On Thursday's World News, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer took the time to devote an entire story to 92-year-old Democratic Senator Robert Byrd’s vote for the Democratic health care bill, which the West Virginia Democrat dedicated to former Senator Ted Kennedy, whom the ABC anchor described as "health care champion Ted Kennedy." Sawyer recounted that Byrd had to be brought into the Senate chamber in a wheel chair several times recently to cast votes related to the bill.
Sawyer informed viewers of Byrd’s long Congressional career and 98 percent attendance record, and then quoted his declaration that "I do what duty tells me to do" as he arrived to vote for the bill. After recounting the Democratic Senator’s emotional reaction and declaration of love for Senator Kennedy when he learned of Kennedy’s illness, Sawyer concluded: "Old comrades, old friends – one gone, one carrying on."
ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a long-time advocate of government-centered universal health care, again shared his personal view he “absolutely” favors passage of the current ObamaCare bill, though “I would personally prefer to have public option and/or Medicare expansion directly challenging private insurance.” Without irony, about twelve minutes later as he signed off as anchor of his final newscast, Charles Gibson promised he's always tried to deliver an “objective” newscast and lamented “objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these days.”
Approaching Johnson Friday night with liberal complaints the bill has been watered down too much, Gibson related how “the question that I hear most often is, is this bill, without a public option, without an expansion of Medicare, is it better than nothing?” Johnson assured him: “Absolutely, Charlie. We have to remember that doing nothing leaves us with the status quo, a non-system that is headed for financial and health care disaster.”
Later, Gibson asserted in his goodbye comments as he retires from ABC News:
I thank you for investing trust in us each evening, trust that we will give you as objective and honest a look at the day's news as we possibly can. Objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these days, but it is critically important. It is what we strive for each night.
St. Petersburg Times media critic and Huffington Post contributor Eric Deggans offered a tribute to departing ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson, but it came with a very typical liberal slant on the 2008 campaign. Gibson had a "theatrical seriousness" in grilling Sarah Palin, but it was a "surprise" that he lowered himself in a Democratic debate to "gossipy questions like Obama’s supposed ties to William Ayers."
Since when is a man who blows up police stations and bathrooms in the Capitol qualify as a "gossipy" subject, like he’d be grist for TMZ? Deggans merely called him a onetime "radical" without any acknowledgment of his bombings. Here’s how he put it:
When he took apart vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in a series of interviews, he could look a bit like a stern college professor -- John Houseman from Paper Chase, for anyone old enough to get the reference -- scowling over his reading glasses with a theatrical seriousness.
Last June, as Newsbusters readers will remember, ABC allowed President Obama to pitch his health care proposal in a special edition of ABC's Primetime hosted by retiring World News anchor Charlie Gibson and (now incoming anchor) Diane Sawyer. Obama was given additional airtime to pitch his health care agenda that evening on Nightline.
Conservatives didn't get equal time.
Worse, ABC News even refused to allow the conservative group Conservatives for Patients Rights to purchase paid advertising to put out an alternative perspective.
Immediately afterward, the National Center for Public Policy Research (full disclosure: which I work for) began a multi-month review of the commercials run on World News. We found something interesting.
In his swan song interview with President Barack Obama, which consumed more than ten minutes of World News, ABC's Charles Gibson couldn't have provided a friendlier or more empathetic platform to Obama on the “weight” of sending troops to war and how “devilishly difficult” it's become to pass a health care plan because of a few rogue Senators. Gibson, set to retire Friday, teased his last Wednesday newscast:
Welcome to World News. Tonight, we broadcast from the White House. And in the headlines, one on one. Our conversation with the President in which he says he lost sleep over his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, and makes a dire warning about health care.
That “dire warning,” which Gibson did not challenge in the interview: “If we don't pass it, here's the guarantee: the federal government will go bankrupt.”
Gibson began with Afghanistan, recalling how commanders don't “commit kids to war,” they just follow the President's orders, “and I thought, 'Holy God, what a weight that is on your shoulders.'” After Obama ruminated at length on the “gravity” of the “tough” analysis process he went through, Gibson wondered about the inner Obama: “How did you change from the beginning of that analysis and process that you went through to the end, inside you?”
In the third part of an interview on MediaBistro.com’s Media Beat, ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather shared some thoughts on various media personalities. He labeled Fox News host Glenn Beck “controversial,” while hailing MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann: “Love him, as a person, as a journalist. Don’t always understand what he’s trying to do on his program, but I like Keith.”
