On Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd was looking for any excuse to be an Obama spokesman as made this declaration about the announced retirement of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe: "...she's serving as a personal testimonial to the President, who says there's no more centrist coalition inside the Republican Party." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday, ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer praised the liberal GOP legislator as, "The principled voice of reason in some of the most contentious debates in Washington..." and noted how fellow Maine Senator and Republican moderate Susan Collins was "absolutely devastated by this decision."
It’s been nearly three weeks since President Obama faced a political backlash over his plan to force religious institutions to bow to government bureaucrats when it came to supplying birth control coverage to their employees. Since then, the liberal media — led by the broadcast networks — have helped re-script the story to suit the President’s political needs. Instead of a story about the overreach of big government and violation of religious freedom, the networks are now spinning the birth control story as one about out-of-control conservatives, to the point of ignoring broad and continuing opposition — including a lawsuit by seven state attorneys general — to the President’s power grab.
The MRC reviewed coverage from the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts starting with Obama’s February 10 declaration of a unilateral “compromise” meant to end the controversy. Our analysis shows how the networks re-framed the story from one that was damaging to Obama into one that reporters thought would hurt his opponents:
In the wake of new sexual revelations concerning John F. Kennedy and a nineteen-year-old White House intern, you would think media members would shy away from putting the former president on a pedestal concerning his religious beliefs.
Yet there was ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer Monday telling George Stephanopoulos of his previous day's interview with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, "Couldn’t believe that he was going on the offensive on church and state and the separation of them against John Kennedy" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While ABC's World News declared "a big chunk of the pain at the pump is Wall Street's fault" on Thursday, on NBC's Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams similarly announced: "The problem is gas prices are largely set by commodities traders, also known these days as speculators."
Correspondent Miguel Almaguer reported on "backlash from both sides of the register" as a sound bite played of Los Angeles gas station owner Andre Van Der Valk ranting: "Consumers should be very, very angry and very challenging of the oil companies. That's where it all starts."
ABC on Thursday and Friday hyped the idea, pushed by Nancy Pelosi, that oil speculators on Wall Street are to blame for high gas prices, citing a "top government watchdog." Of course, the network neglected to inform viewers that Bart Chilton, who is a commissioner on the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, is an ex-Democratic staffer.
On Friday, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott described the options as blaming "tension in the Middle East or speculators on Wall Street for the skyrocketing prices." Not offered as a choice was Barack Obama. Now, when gas prices were high under Bush, there were more stories and the blame was directed at the Republican President.
The Big Three networks all recognized the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's historic orbital spaceflight on their evening newscasts on Monday. Both NBC and CBS highlighted how there's "no certainty when the U.S. will launch astronauts again, [and] Glenn worries America may be losing its edge." But the networks failed to mention that President Obama put the decades-old endeavor in limbo, which led to the unemployment of thousands of technicians.
Brian Williams concluded his report on NBC Nightly News by noting how "it irks Senator Glenn that the manned space program is now idle. The Shuttle program is over, and the only ride available into space for American astronauts is the Russians, the former enemy that [he] was chasing into space 50 years ago today."
In anticipation of Michigan's GOP primary the liberal media have been playing up Barack Obama as the savior of Detroit and turning Mitt Romney into its villain. Even though the auto bailout has cost taxpayers $14 billion the liberal media have been championing Detroit's "comeback" as a victory for the Obama administration.
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, Dean Reynolds practically crowed, as he asked GM Chairman Daniel Akerson: "Did President Obama save General Motors?" Reynolds then pointed out how Romney "argued the bailout was unnecessary, and that the regular bankruptcy process would have made GM and Chrysler stronger companies" and asked, "Would that have happened?" Akerson, dutifully responded that if not for the bailout: "you could have written off this company, this industry and this country." (video after the jump)
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Rick Santorum pushed back against Charlie Rose's interrogation about supporter Foster Friess's recent "bad off-color joke" on contraception, all but name-dropping former Obama pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright as an example of the media's double standard on playing "gotcha" politics with Republicans, but not Democrats.
