ABC, CBS, and NBC ballyhooed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates's attacks on President Obama and other high government officials on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts. NBC's Brian Williams and CBS's Norah O'Donnell also trumpeted the former Cabinet official's "devastating critique" of the President in his upcoming memoir. All three networks also played up Gates's self-identification as a Republican.
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning brought on former Obama administration officials on Wednesday morning. Both guests did their best to counter their former colleague. Matt Lauer touted David Axelrod's "important perspective" on the issue, and asked, "Did you get a sense that he was a guy who...was disgruntled in any way?" The CBS morning show turned to former chief of staff Bill Daley, who slammed Gates for going public: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
CBS stood out as the only Big Three network to devote full coverage to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Tuesday night stay of the federal government's birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare. As of Thursday morning, CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News devoted three full reports and a news brief to the ruling against the controversial regulation.
By contrast, NBC's morning and evening newscasts have only aired one news brief on Sotomayor's decision, and mentioned it in passing in two other reports on the Affordable Care Act. ABC has yet to report on the development on either Good Morning America or World News.
New Years seemed like a good time for ABC to push the marijuana "revolution" taking place in Colorado. World News reporter Clayton Sandell on Wednesday featured an almost entirely positive story, focusing on job growth related to pot and featuring one man (wearing green face paint) who enthused, "This is a historical event." Sandell showcased the grand opening of a new store that legally sells the drug for recreational use. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Another man gushed, "We drove 17 hours to get here."
The journalist touted, "Other states are now watching to see how this new experiment works out as marijuana moves from the underground to the mainstream." Highlighting the economic angle, he continued, "Anyone over 21 can buy it, helping fuel a Colorado green rush." Sandell featured one businessman who enthused, "We want to be the Costco of marijuana."
Islamic terrorists were suspected in the terrorist bombings that just killed dozens in Russia. But reporters at ABC, NBC and CBS went out of their way to avoid the obvious connection or even to call the suspects “terrorists,” preferring instead the squishy word “militant.”
Friday, Sunday and Monday, three separate suicide bombings left at least 37 people dead in the Volgograd and Pyatigorsk, Russia. In October, a female suicide bomber killed 5 people on a bus in Volgograd. U.S. officials and terrorism experts believe these attacks are related instances tied to an Islamic Chechen rebel leader, Doku Umarov, who threatened of attacks in the area last summer. Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, is close to Sochi, the site for the upcoming Winter Olympics and a particular target for the attacks.
In what appears to be a bright spot of journalism over at ABC News, reporter Jonathan Karl has been repeatedly hitting the White House hard in recent weeks over its failed ObamaCare rollout, going so far as to mock its advertising attempts to sign up young people for health care.
While Karl hit the White House hard on Sunday's World News, he was far from tough on Monday’s Good Morning America, and offered up a puff-piece cheering on ObamaCare’s enrollment numbers. Last week, Karl confronted White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over newly released ObamaCare ads, asking the press secretary, “I mean is anybody going to buy health care because Barack O-Breezy tells him to buy it because it’s hot?” [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts, which hyped the sequester's "deep, across-the-board spending cuts" earlier in 2013, have largely been silent about the reductions in the annual cost of living increases for military veterans – part of the budget deal proposed by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray. But more egregiously, these programs have failed to notice that disabled veterans are not exempt from these cuts, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday.
As of Wednesday morning, Norah O'Donnell's question to Rep. Ryan himself on the December 12, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning is the only mention of the reductions in the veterans' pensions on the broadcast networks' news shows:
After spending about $2.3 trillion in stimulus since 2008, the Federal Reserve’s controversial quantitative easing (QE) strategy’s days may be numbered. MarketWatch expected a decision on the policy from the Fed on Dec. 18, following their two-day meeting.
The policy has many critics including the former Fed employee who lashed out at it in a “Confessions of a Quantitative Easer” op-ed. Studies also show that QE hasn’t been the economic stimulus the Fed had hoped. Yet, when the broadcast networks have discussed how QE impacts the economy they almost unanimously supported the Fed’s purchase program.
All three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning covered the "major blow" a judge delivered by ruling that the National Security Agency's massive data collection is likely unconstitutional. Yet, NBC's Nightly News managed to mention the President only once in passing. Instead, anchor Brian Williams kept the nearly three and a half minute segment politically vague: "Privacy violation: A surprise ruling about the government's spying on the phone calls made by Americans. The question tonight, what will this change and when?"