Rather bizarrely went on to explain part of his admiration for the left-wing bomb thrower: “For one thing, he’s a Yankee fan....give him credit. That Keith Olbermann has been with the Yankees through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, and I really respect that, among other things about him.” Rather did manage to say one kind word about Beck, calling him a “talented TV personality.”
TVNewser columnist Gail Shister also asked Rather’s thoughts on his Evening News replacement Katie Couric. Rather’s assessment of her was not as enthusiastic as that of Olbermann: “Good lady, comes from a journalistic family. Has had a difficult transition but seems to be in a better place now.”
World News anchor Charles Gibson appeared on Monday’s edition of The View to tout his own objectivity and to swear, "I'm very fond of John McCain. I carry no water for Obama." Speaking of the 2008 election, he marveled, "It was an amazing moment to say to the country that we have elected and African American as the 44th president of the United States....It was just an amazing moment for the- for the progress of this country..." [Audio available here.]
Asked by co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck about the difficulty of maintaining objectivity, the ABC anchor, who famously grilled then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, piously explained, "But, you're always trying to breed that subjectivity out of anything that you may do. I've talked about this before. But, it's very controversial in my family and my children think I'm absolutely nuts. I don't vote."
Gibson said he came to this decision after becoming emotionally involved with a candidate who won his heart: "I covered a candidate once in an election and I came to care whether that candidate won or lost. And I thought, there's something wrong here and that may, in some way, permeate what you're saying on the air. And, because, I became very- I just liked the guy."
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz presented quite a paradox in a Charlie Gibson profile Monday. The retiring ABC World News anchor said that "it’s time to move on" since objectivity is "less of a marketable commodity." But Kurtz also underlined how Gibson dared to keep airing live coverage of Ted Kennedy’s funeral until they were able to broadcast the reading of Ted Kennedy’s letter to Pope Benedict. These passages came late in the article:
Gibson worries whether broadcast networks will be able to support sizable editorial staffs in an era of declining audiences, when cable news channels are louder -- and more profitable. "Objectivity -- or the extent to which we strive for objectivity -- is less of a marketable commodity," he says. "People seem to want to hear news presented according to their own beliefs, and I don't understand that."
"I'm so much of a traditional, over-the-air broadcaster. I'm aware that it's changing, and I'm not adapting fast enough with it. Having hit the perfect arc of this business, I think it's time to move on."
Keith Olbermann is furious at ABC's David Wright for "selectively editing" a clip from the Daily Show with John Stewart. Olbermann called for Wright to be fired for this horrendous slight against journalistic integrity, then proceeded to selectively edit the same segment.
The Daily Show clip in question (reported initially at NB by Noel Sheppard) showed John Stewart fuming at the infamous East Anglia CRU staff for attempting to "hide the decline" by manipulating climate data. Wright showed Stewart saying, "Poor Al Gore, global warming completely debunked, via the very Internet you invented. Oh!"
Olbermann, in dubbing Wright the "worst person," showed an expanded clip of Stewart clearly denying that ClimateGate has "debunked" the global warming theory: "Poor Al Gore, global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented. Oh! Oh, the irony, the irony. Actually, the real story is not quite that sensational. Now, does it disprove global warming? No, of course not!"
To coincide with the many changes at ABC News that begin today with George Stephanopoulos accepting the offer to replace Diane Sawyer as co-host of Good Morning America, NewsBusters's parent organization the Media Research Center (MRC) has unveiled their freshly updated Profiles in Bias of both left wing icons, as Sawyer will step into the World News anchor shoes of Charles Gibson later this month.
These profiles document the 12 years that Stephanopoulos has dedicated to left wing advocacy and more than 10 years Sawyer has delivered on-camera at ABC. From lavishing praise to liberals like Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons and President Obama to undermining conservatives and pushing their personal policy agendas, both anchors have provided endless of examples to cite. These Profiles in Bias also include more than a dozen videos of on-camera lowlights.
"This is nothing more than a pathetic game of lefty musical chairs," MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell scoffed. "The All Barack Channel has managed to keep all their liberal blood in the family, rotating anchor chairs and ensuring the same left-wing cheerleading and conservative bashing will continue in their network morning and evening hours for years to come."
ABC and CBS discounted the scientific relevance of the admissions and obfuscations displayed in the ClimateGate e-mails, but on Wednesday night they finally devoted full stories to the controversy and quoted the “most-damning” of the e-mails, the ones referring to a “trick” to “hide the decline” in a temperature measurement and in which a scientist fretted “we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can't.”
The two networks, however, painted the “stolen” e-mails not as laudatory whistle-blowing, but as an unwanted impediment to the left's global warming agenda. “Just as the world seems finally poised to do something about global warming, an inconvenient scandal,” ABC's David Wright began in playing off the title of Al Gore's movie. He despaired that “as the controversy heats up, the consensus about making the tough choices to curb carbon emissions threatens to crumble.”
On CBS, Wyatt Andrews relayed how “to many Republicans, ClimateGate proves that global warming is a deception,” before he countered: “But if that's true, it's a fraud adopted by most of the world's leading scientists, along with NASA, the U.N., the American Medical Association, and the National Academies of Science of 32 countries, including the United States. To most of them, ClimateGate is a sideshow compared to one overwhelming fact:” Viewers then were treated to this declaration from the scientist with the “hide the decline” boast: “The last decade is the warmest decade on record.”
“Facing a clock some say has ticked down to zero, today 192 nations came together to take on a potential global catastrophe,” a dire ABC reporter Bob Woodruff ominously intoned from Copenhagen on Monday’s World News with “Saving the Planet?” on screen.
Those attending the conference on climate change “where an official said today the clock has ticked down to zero and it's time to act,” NBC anchor Brian Williams warned, “say it's so late in the game, so much damage has been done, they fear they can already see how this ends.” Anne Thompson then declared: “This is about life or death -- 192 countries are here in Copenhagen to cut the carbon emissions changing the climate and threatening the very existence of some nations and their people.”
Echoing that theme, CBS’s Mark Phillips stood in water up to his neck and then became completely submerged to illustrate the feared impact of rising sea levels: “The Maldives have become the canary in the global warming coal mine.”
NBC and ABC raised “ClimateGate” in passing – without actually using the term – only to dismiss the revelations. “The man who leads the U.N. panel that blames human activity for climate change said the science is broad and consistent,” Thompson reassured NBC viewers. Woodruff applied the “denier” pejorative as he asserted “climate change deniers say these e-mails are proof humans aren't causing global warming,” but “U.S. officials say the evidence proves otherwise.”
More than two weeks after ClimateGate broke, ABC's World News finally got around to mentioning it on Sunday evening, but not to explore how the e-mails discredited leading scientists who insist mankind is causing global warming as, instead, ABC declared “the science is solid” and NBC assured viewers “the evidence is overwhelming that man is behind climate change.”
ABC reporter Clayton Sandell merely included, in a larger story about the Copenhagen conference, how “global warming naysayers are claiming that e-mails stolen from” East Anglia University “show climate scientists discussing how to fudge results to promote the idea that humans are altering the planet.” After failing to inform viewers of any specifics the e-mails revealed, Sandell, who didn't utter a syllable about them on Sunday's Good Morning America, concluded his World News piece:
The science is solid, according to a vast majority of researchers, with hotter temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea level providing the proof.
Over on the NBC Nightly News, following a shoddy Friday night story, Anne Thompson checked in from Copenhagen with a story on “cautious optimism that a political agreement can be reached on reducing carbon dioxide emissions,” before she repeated the usual hysteria about how “the Greenland ice sheet...is melting at an ever faster pace.” Only at the very end did Thompson raise “this scandal called ClimateGate,” offering the most-benign explanation of how “essentially, in those e-mails, some climate scientists seem to be suggesting that perhaps they're massaging the data.” But, she countered in citing the UN's Yvo de Boer:
When you look at the overall science and the fact that science from around the world has been reviewed by scientists around the world -- 2,500 by the UN -- he says the evidence is overwhelming that man is behind climate change.
Yet again the Thursday network evening newscasts on NBC, ABC, and CBS failed to cover the ClimateGate scandal. However, ABC World News did manage to devote a two minute story to the release of singer Susan Boyle’s first album.
[Editor's Note: Call and write the networks about this. Click here to sign the petition at our MRCAction.org Web site]
On Thursday afternoon, ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper reported the controversy on his blog: “President Obama’s science adviser, Dr. John Holdren, faced a barrage of questions yesterday from Republican Members of Congress about a series of hacked emails at the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit that climate change skeptics have seized upon as evidence that the whole concept of climate change is a hoax.” Apparently ABC reporters are allowed to discuss the topic online, just not on air.
Interestingly, World News anchor Charles Gibson did a brief report on climate change on Thursday, about how the bad economy has reduced carbon emissions: “The government said today that one offshoot of the recession is cleaner air. Total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. fell 2.2% last year, the decline due in part to record high oil prices, which resulted in less driving.” Gibson looked for that economic upside as he reported live outside the White House for the Obama administration’s jobs summit.
As the MRC’s Business and Media Institute reported on Wednesday, in the twelve days since emails were released showing climate scientists manipulating global warming data, many in the media have been stunningly silent.
The evening network newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC have failed to make any mention of the scandal going on day thirteen since the story broke.
On NBC’s Nightly News on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams failed to cover the climate controversy, but did manage to find the time to congratulate himself on his fifth anniversary of taking over the broadcast from Tom Brokaw.
As NewsBusters’ Noel Sheppard reported on Wednesday, even faux news anchor Jon Stewart referenced ClimateGate on The Daily Show.
The the three broadcast network evening newscasts on Wednesday informed viewers that President Obama has decided to attend the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen – while ignoring news of Climategate – but the NBC Nightly News uniquely devoted a full story to Obama’s intention to take part in the conference, and the prospects that America will bend to pressure from other countries in agreeing to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Anchor Brian Williams introduced the report calling global warming "one of the biggest issues facing the planet," and correspondent Anne Thompson relayed fears that "time is running out," and hopes that Obama will deliver "more than political hot air" on the issue. Thompson: "As scientists insist time is running out to combat global warming, news that President Obama will attend next month's climate talks revived hopes that Copenhagen would produce more than political hot air."
Allegedly a hacker broke into the University's computer system and posted thousands of emails and documents showing an effort by scientists, some on the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose research has had a profound impact in shaping U.S. policy proposal on efforts to curb so-called anthropogenic climate change. Those emails and documents revealed an effort by some the scientists to manipulate data to exaggerate the threat of global warming and that has even prompted Sen. James Inhofe, Okla., the ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works committee to call for an investigation.
Such a story would seem to be a no-brainer for the ABC, CBS and NBC to pick up on, but their Nov. 24 broadcasts failed to do so. What did they opt for instead? A sea lion glut in San Francisco, an orphaned moose in Vermont and the meal selection on the President's State Dinner.
Long after conservatives and the American people figured it out, CBS on Monday night came to the realization President Barack Obama has a “credibility” problem fueled by the “disconnect” between Obama's promise to reduce the deficit as he pushes for massive new spending. Back in August, the CBS Evening News denigrated the town hall questioners as “unruly protests,” but on Monday reporter Chip Reid warned:
The American people are increasingly questioning the President's credibility. He says the stimulus has saved or created 640,000 jobs, but only seven percent of Americans believe it has created any. And he's repeatedly promised health care reform will not increase the deficit, but a mere 19 percent believe him.
Reid proceeded to relay how CBS News analyst John Dickerson “says for many Americans there's a basic disconnect -- a President who promises to trim the budget but only seems to want to spend and spend.” More amazing for CBS, Reid noted how “highly respected foreign policy analyst Leslie Gelb” called Obama's just-completed Asia trip “'amateur hour' for failing to get deals locked in before the President left home.”
In contending America already has health care rationing, ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a universal coverage advocate, on Friday night's World News asserted “we have a lot of rationing, based on income, the kind of insurance you have, the way you can navigate the health system” and “a recent Harvard study estimated that 45,000 people died each year in this country because of lack of health insurance. If that's not rationing, I don't know what is.”
That “Harvard study,” which the CBS Evening News promoted two months ago, was really produced by the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), a left-wing advocacy group which touts itself as “the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.” Study co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler of PNHP is one of five signers of an “Open Letter to President Obama to Support Single-Payer Health Care.”
Tuesday’s World News with Charles Gibson showed clips of an interview between Barbara Walters and Sarah Palin which will air on Friday’s 20/20. At one point, Walters seemed to allude to the fact that there is a misconception that Palin once claimed that “I can see Russia from my house,” during the 2008 campaign, as evidence of her foreign policy experience. But Walters did not clearly identify those words as part of the famous Saturday Night Live skit as they were uttered by Tina Fey playing Palin to parody what the Alaska governor had actually said in an interview with Gibson from September 2008. Walters:
On the business of “I can see Russia from my backyard,” what you did say to Charlie Gibson was that there were places in Alaska where one could see Russia. Do you still feel that Alaska’s proximity to Russia from whatever place you can see it, is significant foreign policy experience?
As Gibson and Palin discussed the conflict between Russia and Georgia, Gibson had asked last year, "What insight into Russian actions particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of this state give you?"
NBC and CBS’s morning shows on Tuesday completely ignored the revelation that the Obama administration’s Recovery.gov website claims to have saved or created jobs in congressional districts that don’t exist. ABC’s Good Morning America devoted 21 seconds to the developing story.
On ABCNews.com, Jonathan Karl wrote, "In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending." There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona. On Monday night’s World News, the network did manage a full report by Karl. He elaborated, "And it lists $34 million spent in Arizona's 86th district. That district doesn't exist either. In fact, in virtually every state, the website lists millions of dollars spent and hundreds of jobs created in fictional congressional districts."
Leftists including those in the White House who presumptively and obsessively attack Fox News will not be pleased with this.
At Forbes (HT Hot Air Headlines), S. Robert Lichter of George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs, asks the question, "Fox News: Fair And Balanced?" -- and answers in the affirmative. In the process, the GMU Professor of Communications also makes a number of interesting points about Fox's competitors, discusses the convergence of news and analysis, and provides useful historical context.
Using a methodology that would be difficult to refute, Lichter's work relating to campaign 2008 is in sync with what CMPA found in late 2007 (noted at the time at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) during the opening stages of the presidential campaign.
Here are key paragraphs from Lichter's commentary (bolds are mine):
Former Congressman William Jefferson, the New Orleans Democrat with bribery cash hidden in his freezer, was sentenced Friday to 13 years in prison, the longest-ever for a Member of Congress on a corruption charge -- yet the CBS Evening News didn't utter a word about it, just as that newscast ignored his August conviction, while ABC's World News didn't bother to mention his party affiliation.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams noted Jefferson's party in this short item: “Former Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson made headlines a while back when the FBI found $90,000 in cash hidden in his freezer. Today, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for taking bribes.”
ABC's Charles Gibson, however, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noticed, failed to identify Jefferson as a Democrat: “Former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for his conviction on federal bribery charges. Authorities found $90,000 wrapped in foil in Jefferson’s freezer, part of the half million dollars prosecutors say he received for using his influence to broker business deals in Africa.”
News that President Barack Obama is demanding new Afghanistan options and answers, after months and eight meetings with top officials on General Stanley McChrystal's request for more troops, led ABC anchor Charles Gibson to express exasperation Thursday night: “What new questions are there to be asked after all this time?”
CBS and NBC, however, weren't so dubious. Though Katie Couric painted “a long, drawn out process,” Chip Reid assigned gravitas to Obama as he asserted Obama “has been agonizing over this decision” and “recently immersed himself in the agony of war.” Reid touted: “That the President is so thoroughly researching such a critical decision is a good thing, according to CBS News national security consultant Juan Zarate.” Reid acknowledged that “there's great danger, he [Zarate] says, if it looks like uncertainty.”
Journalists, though, are making Obama look more deliberative than uncertain. ABC's Martha Raddatz assured Gibson that Obama “has four options in front of him” and “he wants to combine those options...to find the best option.”
World News anchor Charles Gibson admitted on Tuesday, "I worry about the lack of objectivity and the future of the news business." According to the Boston Herald, the ABC host spoke before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and said of Fox News and MSNBC: "I don’t like the fact that they’re delivering news based on the conviction of its viewers." He also derided some viewers who "watch news that plays to their own prejudices."
With no sense of irony, Gibson attacked Republicans for being obstructionist on health care: "It’s not being very productive to have an opposition party that simply says, ‘We are going to fight the president no matter what on health-care reform. We are not going to give you a single vote and we are going to march in lock step against you." He added that this is "not good for the country."
Networks Decide Attack Wasn't Terror: 85 percent of the broadcast stories didn't mention the word "terror." ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news referenced terrorism connections to the Fort Hood attack just seven times in 48 reports.
ABC, CBS, NBC Follow White House Line: Before Obama's Nov. 10 speech, 93 percent of the stories had ignored any terror connection. But after Obama hinted at what ABC called "Islamic extremist views," all three networks mentioned terrorism.
Alleged Attacker's Muslim Faith Not Important Either: Slightly more than one-fourth (29 percent) of evening news reports mentioned that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was a Muslim. Of those, half (7 out of 14) defended the religion or included experts to do so.
Last week, Fort Hood, Texas was the site of the worst mass shooting in history on a U.S. military base. At 2:34 p.m. local time on Nov. 5, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan - one of the military's own - reportedly attacked fellow soldiers, yelling, "Allah Akbar." He then allegedly fired more than 100 rounds into Fort Hood's crowded processing center, killing 13 and wounding 29. This heinous act stunned the nation and captivated the news media.