Rose initially countered, "This is not gotcha; what this is, is trying to understand exactly what Rick Santorum stands for, and what he might say or do as president." But the GOP presidential candidate wasn't having any of it: "You don't do this with President Obama...he sat in a church for 20 years, and [you] defended him- that, oh, he can't possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years. It's a double standard...and I'm going to call you on it" [audio available here; video below the jump].
“Did President Obama save General Motors?” CBS’s Dean Reynolds asked General Motors Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson as both sat inside a GM plant. On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, Akerson affirmed he did and “the Obama administration did a good job.”
Reynolds pointed out how Mitt Romney “argued the bailout was unnecessary, and that the regular bankruptcy process would have made GM and Chrysler stronger companies. Would that have happened?” Akerson rejected the notion, insisting if not for the bailout “you could have written off this company, this industry, and this country.”
When ABC, CBS, and NBC finally got around to covering -- after two weeks of silence -- the controversy over the Obama administration's mandate that religious institutions provide health insurance for abortifacients, sterilization, and birth control, the networks downplayed the religious freedom component to the story, casting it instead as a political dogfight between liberals and conservatives.
MRC analysts studied all 36 stories, interview segments and mentions of the HHS mandate story on the Big Three broadcast networks from January 30 through February 15. Out of the 91 talking heads who appeared as soundbites on their morning or evening programs (or a small number of guests on the morning shows), politicians far outnumbered Church officials, by a margin of 60 to 9.
Previewing the Michigan primary, ABC’s David Muir found three Chrysler workers to boast of how the Obama administration’s auto bailout “worked” and “it would have been devastating” if Mitt Romney had his way and it didn’t occur. Muir cued up the workers to confirm “all of you had your jobs saved?”
Muir did note that “Romney says it’s the billions in government bailout money that came with it that was a sweetheart deal for the unions,” but countered with a sympathetic “Michigan mother” who declared: “It worked. The results show for themselves. We are on our way back. We are being profitable again.” Muir proceeded to a man who, he relayed, “says it wasn’t just his job saved, it was the police officer, the teacher...”
On Monday, uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC's World News skipped the news that Israeli diplomats were the targets of simultaneous assassination attempts in two different countries, most likely from Iranian sources.
After 19 days of controversy, CBS Evening News on Tuesday finally got around to covering the growing dispute between the Obama administration, who wants to impose a mandate for sterilizations and birth control on religious institutions, and the Catholic Church and its allies, who see it as a violation of religious liberty. All of the Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Tuesday covered the issue.
On Wednesday morning, CBS This Morning was actually the only network morning show that devoted a segment to the "hot-button issue," as anchor Gayle King labeled it. NBC's Today show gave a mere news brief on the "uproar" over the new federal policy, while ABC's Good Morning America ignored it.
Deaths, guns, whistle-blowers and the highest law officer in the land stonewalling a congressional investigation are the juicy ingredients of a story network news reporters would love to cover – if a Republican were in office. However, when Attorney General Eric Holder testified on Thursday (February 2) before a House oversight committee investigating Operation Fast and Furious, the news was completely ignored by NBC and ABC (there was one full story on Friday’s CBS This Morning). The virtual blackout of Holder’s testimony continues an overall trend of ABC and NBC burying one of the Obama administration’s biggest scandals, despite continual coverage by their competitors at CBS, CNN and Fox News.
MRC analysts reviewed the Big Three network evening and morning news shows and found that while CBS aired 29 stories and 1 brief on Fast and Furious, ABC aired only one brief on the June 15, 2011 edition of Good Morning America. That was still better than what NBC did on their morning and evening news programs, as the gunwalking story has never been mentioned on either NBC Nightly News or the Today show. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer, in a report primarily about a Mexican mother accusing border patrol agents of killing her 17-year old son as he tried to scale a wall, did note that “In December, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with bandits.” However, Almaguer never tied the Terry killing back to the gunwalking scandal.
ABC, CBS, and NBC spotlighted the Komen foundation's about-face on funding Planned Parenthood on their Friday evening newscasts, and played up the apparent role of social media in getting the charity to reverse its earlier decision. On World News, ABC's Diane Sawyer trumpeted the "dramatic day for people power," while on Nightly News, NBC's Lester Holt concluded, "score one for the power of social media."
