Diane Sawyer called it “a dramatic day on Capitol Hill” and reporter Martha Raddatz trumpeted: “This will be dramatically-debated for days to come, but what we heard today from the military on Capitol Hill was truly historic.”
Katie Couric set up the CBS Evening News story: “It's been U.S. policy for nearly 17 years now, gays and lesbians may serve in the military but only if they keep quiet about their sexual orientation. Today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made an impassioned plea to Congress to change the law.”
On NBC, Brian Williams drew historic parallels: “62 years ago today, President Truman ordered the Defense Secretary to take the needed steps to remove discrimination in the military. He was talking about race. Today the topic was sexual orientation, specifically the Clinton-era policy known as 'don't ask/don't tell,' a policy that is now on borrowed time.”
Cautioning the Obama administration's “deficit projections...are just that, projections,” NBC's Chuck Todd on Monday evening bought into the White House's claim that Democratic health care reform bills that would add millions to the system are actually spending reduction measures, as he warned: “If health care doesn't pass, because this budget assumes health care will pass, that's yet another $150 billion that would be tacked on to the deficit.”
ABC's Jake Tapper also passed along the ludicrous contention, but at least stressed Obama's team is assuming passage of “reform” that's very unlikely to be enacted: “The President outlines a number of measures to reduce the deficit, over $1 trillion worth. But Diane, perhaps the most surprising, the budget assumes a savings of $150 billion over the next ten years from health care reform, legislation that is at the very best -- at the most optimistic -- on life support on Capitol Hill right now.”
On Saturday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Don Lemon deferentially took President Obama’s advice and interviewed a stimulus “skeptic” turned “believer,” whom the Democrat cited as an example of the success of the stimulus during his recent State of the Union address. Lemon talked up the stimulus and the Obama administration’s energy efficiency tax credit with his guest Alan Levin, whose company produces windows.
Before playing his taped interview with guest Alan Levin, CEO of Northeast Building Products, the CNN anchor played the relevant clip from the President Obama’s address: “Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia, who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created.” After asking Mr. Levin if he was excited by this mention by the President, Lemon inquired about this previous skepticism: “You know what, here’s the interesting thing. You were skeptical about this process- about the stimulus. You weren’t exactly sure that it was going to get you the right people and help at all. And now?”
Both ABC’s Diane Sawyer and CBS’s Katie Couric interviewed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as part of their networks’ run-up to tonight’s State of the Union address, but the contrast was stark. While Sawyer attempted to feel Emanuel’s pain over the setbacks for health care legislation (“Two times you have rolled the health care rock up the hill....and two times you have seen it crash back down”), a much feistier Couric interrogated Emanuel over the White House’s political failings.
“As you know, people were pretty disgusted by deals that were made up on Capitol Hill like the one given to Ben Nelson to win his support. If the White House was so involved, was this done with your blessing?” Couric demanded. Moments later, she hit Emanuel with this zinger: “You are considered a master political operative, you were the guy four years ago, of course, who orchestrated the Democratic takeover of the House. Where were you when Massachusetts was going down in flames for the Democrats?”
The Washington Times’s Jennifer Harper picked up on a new study from the non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs showing President Obama getting much more flattering news coverage from ABC, CBS and NBC (46% positive vs. 54% negative) during his first year in office than did Presidents Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush, all of whom received roughly three times more bad press than good from those same broadcast networks.
But one network did offer scrutiny roughly equal to that provided by the old networks in the past, according to CMPA: the Fox News Channel. Reviewing the first thirty minutes of FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier, CMPA found roughly three times more negative coverage of Obama (78%) vs. positive coverage (22%) during 2009. This compares to the broadcast networks doling out 74% bad press for Ronald Reagan in 1981 and 77% bad press for George W. Bush in 2001. In 1993, Bill Clinton fared better than his GOP counterparts (28% positive vs. 72% negative), but much worse than President Obama. (Chart below the jump).
As the MRC’s Tim Graham noted in a just-released special report from MRC, Omitting for Obama, the three broadcast networks were routinely late in picking up on negative storylines about the Obama administration, and gave paltry attention to major scandals such as the radical affiliations of ex-White House aide Van Jones, ACORN, and the pro-communist musings of then-White House communications director Anita Dunn. Instead, those stories were brought to light by alternative news sources, such as Fox News, talk radio and the conservative blogosphere, and then only grudgingly covered by the old media.