Williams lectured, "In the name of keeping us safe, Americans have sacrificed a number of freedoms since 9/11, including the privacy of communications." Journalist Pete Williams added, "It's a serious legal blow to one of the most controversial practices of the NSA." Is it a blow to Obama? Neither journalist said. In contrast, NBC's Today on Tuesday immediately mentioned the President. Matt Lauer opened the segment by noting that "the Obama administration's beginning to plan an appeal of a major court ruling." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
When Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks went ballistic, making the conservative talk show host a centerpiece in their campaign to tarnish Mitt Romney and the GOP as engaging in a “war on women.” However when MSNBC’s Martin Bashir launched his own war on women against Sarah Palin, not a single anchor or reporter from the Big Three said a word about his vile attack.
In the two weeks (February 29, 2012 - March 14, 2012) after Limbaugh made his crude Fluke joke, that he apologized for, the Big Three networks aired a total of 32 stories or interview segments that were full of calls for Limbaugh to apologize to the liberal activist Fluke, to get advertisers to abandon the show and demand that Republicans condemn the talk show host. NBC, who employs Bashir, aired the most Limbaugh stories with 14. ABC and CBS each aired 9 stories a piece. The number of Big Three network stories in the two weeks (November 15, 2013 - November 29, 2013) after Bashir suggested that Palin would be an “outstanding candidate” for excretory punishments? Zero. The hypocrisy from the supposed civility cops in the liberal media is stunning.
It was all over the news last week. “One in three” Americans should be taking statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to American Heart Association’s newly developed risk factors calculator. The calculator was designed to estimate one’s risk for cardiovascular disease, based on multiple factors, instead of just using cholesterol levels.
ABC, NBC, and CBS all gobbled up the news, warning that “many more Americans [would be] taking these drugs.” The New York Times also featured on its front page the new health alert.
Monday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three newscast so far to cover the firing of William P. White, a day after the now former D.C. official criticized President Obama's plan to let insurers temporarily restore canceled health insurance policies for a year. Nancy Cordes revealed how "D.C.'s insurance commissioner was abruptly fired by the city's Democratic mayor...after he warned that reinstating canceled plans 'undercuts the purpose' of the new health care exchanges." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Cordes's mention of Mayor Vincent Gray sacking the commissioner came a day after the Washington Post buried their story on the firing on page C7 of its Metro section on Sunday.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Nancy Cordes zeroed in on the three Republican congressmen who grilled top administration officials during a hearing on ObamaCare, ballyhooing that "none of them were really able to explain why this product they worked on for years was so flawed". Cordes played extended clips from the hearing totaling 51 seconds – nearly twice the combined number of ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News, which each played 13 seconds from it.
The correspondent played up one clip in particular from White House chief technology officer Todd Park, who gave indications that HealthCare.gov might not be fixed by the target date of November 30 [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]:
On Tuesday, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both reported the latest poll numbers from the "respected" Quinnipiac University, as CBS's Scott Pelley labeled the institution, regarding President Obama's "lowest ever" approval rating, along with Americans' dim view of the politician's honesty. ABC's Diane Sawyer noted that "for the first time in his presidency, a majority of American voters – 52 percent...say President Obama is not honest and trustworthy."
Both evening newscasts reported these numbers as they led into their coverage of former President Clinton's recent word of advice to Obama on his health care law – that "the President should honor the commitment...[he] made to those people, and let them keep what they've got." NBC Nightly News also devoted air time to Clinton's remarks, but failed to mention the current President's drooping approval number. [MP3 audio from the ABC and CBS reports available here; video below the jump]
Journalist George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday praised the campaign commercial of New York City's very liberal mayor-elect as "the most effective political ad I've ever seen." Touting a spot that featured the son of Bill de Blasio, Stephanopoulos and World News anchor Diane Sawyer enthused over its brilliance.
The former Democratic operative for Bill Clinton described the commercial as "narrated by his son Dante who had this dramatic Afro." Stephanopoulos rhapsodized, " I think it's the most effective political ad I've ever seen." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Sawyer gushed, "Gangbusters. Modern American family there."
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday managed a mere 21 seconds total for the latest revelations about the botched ObamaCare rollout, minimizing the grilling that Kathleen Sebelius took before Congress and the resignation of one of the people behind the website. Instead, Good Morning America focused on deeply irrelevant topics such as promoting "Thor's leading lady," star Natalie Portman. In comparison to ObamaCare, the actress appeared for over three minutes on Thursday.