Tuesday night ABC's Brian Ross highlighted how in a 2007 presentation mass-murdering Army Major Nidal Hasan exposed his radicalism and adherence to Islam over the U.S. Army as he charged “it's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims,” and declared: “We love death more than you love life.”
But neither CBS nor NBC cited those quotes for their viewers as they gave short-shrift to Hasan's remarks in “The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military,” a slide show disclosed by Dana Priest in Tuesday's Washington Post (click on “Launch Photo Gallery” for Hasan's entire presentation at Walter Reed in June of 2007).
On the NBC Nightly News, Pete Williams just briefly noted how Hasan asserted that “releasing Muslim soldiers as conscientious objectors would increase troop morale and, quote, 'decrease adverse events.'” Bob Orr, on CBS, at least characterized it as “a shocking presentation to colleagues,” and related only how “Hasan argued forcing Muslim soldiers to fight wars in Muslim countries puts them 'at risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly' and he ominously warned of 'adverse events.'”
ABC doubled the length of its evening newscast on Friday night and World News used its second half hour to suggest an exculpatory reason behind Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan's mass killing at Fort Hood -- as anchor Charles Gibson reasoned “treating the mentally wounded can be stressful” -- then to devote a story to the plight of Muslim soldiers: “It's not easy for anyone serving in the armed forces these days, but with America fighting Islamic enemies overseas, Muslim troops face a unique burden.” Reporter Bill Weir despaired:
The Pentagon has made a real concerted effort to create a military that is culturally sensitive and religiously tolerant, but Muslims in uniform today face a challenge not seen since Japanese-Americans fought in World War II. They taste suspicion from some fellow soldiers who question their loyalty and resentment from fellow Muslims opposed to both American wars.
Weir featured a Muslim soldier who lamented “our religion teaches better,” before Weir painted Muslim soldiers as victims of intolerance, highlighting the experience of one Muslim soldier who “began his overseas deployment on 9/11, and taunts followed him throughout his four-year enlistment.”
Despite the mass shooting at Fort Hood, the ABC, CBS and NBC newscasts Thursday night squeezed in full stories pegged to a “kill the bill” anti-Pelosi/ObamaCare rally outside the U.S. Capitol attended by “angry protesters” as all the stories also stressed how President Obama got a “boost” from “big,” “powerful” “key” and “major” endorsements from the AARP and AMA.
NBC's Brian Williams contrasted “big endorsements by two influential groups” with “a big, noisy rally urging lawmakers to just say no,” while reporter Kelly O'Donnell minimized the conservative event as “a few thousand protesters.” ABC's Jonathan Karl, however, recognized how “the hastily-planned protest drew one of the largest crowds in memory for a congressional event. The crowd extends all the way up around to the House side of the building, across to the Senate side, literally surrounding the western front of the Capitol.”
NBC's Kelly recounted how the House bill would “expand health coverage to 96 percent of Americans, and create government-backed insurance called a public option. Today that plan won a powerful endorsement. AARP, the lobby group for Americans over 50, signed on and showed off boxes of supportive petitions” and that was “followed by another boost, the doctors' lobby, the American Medical Association.”
Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News, in their East coast feeds Thursday night, noted the Muslim religious beliefs of the mass killer at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, but ABC anchor Charles Gibson wasn't cowed by political correctness as he teased World News, “Fort Hood tragedy: An Army officer, a Muslim convert, is the suspect in a shooting spree...” Introducing his first story, Gibson referred to how Major Nidal Malik Hasan “an army officer, a Muslim, opened fire with handguns...” (With a range of frequency, during late afternoon/early evening coverage, CNN, FNC and MSNBC all identified Hasan as a Muslim.)
Cryptically, ABC's senior foreign affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz, concluded a story on reaction at Fort Hood: “As for the suspect, Nadal Hasan, as one officer's wife told me, 'I wish his name was Smith.'” So, a concern this will lead to groundless fear of Muslims?
The CBS Evening News avoided any mention of Islam or Muslim faith as Katie Couric provided this benign description: “Today, according to the Army, a soldier opened fire....He's identified tonight as Army Major Nadal Malik Hasan, a licensed psychiatrist and drug and rehab specialist from Bethesda, Maryland.” NBC anchor Brian Williams: “The soldier, identified as the initial gunman here, is an Army psychiatrist, Nadal Malik Hasan. He's an officer, a Major, and he was apparently armed with two handguns.” NBC's Pete Williams insisted, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noticed, “everything about his background is rock solid, and nothing extraordinary stands out about his background.”