The Big Three outlets also covered the 180 by the breast cancer organization on their Saturday morning shows. Altogether, the networks added seven more reports to the 13 from the first 60 hours or so of the controversy, bringing the total to 20 since February 1, versus only three on the face-off between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration since January 20 (the MRC documented and highlighted this imbalance in a report on Friday; ABC and NBC added mentions on their Sunday morning political shows).
The Big Three networks continued their blackout on covering the controversy involving the Obama administration trying to force Catholic institutions to include coverage of abortifacients and contraception in their health plans without a co-pay. Instead, Diane Sawyer on Wednesday's ABC World News highlighted Pfizer's recall of birth control pills that could "raise the risk of accidental pregnancy."
The same evening, both CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News aired reports on Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation discontinuing its funding of abortion perpetrator Planned Parenthood, with NBC's Brian Williams hyping how "thousands of women...[may] pay the biggest price" for the move.
A few years ago, when FNC's Fox and Friends substitute co-anchor Peter Johnson, Jr., accidentally referred to left-wing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as "Cesar Chavez," the famous American labor and civil rights activist, the flub received attention from some of FNC's left-wing critics, even though the FNC host corrected himself moments later.
But Tuesday's World News on ABC demonstrates that you don't have to be a target of the left to make the same flub. (Video below)
Fox News's Ed Henry challenged White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during a Tuesday briefing over the growing controversy surrounding the Obama administration's move on January 20 to force most employers to cover sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraceptives in their health care policies without co-pay. This new federal mandate would force Catholic institutions, like hospitals and schools, to decide whether to obey it or follow the Church's teachings against contraception.
Anchor Megyn Kelly trumpeted that "this is turning into a big deal, and the White House... [is] saying they believe they have struck the appropriate balance...the Catholic Church...saying, how is it the appropriate balance to delay...the time at which we'd have to violate our consciences?" [video clip below the jump] The Big Three networks, on the other hand, have all but ignored the issue during the past 11 days. Only CBS This Morning on Tuesday briefly mentioned the growing controversy.
NBC whitewashed the anti-American activities of the violent Occupy protests in Oakland. The network dedicated only 34 seconds to covering the riot, but refused to mention the fact that Oakland protestors burned an American flag - despite the fact that both its sister networks, ABC and CBS, had done so.
On Saturday, Jan. 28, nearly 400 Occupy Oakland protesters were arrested for their actions in a violent riot. Occupiers vandalized Oakland's historic City Hall and burned an American flag (which they stole from the City Hall). They were harshly criticized by the Democratic Oakland Mayor, Jean Quan, for their destructive actions. MRC TV obtained footage of the American flag being burned by Occupiers in Oakland while the Occupier shooting the video recited a mocking, anti-Semitic version of the Pledge of Allegiance.
“The secretary speaks,” ABC fill-in anchor David Muir excitedly teased at the top of Wednesday’s World News, “billionaire investor Warren Buffett and his secretary, who pays a much-higher tax rate than him. He says not fair. She’s now at the center of a huge debate. What does she think? An ABC News exclusive.” Muir promised that “tonight we hear from the secretary for the first time,” but she merely got to utter one sentence as ABC used her as a poster girl to hike taxes.
Reporter Bianna Golodryga recounted “a hero’s welcome” back in Omaha for “for a secretary thrust into the spotlight” by sitting as a stage prop behind the First Lady at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. President Obama, Golodryga helpfully explained in advancing Obama’s agenda, called for a minimum 30 percent tax rate on millionaires “after Republican candidate Mitt Romney revealed he made almost $43 million over two years, paying a tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010, not Debbie’s 35.8 percent.”
Barack Obama’s invitation to Warren Buffett’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, to tonight’s State of the Union Address is bound to please not only Bosanek’s boss but also the liberal media that has allied with Buffett in his mission to raise taxes on the rich. For over 10 years the Berkshire Hathaway CEO has campaigned to sop the wealthy with burdensome taxes, and his friends in the media have been all too willing to advance his myth that secretaries pay more in taxes than their boss.