Diane Sawyer's interview with President Barack Obama wasn't nearly as sycophantic as the one conducted last Wednesday by George Stephanopoulos, with Sawyer posing mostly informational inquiries about the direction he'll set out in the State of the Union speech as she also raised the huge deficits and whether all future meetings about health care will “be on C-SPAN” as he had pledged?
But she presumed some of the anger at him wasn't his fault -- “People think you must say at the end of the day, this is not who I was in 2008, these deals with Nebraska, with Florida” -- and empathized with the “buzz saw bruising” he gets, so: “Ever in the middle of all that's coming at you, do you think maybe one term is enough?”
In a second segment aired at the end of Monday's World News, she wondered whether he favors the Colts or Saints in the SuperBowl (Saints) and “what's been the most important and useful thing” Michelle Obama has “said to you?” (Help Sasha with basketball shots.) In her “if you were a tree, what kind would you be?” moment, a beaming Sawyer held up photos of Obama at the inauguration and his first congressional speech and wondered: “What would you say to him?” (Obama: “You're going to look older in a year.”)
The unencumbered ability to sway voters is great for the news media, but journalists are outraged others could re-acquire the same First Amendment rights. Instead of painting a victory for free speech in the Supreme Court's ruling that corporations, non-profit groups and unions can spend money to influence elections, the Thursday broadcast network evening newscasts feared a ruinous future:
“Opening floodgates” to “big money” with “corporate interests having even more of a say” by “attacking political candidates,” resulting in “the real danger...that the candidates are just going to get drowned out” as “special interests” may “take over political campaign advertising.”
“On that subject of big money and power,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer intoned, “a blockbuster decision from the Supreme Court today opening floodgates for companies and unions to spend all the money they want attacking political candidates.” On NBC, anchor Brian Williams previewed “the news today that will result in big companies and corporate interests having even more of a say in American politics and campaigns.”
The day after President Barack Obama's policies were rebuked by the voters of one of the most liberal states when Massachusetts picked a Republican to replace Ted Kennedy, the White House turned to former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos as their preferred vehicle to forward their spin as Obama sat down for an interview with the ABC News journalist.
An accommodating Stephanopoulos, in the excerpt run on Wednesday's World News, failed to consider Obama's policies were too liberal as he asked the chastened President to confirm he was “surprised and frustrated by the vote” and to agree “this has been about the most packed year of your life” and “the most fulfilling?” Obama, naturally, concurred with the puffball inquiry.
The toughest Stephanopoulos got was to advance the notion Obama was a victim of his own ambition: “In your inaugural address, you said then, 'there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.' Looking back now, don't those critics have a point?” Stephanopoulos also cued up Obama with an informational request: “ What is the strategy on health care going forward? A lot of people have talked about getting the House to pass the Senate bill.”
ABC on Monday night again empathized with the Obama White House’s disbelief that they could lose “Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat” -- and thus ObamaCare -- if Republican Scott Brown beats Democrat Martha Coakley in Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts. George Stephanopoulos saw a “Shakespearean” tragedy just over a week after PBS’s Judy Woodruff, on ABC’s This Week, described such a scenario as “a tragedy of Greek proportions.”
Stephanopoulos conveyed on Monday’s World News how “Democrats in the White House and Capitol Hill are braced for a shattering loss. And it's really hard for them to wrap their head around it, the idea that...health care reform may be in peril because Democrats can't hold the seat that Teddy Kennedy held for nearly half a century. You know, one White House official summed it up in a single word: ‘Shakespearean.’”
During the roundtable on the January 10 This Week, CNN and NBC veteran Woodruff despaired: “I was just going to say, quoting somebody in the White House, a tragedy of Greek proportions if Ted Kennedy's successor is the one, is the one who was responsible for the death of health care.”
It was a year ago this weekend that the Israeli military halted its three-week campaign, Operation Cast Lead, against Hamas militants in Gaza, during which Israel had responded to thousands of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza over several years. During Israel’s military campaign, on a number of major stories, many American television newscasts were more inclined to report accusations made by U.N. or Palestinian officials that the Israeli military had acted improperly than they were to update viewers after the military held investigations and released reports disputing the accusations made against it. At one point, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric went so far as to claim that the Israelis "may have used a banned weapon."
