On Monday morning, Time/MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin explained an obvious political reality to his fellow Morning Joe panelists: “The White House does not have much incentive” to negotiate on the government shutdown, because Democrats expect the liberal news media to hand them a public relations victory. As Halperin put it: “The press is largely sympathetic to their arguments that it’s the House Republicans’ fault.”
In fact, as a new Media Research Center analysis of broadcast network evening news coverage shows, ABC, CBS and NBC spent the two weeks prior to the shutdown almost universally pinning the blame on congressional Republicans, especially conservative/Tea Party House Republicans. By the time the shutdown actually took place on October 1, news audiences had been repeatedly instructed to think about it as a GOP-generated crisis.
Monday night’s edition of ABC World News was a double dose of advocacy as Diane Sawyer and her team essentially served as a mouthpiece for President Obama’s position on the government shutdown and his health care law.
Sawyer led the broadcast, of course, with the government shutdown, which was then only a few hours away. She stated President Obama’s perspective on the matter: “The president expressed outrage that one faction in one house of Congress is ready to bring the entire federal government to a halt.” But rather than follow that up with a Republican viewpoint, Sawyer threw to chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl for a report on the shutdown. He began his package by playing a clip of Obama warning us all about the economic impact of a shutdown. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
With the ObamaCare exchanges set to take effect today, and polls showing the President’s health care law as unpopular as ever (a September 25 poll from CBS News/New York Times found 51% “somewhat” or “strongly” disapproved of the law), the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks have been reluctant to report the multiple fiascos surrounding its implementation:
■ On July 2 and 3, all three broadcast networks covered the one-year postponement of the ObamaCare employer mandate as a “surprising,” “significant setback” for the President. But that was it for major coverage of that delay — apart from a few passing mentions in other stories, after July 3 the networks only discussed the employer mandate delay on the Sunday talk shows.
The journalists at ABC News have not made an effort to hide their disgust with the conservative effort to oppose funding ObamaCare. On Wednesday, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos derided Ted Cruz's fight against it as "bizarre." On Thursday night, World News's Jon Karl sneered that it was "absurd." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Karl described the possible government shutdown as a situation where "we've got a furious President calling his opponents crazy...and a Republican Party willing to go to the brink." The journalist brought up past confrontations between Obama and the GOP, petulantly wondering, "Lessons learned? Nah." The supposedly neutral Karl skewered, "The absurdities were on display when Tea Party hero Ted Cruz gave his 20 hour-plus speech demanding an end to ObamaCare in exchange for funding the government."
ABC on Wednesday morning dismissed Ted Cruz as "bizarre." But that night on the network's World News, reporter Jeff Zeleny featured a man who will lose his health coverage because of ObamaCare. In a noticeable break from Good Morning America's coverage, Zeleny also allowed, "The bottom line for millions: many young and healthy will likely pay more while older and sick Americans get a break and costs vary widely."
On GMA, Zeleny skipped the substance of Cruz's complaints against the health care law. On World News, the journalist conceded, "[Cruz] told story after story how families are bracing for ObamaCare." Zeleny highlighted, "In Pittsburgh, Dan Howard received a letter saying his policy will be cancelled because of the new law. Married with six children, he's struggling to find coverage."
While ObamaCare remains widely unpopular with the American people, on Tuesday's ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer touted how "the President is bringing out the big gun to argue it will lead to a healthier and cheaper medical cost for Americans." In the report that followed, correspondent Bob Woodruff gushed: "Call it Bill Clinton to the rescue....the President turns to the man he calls his secretary of explaining stuff." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd declared: "...the White House thought, hey, this is a great opportunity to tap Bill Clinton to help them do what Bill Clinton did in 2012, demystify a little bit of some of the issues around the economy. This time on health care there was a lot of theatrics as well."
The networks on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning derided the conservative uprising against ObamaCare, mocking Senator Ted Cruz's "bizarre," "long-winded protest" against funding for the law. This stands in stark contrast to how ABC, CBS and NBC hyped "folk hero" Wendy Davis.
On Wednesday, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos opened the program by needling the "Tea Party senator's all-night marathon fight against the President in a bizarre, blockbuster speech on Capitol Hill." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Reporter Jeff Zeleny, rather than focus on the substance of the arguments from Senator Cruz, gossiped, "He talked about Dr. Seuss. And in the wee night hours, he even invoked the reality show, Duck Dynasty."
So much for the recovery. Even liberals admit employment is “weak,” that household wealth hasn’t recovered and consumer experts say middle-class retailers are “struggling.” But two of the three broadcast news networks have been much more focused on “proof that the economy is getting stronger,” than on economic worries since the May jobs report was released June 6.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke surprised some on Sept. 18, when he postponed the tapering off of its huge monetary “stimulus” policy called quantitative easing (QE). At the same time, the Fed cut economic growth forecasts. Reuters reported that “the Fed cut its forecast for 2013 economic growth to a 2.0 percent to 2.3 percent range from a June estimate of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent. The downgrade for 2014 was even sharper.”
The censorship of the IRS scandal by ABC, CBS and NBC has reached a new low. Not even the news of Lois Lerner’s retirement, the official at the center of the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal, could break the Big Three networks’ months-long streak of no scandal coverage.
The Drudge Report splashed the news on the top of its site on Monday but not a single network bothered to report the stunning news that night or Tuesday morning that Lerner, as the Washington Times reported, “retired from the agency Monday morning after an internal investigation found she was guilty of ‘neglect of duties’ and was going to call for her ouster, according to congressional staff.”
The Big Three broadcast networks made their slanted priorities clear on their Thursday evening newscasts, as they fawned over Caroline Kennedy's Senate confirmation hearing earlier that day, but failed to cover the emotional congressional testimony of Pat Smith. Smith is the mother of Sean Smith, who died in the 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. post in Benghazi, Libya.
ABC's Martha Raddatz was awestruck over JFK's daughter: "For one brief shining moment, senators from both sides of the aisle seemed to harken back to the so-called Camelot days." NBC's Harry Smith gushed that "history and legacy were more important this morning than party or partisanship. The daughter of a president said she wanted to fulfill her father's wish." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC, CBS and NBC have so far refused to report the latest bombshell in the IRS scandal - a newly released list from the agency that showed it flagged political groups for “anti-Obama rhetoric.” On September 18 the USA Today, in a front page story, reported the following: “Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about ‘anti-Obama rhetoric,’ inflammatory language and ‘emotional’ statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status.”
Not only have ABC, CBS and NBC not reported this story they’ve flat out stopped covering the IRS scandal on their evening and morning shows. It’s been 85 days since ABC last touched the story on June 26. NBC hasn’t done a report for 84 days and CBS last mentioned the IRS scandal 56 days ago on July 24.
Barack Obama appeared on all three networks (as well as CNN and PBS) Monday night to try and salvage support for his planned strike against Syria. But it was World News anchor Diane Sawyer who appeared ready to preemptively credit the President with possibly solving the unraveling issue.
The host began the program by touting, "And moments ago, I sat down with President Obama who seemed to be signaling the tough stand by the U.S. may have caused a dictator to back down." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Sawyer added, "If Bashar al-Assad yields control of his chemical weapons to international authority, are we back from the brink?" Both CBS and NBC offered tougher questions to the President, pressing Obama on lack of support from the American people.
According to the three networks, the serious effort by conservatives to defund ObamaCare isn't worth as much coverage as the addition of a new dog to the President's family. In just a 24-hour period, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning shows devoted six minutes and 23 seconds to the debut of the puppy "Sunny." In contrast, those same shows have granted a scant two minutes and 26 seconds over a two-month period (July 9 through September 8) to the move by conservative senators such as Mike Lee and Ted Cruz to strip funding from the increasingly-unpopular ObamaCare.
The networks didn't bother to stack the deck with segments heavily opposed to the "Defund It" push, promoted by influential conservative organizations and some GOP lawmakers. Instead, they chose to deprive the campaign of nearly all publicity, omitting it from their normal political coverage. ABC was the worst offender, with the network offering a mere eight second reference to the defund effort.
Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead and sent the Obama administration scrambling for a cover story that the Big Three broadcast networks initially bought and were slow to unravel.
A similar pattern has emerged in 2013. As new information about the administration’s actions before and after the attacks have been revealed through congressional testimony, whistleblowers, and eyewitnesses, the Big Three have responded by censoring, breezing past or spinning politically damaging bombshells. (full special report after the jump)
It seems even Barack Obama doesn't want to be seen on MSNBC.
The Washington Post reported moments ago that the President of the United States, ahead of his address to the nation about Syria Tuesday, will give interviews to the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC, NBC and PBS Monday.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News twice underlined President Obama's 2012 "red line" remark before playing a soundbite of the Democrat's "I didn't set a red line" reversal earlier in the day. Scott Pelley noted that "a year ago, he [Obama] warned the Syrian dictator that a red line would be crossed if the dictator used chemical weapons against his rebellious citizens." Major Garrett soon added that Obama "set a red line on the use of chemical weapons 13 months ago." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
None of the Big Three evening newscasts played the actual clip of the President's 2012 warning. On NBC Nightly News, Chuck Todd did his best to explain away the President's denial: "The President redefined what he meant by his red line". Jonathan Karl didn't even mention the original "red line" comment during his report on ABC's World News.
In the media’s wall-to-wall Egypt coverage, one important facet of the ongoing crisis has gotten short shrift: the deadly plight of that nation’s Christians. The three broadcast networks in particular have buried the anti-Christian violence, devoting just 5 percent of Egypt reporting to it since last week. Six days ago, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohammed Morsi launched what some are calling a “pogrom” and “jihad” against Egypt’s Christian population.
Violence against Egypt’s Christian minority is nothing new. Nor is the media’s disinterest in it. But in the last week, that violence suddenly escalated to epidemic levels.
On Thursday morning, neither ABC nor CBS labeled former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. a Democrat as they reported on his 30 month jail sentence. NBC's Today did not report Jackson's sentence on Thursday, but on Wednesday they covered it without identifying him as a Democrat.
"Jesse Jackson, Jr. will spend two and a half years in prison. The former Illinois congressman was sentenced Wednesday," reported Charlie Rose, co-host of CBS This Morning. ABC's Josh Elliot said on Good Morning America that "former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for misusing campaign funds, spending $750,000 on things such as a gold Rolex and 500 dollar dinners."
On Tuesday morning, The New York Times reported the Obama administration had delayed a “significant consumer protection” in the Affordable Care Act, a provision that limits how much individuals and families can pay out-of-pocket for health care, until 2015. Under ObamaCare, the limit on out-of-pocket health care costs was set at $6,350 per year for individuals and $12,700 per year for families.
The Times suggested the delay “underscore[s] the difficulties the Obama administration is facing as it rolls out the health care law” – yet, the development was ignored by both ABC and NBC on their nightly and morning news programs. CBS This Morning also failed to report the delay, while CBS Evening News offered up a short segment on the story.
Donald Trump on Monday called ABC chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl's behavior the previous day "very dishonest."
Appearing on NewsMax TV's Steve Malzberg Show, Trump took issue with Karl claiming on ABC World News that he's "still raising questions about President Obama's birth certificate" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Former newspaper publisher Conrad Black made some interesting observations about the media Sunday.
After telling CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, “I don't think the majority of Americans would be quite as enthused about this administration as you are,” he proceeded to offer his opinion as to "why Rush Limbaugh has 30 million listeners and the network newscasts have declined” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC and NBC on Wednesday continued to pretend that one of Barack Obama's gaffes on the Tonight Show wasn't a mistake. World News's Jon Karl and Nightly News's Chuck Todd uncritically repeated the President's claim that Vladimir Putin "headed up the KGB." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In fact, he did not. The highest rank the now-Russian President obtained was Lieutenant Colonel in 1991.
Karl introduced the clip of Obama talking to host Jay Leno, insisting, "The President vented about it all last night with Jay Leno." But he made no mention of the error. Todd used the snippet as a way of demonstrating the difference between "famously flamboyant" Putin and "buttoned down and measured Obama."
Imagine if controversial, conservative radio host Michael Savage also ran a charity supporting poor, urban youths. Would ABC ignore the inflammatory things he has said and only focus on the positive? Not likely. Yet, World News guest anchor Byron Pitts on Sunday lauded hard-left Catholic Priest Father Pfleger as a "Chicago hope" who is in a "league of his own."
This is the same Father Pfleger who, during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, defended Barack Obama by excoriating, "America has been raping people of color and America has to pay the price for the rape!" This is the same Pfleger who threatened to "snuff" out a Chicago gun owner. World News journalists mentioned none of this. Instead, Pitts introduced, "Finally tonight, a story that reminds us all about the power of hope."
The same networks that have been minimizing and ignoring the growing scandal at the Internal Revenue Service all found time to fawn over 50-year-old footage of President Kennedy vacationing with family. A World News graphic on Sunday night thrilled, "Return to Camelot."
Anchor David Muir breathlessly narrated the video to cloying, emotional music provided by ABC: "President Kennedy teeing off. The 46-year-old President putting and, well, missing the shot. The camera trained on him though for the entire round of golf and with the next putt there is more success." Muir gushed over footage of a young Caroline Kennedy on "the lap of her father as they finished their sun-splashed weekend fifty years ago tonight." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell zeroed in on her network's latest poll that found that "more Americans than ever want the health care law repealed". However, she tried to explain it away by asserting that the public just needed to be educated: "This is the same problem the White House has faced from the very beginning about a lack of understanding about what is involved in ObamaCare." In the CBS News poll, 54 percent disapprove of ObamaCare.
NBC's Chuck Todd also briefly noted at an end of a report that an "all-time record low of people in our poll thinks his health care law is a good idea – just 34 percent" on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News. However, ABC has yet to report on their latest poll on ObamaCare on their morning and evening newscasts.
Everyone’s happy about the arrival of the future king of Britain – that is, everyone at leisure to take note. Presumably, Middle Eastern Christians have been too busy trying to survive to worry over whether the Duchess of Cambridge was in false labor.
And while the hard-nosed journalists at ABC, CBS and NBC have been knitting booties and speculating on names, Middle Eastern Christians have been attacked by Islamists, prevented from worshipping, driven from homes and villages, beaten and executed.
CBS Evening News stood out among the Big Three evening newscasts on Tuesday in their failure to cover former Rep. Anthony Weiner's admission that he sent lewd text messages even after his resignation in 2011. The CBS show apparently deemed the British royal family's new baby, the doping scandal in baseball, and whale watching to be more important news items. ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News both devoted air time to the Weiner story.
The network finally reported on the latest revelations about the disgraced politician on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, but failed to point out his Democratic affiliation. Jan Crawford merely identified him as a "former U.S. congressman turned New York City mayoral candidate."
All three networks on Thursday night and Friday morning avoided key factors in the bankruptcy of Detroit, skipping the city's astronomically high tax rate and ignoring Democratic dominance for the previous half century. (Detroit's last Republican mayor left office in 1962.) Instead, ABC, NBC and CBS acted as though the bankruptcy, what Brian Williams called "the slow-moving tragedy of decline," was something that just happened.
On Good Morning America, Betty Liu gently summarized, "What happened here? Well, people have been leaving the city for years. Back in the 1950s, you had almost two million people, at the peak, living in Detroit. Now, just 700,000. So they've lost half their population." She added, "When you have fewer people living in the city, you're collecting less income and property taxes." Why are people fleeing the city? Lacking curiosity, Liu didn't bring that point up. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have essentially censored the latest IRS scandal news. Not a single network reported on the bombshell coming out of Thursday’s congressional hearing that IRS employees were ordered to send Tea Party tax-exemption applications to the office of the IRS’s Chief Counsel, which was headed by William Wilkins, who at that time was the only Obama political appointee at the IRS.
The Big Three networks have also ignored this week’s news that tax records of political candidates (including one-time GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell) and certain donors were improperly accessed by government officials, and that the Justice Department has, so far, refused to prosecute the offenders.