The following articles from the MRC’s archive represent just a few of the more recent and obnoxious examples of Buffett and Obama’s friends in the media carrying water for their crusade to soak America’s job creators:
On their weekend evening news shows, the three major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) all ignored a Friday mandate from the Obama administration forcing non-profit religious employers to provide for contraception in their health insurance for employees. Critics had condemned the rule as a violation of religious liberty.
However, NBC had made sure to report that Congress was mulling defunding of Planned Parenthood back on the April 14, 2011 edition of Nightly News.
Diane Sawyer remains enthralled with the far-left “Occupy” protesters. Last October she championed “the Occupy Wall Street movement” by ludicrously claiming “it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries -- every continent but Antarctica.” (There are fewer than 200 nations.)
On Tuesday night, she trumpeted “Occupy igloos” at “Camp Igloo” – in Switzerland, not Antarctica.
“With Huntsman gone,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl despaired Monday night, “the field of Republican candidates has lost the only candidate who favored civil unions for gay couples and said he was concerned about climate change.” In his World News report, Karl recalled how Hunstman once “tweeted: ‘To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.’”
Over on the CBS Evening News, Jan Crawford noted how Huntsman was more popular with the news media than with Republicans: “Huntsman’s campaign never really took off, except among newspaper editorial boards.”
ABC on Tuesday night decided to showcase one guy yelling at Mitt Romney, as if it proved how media-liberal distortions of Mitt Romney’s “I like to fire people” remark will surely hurt him and follow him to South Carolina. Reporter David Muir showed video of Romney, in the middle of a crowd, holding a baby.
“But if you rewind the tape and play up the sound,” Muir explained from Manchester in setting up a re-play. Viewers then heard the voice of one man shouting: “Are you going to fire the baby? Are you going to fire the baby?” ABC helpfully put those words on screen.
World News anchor Diane Sawyer on Wednesday hailed a questionably legal recess appointment by Barack Obama, praising the incoming arrival of a "consumer champion" who will "help" Americans with their financial problems. The program offered no skepticism as to whether a new, unrestrained bureau could harm businesses in America.
Sawyer teased the program, "Consumer champion. Can this brand new man in town help you with your mortgage, your car loan, your credit cards?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Instead of any questions about the bureau, reporter Cecila Vega featured Pamela Banks of the Consumer Union, a group that supported the recess appointment of Richard Cordray.
Showing how no left-wing effort to raise taxes is too silly or embarrassing for ABC News to embrace, World News on Wednesday night jumped to promote a Web video, created by a group founded by a former Howard Dean operative and “featured contributor” to the Huffington Post (Rick Jacobs), to impose a higher state income tax rate on Californians earning over $1 million.
“First it was Warren Buffett,” anchor Diane Sawyer glowed in citing her hero, “and now it is reality TV star Kim Kardashian. What could they have in common? Both center stage on the question of fairness in the way the country taxes the rich versus the middle class. Some big unions in California have created an ad saying people like Kim Kardashian are the reason the tax code has to change.”
On Thursday's World News on ABC, substitute anchor David Muir brought up the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll numbers from Monday which at that time showed President Obama with a 47 percent approval rating and a 45 percent disapproval rating, the first time in recent memory that his approval number was higher than his disapproval. (Video below)
But, since Monday, the Gallup tracking poll numbers have turned further against Obama each day, with today's poll showing that the President's approval rating is back down to 41 percent with his disapproval up to 50 percent. As Muir referred to the Gallup survey as "one poll," he did not inform viewers that this same poll had trended away from Obama since Monday.
On Tuesday's World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl used the phrase "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" to label the tendency of Republicans presidential candidates to restrain negative attacks from their own campaigns, while independent groups that support the candidates are running more negative ads. While showing negative ads by supporters of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, Karl declared:
Friday's World News on ABC ran a report by correspondent Dan Harris which celebrated a 21-year-old former coma patient who was revived after his doctor decided to delay disconnecting him from life support.
Substitute anchor Josh Elliot followed up with a positive item regarding religion as he recounted a recent survey finding that the overwhelming majority of Americans - 77 percent - believe in the existence of angels. (Video below)