Below is a compilation of NewsBusters postings which document how the morning and evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FNC, and PBS reported a number of major stories from the Gaza War, highlighting examples of the media either engaging in distortion or omitting relevant information that would have cast Israel in a more favorable light, including several times when the broadcast and news networks even ignored reports issued by the Israeli military after it had taken time to investigate and dispute accusations made against its troops which had previously been reported by the media.
Just in time for what they call "bonus season," ABC's "World News" treated its viewers to a little anti-Wall Street populism Sunday night.
On "World News" Jan. 10, weekend anchor Dan Harris explained there was "backlash" against Wall Street for bonuses that haven't even been paid out yet. But the ABC report made no mention of bonuses paid to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives.
"This week on Wall Street, it's the start of the bonus season, when the big banks dish out big bonuses," Harris said. "This is happening despite all the taxpayer bailouts and all the economic pain on Wall Street. The backlash has already begun."
It goes without saying that what America's struggling banking industry doesn't need is for all of its depositers to withdraw their funds.
Regardless of this seemingly obvious truth, the folks at ABC and "World News with Diane Sawyer" actually did a report Friday profiling a campaign started by the far-left website the Huffington Post to get people to pull their money from the larger national banks and deposit their savings into "smaller, community-oriented financial institutions."
Although ABC's David Muir pointed out to Arianna Huffington how "a lot of people are going to look at this and say you are encouraging a run on the bank," the network along with the show's producers hypocritically ignored how they were doing precisely that by airing this report (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
A year ago today, when U.N. officials accused the Israeli military of killing the driver of a vehicle delivering relief aid to Gaza during the Israeli campaign against Hamas, all the broadcast and news networks reported the accusation on January 8, 2009, noting the U.N.'s resulting cessation of relief aid deliveries. But, after the Israeli military conducted an investigation and charged that Hamas was responsible for the killing, very few of the shows that reported the initial charges by the U.N. updated viewers on this important development. An examination of the morning and evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FNC, and PBS – including American Morning and The Situation Room on CNN; as well as Fox and Friends, the Fox Report, and Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC; and PBS's NewsHour – between January 8 and January 12, 2009, found that all these shows – with the exception of ABC’s Good Morning America – reported on the truck driver’s death at least once, with nearly all shows also directly relaying the U.N.’s charge of Israeli military culpability.
But only CNN's The Situation Room, on the January 9 show, took the time to briefly inform viewers that the Israeli military had denied responsibility for the incident as correspondent Nic Robertson related: "[The U.N.] said that two of their workers were killed by Israeli tank and machine gun fire. Israeli Defense Forces say they have investigated it. Now, they say it wasn't them, which implies that it must have been Hamas."
Nobody is happier to oblige than ABC News. On Jan. 8, “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer and weatherman Sam Champion worried that the cold weather engulfing much of the world just may be the result of climate change.
For the second time in two days, ABC attempted to exonerate Barack Obama from responsibility for a failed Christmas Day airline bombing. On Friday’s Good Morning America, Brian Ross spun, "Well, like another young president almost 50 years ago, Barack Obama found the so-called intelligence professionals, the veterans, the old hands, failed him and failed the country." [Audio available here.]
After placing the blame on everyone but the President, Ross oddly continued, "And as John Kennedy did when the CIA blew an invasion of Cuba in 1961, President Obama took responsibility for the failure to stop and spot the underwear bomber."
On Thursday’s World News, anchor Diane Sawyer touted the same Kennedy comparison to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: "George, I have to say, 'the buck stops here.' It's an echo of another young President in another time." The former Democratic operative turned journalist hopefully replied, "John Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs. Huge intelligence failures at the Bay of Pigs. The President took responsibility, his popularity shot up."
On Thursday’s World News, ABC correspondent Kate Snow filed a report that avoided portraying Tea Party activists as extremists, instead conveying the movement’s growing appeal and the fact that even some former Barack Obama supporters have signed on. Snow: "The majority of supporters are long-time Republicans like Danita, but there are growing numbers of independents, and even some former Obama supporters."
After recounting the movement’s recent successes in bringing down moderate political figures for not being conservative enough, Snow related that "moderates are scrambling to show their support." The piece also included a soundbite of ABC News contributor Matthew Dowd who suggested that Democrats are making a mistake in "trying to marginalize" the movement. Dowd: "I think Republicans definitely dismiss this at their peril. I also think Democrats, by trying to marginalize it, underestimate the anger out there."
Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Thursday, January 7, World News on ABC:
Two quick items from Thursday’s World News. ABC anchor Diane Sawyer heard “an echo of another young President in another time” in President Obama’s “the buck stops here” taking of responsibility for the failed Christmas Day terrorist plot as George Stephanopoulos explained her reference: “John Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs....The President took responsibility, his popularity shot up. The White House is calculating with the President taking personal responsibility, they can put this behind them.”
Minutes later, after a report on cold weather, Sawyer considered it evidence of “climate change.” She asked Sam Champion, a global warming devotee: “We've all been unnerved about talk about climate change. Is this one of those strange events that signals to you, even you, this is something brand new?” From Chicago, Champion, citing the “cold snap” in North America, Asia and Northern Europe, concurred “it certainly is a question that needs to be looked into.”
Just another example of painting any weather condition – too hot or too cold – as evidence of “climate change.”
While the Democratic Mayor of Baltimore, Shelia Dixon, resigned on Wednesday amid a criminal scandal, the evening news programs on NBC, ABC, and CBS all failed to mention the political downfall.
On Thursday, all three network morning shows offered news briefs on the resignation, however, all forgot to note that Dixon was a Democrat.
On NBC’s Today, co-host Ann Curry mentioned: “Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announced her resignation on Wednesday after she was convicted of embezzlement. She also agreed to plead guilty to perjury in a deal reached with prosecutors.”
“Congress let renewing the estate tax slip through the legislative cracks and gone with it is $14 billion for the U.S. Treasury,” ABC anchor John Berman fretted in setting up a Saturday night World News story which didn’t consider any of the costs of the death tax, which ABC only referred to as the “estate tax,” such as destroying family businesses, nor the unfairness of re-taxing already taxed earnings.
Reporter Laura Marquez, who last year expressed frustration at the difficulty of raising taxes in California, described the demise of the death tax as “a big gift from Congress” to “America's wealthiest families.” Marquez saw a loss for “all of us” who aren’t so rich as she lamented the reduction of revenue for the federal government:
Just one percent of American families are wealthy enough to pay the estate tax, but if they don't pay, it affects all of us because the federal government will lose billions of dollars in revenue. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this year 5,500 families would have paid a total of $14 billion in estate taxes.
Unlike CBS and NBC, ABC on Wednesday night reported on criticism from the right of how President Barack Obama is addressing terrorism, but correspondent David Wright tried to discredit the critics' points by reacting with astonishment and sarcastic snipes. Astonishment: “Do you really feel like President Obama has made the country less safe?”
Sarcasm: Rebutting former Bush speech writer Marc Thiessen's bewilderment (“Why are we taking a terrorist who just tried to bring down a plane and telling him, 'You have the right to remain silent'? That's insane”), Wright disparaged the point with an extreme exaggeration of the alternative which reflected the left's caricature of the pre-Obama policy: “So you say water-board him, torture him?” (Wright did at least allow Thiessen to explain: “You don't have to water-board him and torture him. You have to question him.”)
Without pointing out how President Obama described Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as “an isolated extremist,” a “suspect” and a “passenger” who “allegedly” tried to ignite an explosive device, Wright recited former VP Dick Cheney's comment that President Obama “seems to think if we get rid of the worlds ‘War on Terror,’ we won't be at war” and then countered by reading the White House's retort, “We are at war. The difference is this: President Obama doesn't need to beat his chest to prove it.”
Appearing as a guest on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, TVNewser’s Gail Shister, who was inducted into the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Hall of Fame in 2008, made a sexual joke about new World News anchor Diane Sawyer that a male guest likely couldn’t have gotten away with. After the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik had finished discussing the visual effect of ABC zooming in the camera so Sawyer appears closer to the viewer than previous hosts, Shister began her response with a sexual joke about Sawyer:
Well, first of all, Howie, I personally have no problem being right on top of Diane Sawyer, so that was not a problem for me. I think when you’ve got somebody that classy and visually attractive, why not get up close with her? I don’t think they’re going to stay that close every single newscast. I thought she made a seamless transition. I was pleasantly surprised at how seamless it was.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, December 27, Reliable Sources on CNN: