ABC’s Sunday night tribute to Mike Wallace, who passed away Saturday night, highlighted several swipes at Ronald Reagan, thus, inadvertently or not, painting the “legendary” 60 Minutes correspondent as something less than an impartial journalist. Or maybe ABC News just enjoyed re-playing those hits on the late conservative President.
World News anchor David Muir began with a clip of Wallace, from either 1976 or during the 1980 campaign, demanding of Reagan: “How many blacks are there on your top campaign staff, Governor?” Reagan replied: “I couldn’t honestly answer you now.” To which Wallace snapped: “That speaks for itself.” Unsaid: At the time, 60 Minutes didn’t have any non-white reporters.
ABC News senior correspondent Jim Avila has a new target for his “pink slime” crusade – a mother whose 6-year-old son died from E coli. Avila, whose coverage has targeted Beef Products, Inc., went after the company’s supporters at an Iowa press conference.
At the same time, one beef maker has had to file for bankruptcy protection as a result of the media assault. “AFA Foods, a company that produces beef products, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today and announced it’s selling some assets because of a decrease in demand attributed to the recent media coverage of ‘pink slime.’” The company employs 850 people, adding to the 650 already furloughed thanks to the news media.
As the broadcast network evening newscasts recounted Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Cuba, ABC's Christiane Amanpour on World News and NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the NBC Nightly News both noted reports that dissidents had been detained and prevented from meeting the Catholic leader, while the CBS Evening News failed to mention their plight.
During the March 27 edition of “World News,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer treated Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to a softball interview which alternated between human interest angles and portraying him as the victim of partisan Republicans. [Video after the jump. Audio can be found here.]
Some journalists aren’t content with covering the news; they have to make it, too. That’s been ABC’s strategy as the network has led the charge against USDA-approved beef. That agenda has put at least 600 jobs in jeopardy as the targeted company suspended operations in three separate plants.
ABC’s Jim Avila has been out in front of the issue, repeatedly calling the beef “pink slime,” a term a former USDA employee coined. In all, ABC used the term “pink slime” 52 times in just a two-week span.
When Nancy Pelosi was asked in a 2009 press conference about where in the Constitution Congress has the authority to order Americans to buy health insurance, she responded: “Are you serious?” That week, none of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network news programs deemed Pelosi’s ludicrous response to the question from CNSNews.com worthy of coverage. The news blackout of the then House Speaker’s response isn’t surprising, given that the liberal news media, as documented in this recent MRC compilation, pushed at every point in the debate process for ObamaCare.
The following are the relevant portions from CNSNews.com’s Matt Cover’s October 22, 2009 article about Pelosi curtly dismissing the Constitution’s relevance to ObamaCare:
Perhaps the year-over-year metric is an unfair comparison, because during the same week in 2011 the Japanese tsunami drew in ordinarily uninterested viewers. Compared to two years ago, the combined audience was slightly higher (by 2.1%). NBC and ABC were both down slightly, while CBS, recovering from the Katie Couric era and still in a distant third place, showed a double-digit gain. But the three networks were down in the advertiser-prized 25-54 demographic, with CBS eking out a much smaller gain which did not offset losses at NBC and ABC. Here are the numbers:
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, but if the media were the judges, the Court would rule 9-0 in favor of it. During its coverage of the health care debate, the liberal press never permitted questions about ObamaCare’s legality to interfere with their dream of a government takeover of the health care sector.
Starting even before Barack Obama became President, the press has been campaigning hard for passage of the most liberal version of health care reform as a cure-all elixir to all of America’s health problems. First, they pitched the public on the desperate need to, as ABC’s Dr. Tim Johnson demanded, fix America’s “national shame” of no universal coverage. (Worst of the Worst quote compiliation with videos after the jump)
On ABC's World News on Saturday, host David Muir played a clip of an ad from the far left group MoveOn.org attacking Republicans on the issues of abortion and contraception, and asked correspondent David Kerley for his take on the ad.
Without noting that President Obama raised the issue of contraception by requiring some religious institutions to pay for contraceptives for their employees, or that ABC's very own George Stephanopoulos had bizarrely raised the issue even earlier in a Republican presidential debate, persisting to get an answer from Mitt Romney, Kerley blamed Republicans for "talking about contraception" as he asserted that the GOP had handed Democrats a "gift."
On Saturday's World News, as he ended a report on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's dustup with a Rutgers University student who heckled him at a town hall forum, ABC correspondent Mark Greenblatt forwarded Rutgers Law student and former Navy SEAL Wiliam Brown's criticisms of Christie without noting Brown's history of activism in the Democratic party, specifically that he ran unsuccessfully for a state assembly seat.
The ABC correspondent instead forwarded Brown's complaints about Christie's temperament as if the Democratic activist were concerned about the health of the Republican party. Greenblatt:
ABC broadcasted two completely one-sided reports on Thursday's World News and Nightline on the supposed "huge spike in the number of Americans operating in the shadows, trying to take down the U.S. government even with violence," as anchor Diane Sawyer put it. Correspondent Dan Harris's main external source for his reports was a media favorite, the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center [audio clips available here].
As she introduced Harris's first report on World News, Sawyer trumped that "a new study finds there are now nearly 1,300 militias and other extremist groups in this country, an increase from 149 groups in 2008. And one of the fastest-growing groups is called 'sovereign citizens.'" However, an examination of the SPLC's report in question find that many of these supposed "extremist" groups have been around for longer than four years, and the only change is that the leftist organization recently designated them as such.
[Update, 09:27 pm Eastern: audio added above; video below the jump]
When FNC's Bill O'Reilly brought up "ABC News's coverage of this Rush Limbaugh/Fluke situation" on Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor, guest George Stephanopoulos not only misled FNC viewers about ABC coverage by focusing only on how much time his weekday edition of Good Morning America devoted to the story while ignoring other ABC shows like World News and the weekend edition of GMA, but he even substantially understated the amount of time his own weekday GMA show spent on the controversy.
He also failed to mention that he repeatedly brought up the story as he hosted Sunday's This Week on ABC.
ABC on Monday night rebuked the Republican presidential field for not adequately condemning Rush Limbaugh for his “slut” characterization of Sandra Fluke, for which he apologized on his Monday radio show. “The Republican presidential candidates still tried to dodge having to make tough comments about the power broker,” anchor Diane Sawyer announced in framing the World News story.
Reporter Dan Harris contended, without identifying who is making such a complaint, that “leading Republicans are essentially being called cowards for their tepid criticism of America’s most powerful conservative radio host.” After a bite of Mitt Romney saying “it’s not the language I would have used,” Harris snidely asserted: “Not exactly Profiles in Courage material.”
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)