NBC's Today also yawned at the resignation of Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer at HealthCare.gov. Wednesday's Nightly News featured the testimony of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius for two minutes and 20 seconds. In contrast to ABC, which featured no clips of Sebelius's appearance, NBC included Republican senators such as John Thune, deriding, "This is a dishonesty. You've been misleading the American people!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC's World News on Monday night continued to highlight the network's exclusive that Barack Obama knew there was no real alternative to the ObamaCare website, even as he pushed options like mail and calling the hotline. Yet, on Good Morning America, the network's content-free morning show, the revelations were ignored.
World News anchor Diane Sawyer touted the story as all "about what the President said and what he knew and when." Jon Karl played footage of Obama insisting that "it usually takes about 25 minutes" to apply via phone. The reporter explained, "But ten days before the President said those words, his own health care team knew that all applications were having the same problems [as the website]." The newscast then showed footage of the explosive battle between Karl and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. [MP3 audio here.]
On October 31 theWashington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported the following: “The Internal Revenue Service shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law, according to newly obtained emails. The public watchdog group Judicial Watch told Secrets Thursday that it was former scandal boss Lois Lerner who shared the information on groups including the American Future Fund and the American Issues Project.’”
So far none of the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS) networks have reported the latest IRS scandal finding. In fact, they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether.
ABC and NBC journalists on Wednesday and Thursday hailed Kathleen Sebelius as "falling on her sword" and "taking responsibility" for the ObamaCare website debacle. On World News, reporter Jim Avila complained about the Sebelius grilling as a "rude grandstand" and a "three hour circus of a congressional hearing." He dismissed it as "official finger pointing day on Capitol Hill."
Yet, on Thursday, Avila sympathized with the Democratic Health and Human Services secretary, praising, "...The woman in charge of the Affordable Care Act fell on her sword with her first full-throated apology." The Obama official "was reluctant to pass the buck, even when pressed." Over on NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer gushed, "Kathleen Sebelius went before Congress yesterday and she did something you don't see happen in Washington very often, she took the blame." [Video of both morning shows below. MP3 audio here.]
Jumping in to excuse President Obama for making the false promise (“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”), ABC News on Tuesday night rationalized how ObamaCare is simply saving people in the individual market from being victims of awful policies forced upon them by insurance companies.
On World News, Jim Avila cited the case of Julie Prince, who has been notified her policy will be canceled. Avila turned to an ObamaCare advocate and asked: “Julie tells us that she doesn’t have hospital care on this cheap insurance plan. Is that dangerous?” Lynn Quincy of Consumers Union agreed: “Absolutely. That’s on enormous hole in her coverage.”
Striking the Northeast on Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy tragically devastated communities causing an estimated $50 billion in damages. By the end of January 2013, a relief bill was passed for Sandy aid, after the bill was delayed because of wasteful spending.
House Republicans opposed a pork-ridden $60 billion Senate bill ($10 billion higher than damage estimates) and chose not to vote on it. Politicians, including some Republicans, and the media criticized them for delaying this legislation. A $51 billion bill was passed by both houses of Congress by the end of January, after a $9.7 billion flood insurance bill passed in early January.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Monday woke up to the "massive technical glitches" "plaguing millions" of Americans trying to use the ObamaCare website. The morning show, which has largely minimized the troubled debut of HealthCare.gov, featured reporter Rebecca Jarvis to lament, "It was supposed to be an easy way for Americans to sign up for health care online. But this morning, the Department of Health and Human Services, which spent $500 million to build the site, is admitting it's a bust."
Jarvis attempted to navigate the web page, but offered this perplexed assessment: "But even when we tried to access the site, we encountered this error, a registration page filled with question marks and incoherent data." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Although the GMA journalists highlighted the problems, they also buried their impact. It wasn't until the very end of the segment that co-host George Stephanopoulos noted that the administration is "racing the clock." Jarvis agreed, pointing out, "They have to get people signed up for health insurance by January 1st, before the fines start kicking in."
ABC on Thursday night took a victory lap in its effort to blame congressional Republicans for the government shutdown. World News reporter Jeff Zeleny and other journalists at the network phoned all the House and Senate GOP members who opposed the deal to reopen the federal government. These reporters demanded to know if the lawmakers would give back the salary they earned during the 16-day shutdown.
Zeleny justified, "Since it was Congress that shut the government down, one of the top questions you asked us, should they get paid?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalist made no mention of Barack Obama or the congressional Democrats who rejected numerous compromise efforts to reopen the federal government.
For millions of Americans, big political contests such as presidential elections and pivotal congressional hearings are still largely witnessed through the lens of ABC’s, CBS’s and NBC’s evening newscasts. According to Nielsen Research, more than 20 million viewers tuned in over the past twoweeks for the Big Three’s take on the shutdown drama.
What those viewers heard, according to a just-completed Media Research Center study, was a version of the shutdown story that could easily have emanated from Barack Obama’s own White House. The broadcast networks invariably blamed Republicans for the impasse; spotlighted dozens of examples of how Americans were being victimized; and ran scores of soundbites from furloughed federal workers and others harmed by the shutdown — even as they ignored examples of how the Obama administration and Senate Democrats were working to make the shutdown as painful as possible.
As the government shutdown neared its end, ABC's Jon Karl put the blame totally on House Republicans and allowed Barack Obama to escape responsibility. According to Karl on Tuesday night's World News, "...After bringing the economy to the brink, the Republicans, the conservatives who drove this, will have nothing to show for it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Karl upped the hyperbole, warning of the "dangerous brinkmanship" that could lead to "economic collapse." Shifting into opinion mode, Karl lectured, "As this showdown moves towards end game, House Republicans are the clear losers. They push to the brink and have nothing to show for it."
Between the government shut down and the debt ceiling limit about to be crossed Oct. 17, the news media is screaming like the house is on fire. The Obama administration has also warned of dangers. Of course, that’s nothing new.
In many cases following the Obama administration’s reports and threats, the networks were hysterical in their coverage of the “fiscal cliff” and the sequester in late 2012 and early 2013. They repeated predictions and made claims that in many cases, simply failed to happen.
If you watch ABC, NBC and CBS, you might think that the debt default is inevitable. Market experts aren’t so sure. While the debt ceiling will be reached on Oct. 16 without Congress intervening, the jury is out on what would actually happen. Many experts, including Forbes, Bloomberg Business Week and Moody’s Corp., have argued that the default would actually hit weeks later, if at all.
Since the shutdown was first mentioned – from September 20 until October 12 – the term “default” has been used in 67 morning and evening news stories. Of these, 58.2 percent (39 out of 67) talked about the default as if it were inevitable. ABC was the worst, with 74 percent (17 of 23 stories) insisting that the default was inevitable. Fifty-six percent of CBS stories (14 out of 25 stories) said the default would definitely occur on the 17th, and NBC had 42 percent (8 out of 19 stories).
President Obama nominated Janet Yellen, Fed vice chair, to head the Federal Reserve on Oct. 9. If confirmed, she will take on Ben Bernanke’s role as chairman and be the first woman in that role. Networks lauded her nomination that evening, after having paid little attention to her liberal policies in recent months.
Broadcast network evening and morning shows were giddy at the nomination of Yellen. Her economic experience, intelligence and “working class roots” were all praised the night of her nomination and the following morning.
On October 9The Blaze reported the following: “Sarah Hall Ingram, the Internal Revenue Service official who used to head the office directly involved in the targeting of conservative groups, may have shared confidential taxpayer information with White House officials, according to 2012 emails uncovered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Ingram, who now heads the IRS’s Obamacare enforcement division, counseled senior White House officials on how to deal with a lawsuit from religious groups opposed to the Obamacare contraception mandate.”
So far ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report on the latest IRS scandal disclosure. In fact they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether. It’s been 106 days since ABC last mentioned the IRS targeting scandal, way back on June 26. NBC hasn’t touched the story in 105 days and CBS last did an IRS story 77 days ago on July 24.
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN aired an exclusive interview with a Fast and Furious whistleblower on Monday morning, but NBC, CBS, and ABC all ignored the story and failed to interview the whistleblower, ATF agent John Dodson. The government is blocking publication of Dodson's new book, his insider account of the failed gun sting Operation Fast and Furious.
In addition, CNN dropped its own interview after it aired during the 8 a.m. ET hour of New Day. The network aired no clips of the interview for the rest of Monday into Tuesday morning after it brought Dodson on to "set the record straight" on Fast and Furious. [Video below the break.]
The next Federal Reserve Chairman will be Janet Yellen. President Barack Obama plans to nominate her on Oct. 9. Ahead of the announcement, Yellen, the liberal Fed vice chairman, was considered the most likely candidate to replace Ben Bernanke ever since Larry Summers, her chief rival for the nomination, bowed out of the race on Sept. 16.
She was a frontrunner even before Summers’ withdrawal. But between July 12 and Oct. 8, the networks paid very little attention to Yellen and the Fed candidacy. In fact, they spent more time covering Miss America in one day, than in three months of coverage of the future Fed chairman.