The PBS NewsHour led off its Thursday evening telecast with a story about the three scandals that currently envelop the Obama administration: the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, the Justice Department’s subpoena of AP phone records, and the Benghazi attack. Rather than following the package with analysis from a journalist, as PBS often does with stories like this, the taxpayer-subsidized network brought on White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to provide the White House's spin on these scandals.
Even worse, anchor Judy Woodruff did not rise to the occasion with any tough questioning, allowing Palmieri to spin her way right out of trouble. All of Woodruff’s questions dealt with President Obama’s reaction to the scandals; she never grilled Palmieri on whether the White House was involved in any of this. The assumption seemed to be that the president was an innocent bystander in all of these scandals. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
For the second time in a regular news story, PBS mentioned the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on Tuesday’s NewsHour. And yet Gosnell was not the subject of the story in question. The mention came at the tail end of a piece on the battle over abortion restrictions in state legislatures.
Anchor Jeffrey Brown presented the trial as the concern of “anti-abortion activists”: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
After more than a month of silence, PBS finally covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Monday’s NewsHour. Considering that all other major news outlets have barely given Gosnell a mention, if they mentioned him at all, it was refreshing to see PBS devote a full seven-minute story to the gruesome abortionist (even if that story came at the very end of the broadcast). However, there was still a stench of disingenuousness in the air as the PBS journalists subtly dismissed the notion that the trial has not received sufficient media coverage up until now.
Anchor Jeffrey Brown introduced the story as “the murder trial of an abortion provider that has captured national attention.” But if the trial has captured national attention, why has PBS waited until now to mention it? Why have we seen nothing more than a trickle of coverage from other major national news outlets? The story might have rightfully captured national attention from the pro-life crowd, but the liberal commercial broadcast media, which favors abortion, has been unwilling to give it national attention. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
With the monumental collapse of the president’s anti-gun agenda, many are wondering if both sides will “go back into their corners” on gun control. Every single measure in this new bill failed, which elicited the wrath of the president yesterday in the Rose Garden. During the April 17 broadcast of the PBS NewsHour, Gwen Ifill asked why these measures failed to pass, mentioned the popularity of background checks, and failed to press Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on past statements about how this bill really wouldn’t have prevented Sandy Hook ergo more mass shootings.
In fairness, Ifill also had Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from Conneticut, on the program to discuss the failed bill. While he said his organization supported some of the amendments in the bill, they couldn’t back it due to the background check provision, noting it would have harmed gun sellers who rely heavily on weekend sales, when most customers come to their stores [emphasis mine]:
Legendary British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has passed away, and given that she was a conservative, PBS can’t let her go without finding some way to criticize her. On Tuesday evening’s PBS NewsHour, Time Magazine’s Rana Foroohar was brought on to discuss Thatcher’s legacy. Why Foroohar? Well, according to anchor Gwen Ifill, not only does she cover economics and business, she also lived in Britain for nine years.
Foroohar got right to work, describing Thatcher as a “very divisive character” and a “very, very polarizing figure.” Ifill asked her if there are presently any heirs to Thatcher’s world view, and Foroohar responded that Thatcher’s heirs reside in the developing world and emerging markets. These countries are at a stage where Thatcher’s ideas of privatization and free markets can help them, according to Foroohar.
On Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff brought on former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to discuss the problem of gridlock in Washington. The conversation started off well, but Woodruff soon made it clear who she believes is more responsible for a lack of legislative progress in the nation’s capital.
Snowe presented the problem as being caused by members of both parties. She cited the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as examples of ideologically rigid groups on the right and left respectively. But Woodruff couldn’t let this even-handed approach fly on her program. She jumped in with a slanted question: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The PBS NewsHour went into everyone’s favorite subjects last Friday, gays and guns, and discussed the overwhelming cultural shift concerning gay marriage. New York Times columnist David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields both commented on how this shift could be irreversible, but noted that the Supreme Court could “Roe v. Wade” the decision. That is, the faux conservative and the liberal pundit both agreed that a court decision could just breath new life and fresh controversy into the same-sex marriage fight.
Yes, this is NOT an April Fools' joke. Brooks and Shields were actually saying that sweeping decisions, if not taken responsibly, could create more problems in the long run. It's a refreshing moment hearing shields, unlike others among his liberal colleagues, acknowledging how social change is best achieved through the political process rather than the courts. It is, however, a shame that Brooks failed to give a conservative constitutional case for why DOMA and Prop 8 should stand, aside from the deleterious effects of a court ruling:
On Thursday’s NewsHour, PBS co-anchor Hari Sreenivasan misled viewers in a story about the latest action in Congress regarding the $984-billion continuing resolution -- a spending bill which will fund federal government operations through September 30, when the current fiscal year ends. Said Sreenivasan: “That spending legislation was necessary because Congress hasn't passed a budget in years.”
While that sentence is true, it's incredibly misleading in that the U.S. House of Representatives has repeatedly passed budget resolutions. It's just that the Democratic-controlled Senate has failed to approve a budget, any budget, in more than three years.
Support for same-sex marriage is on the rise in America, and PBS couldn’t be happier about it. On Tuesday’s NewsHour, the taxpayer-subsidized network ran a story that betrayed more than a hint of elation at the growing acceptance of gay marriage among both politicians and the public. Leading the cheers was co-anchor Gwen Ifill, who narrated the story and moderated the discussion that followed.
At the top of the segment, Ifill promised her viewers that there “ appears to be an evolving sea change on attitudes toward gay marriage.” She then began her package by insisting that, “Steadily and remarkably, public and political support for same-sex marriage is on the rise.”
The liberal media’s attempt to paint Republicans as a party in crisis continues, this time with fresh ammunition from the Republican National Committee’s “Growth & Opportunity Project.” The recently-released report provides a critical review of what went wrong in the 2012 election cycle and how the party can improve its effort to win future elections.
On Monday’s PBS NewsHour, the taxpayer-subsidized PBS network brought on Susan Page from USA Today and Stuart Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report to rip into the Republican Party. Or, as anchor Gwen Ifill put it, the guests were there “to talk about how deep the party's fissures go.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Our left-wing media’s somber, mourning coverage of Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez once again demonstrates the double standard journalists reserve for dictators.
Seven years ago, the left’s greatest South American hate object, Augusto Pinochet, passed away. Never mind how he used free-market reforms to modernize Chile. Never mind that after 15 years of rule, he allowed a national plebiscite to vote against him, and he stepped down peacefully. The left-wing outrage pulsed on the front pages.
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was convicted yesterday on 24 separate federal corruption charges, which could cost him up to 20 years in prison. However, ABC, CBS, and NBC could not be bothered to even mention the conviction of this disgraced ex-mayor of a major, blighted American city on their nightly news programs.
Perhaps they were busy with what are clearly weightier matters. Monday’s NBC Nightly News, for example, found time to mention Justin Timberlake’s recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, the ten worst places to retire in America, and the plight of penguins in Antarctica.
On Friday, the PBS NewsHour featured a story titled "A 'Celebration of Immortality' for Hugo Chavez." This is an odd title for liberals who believe in science and would know when Hugo Chavez has assumed room temperature.
But it grew worse: the segment from former BBC correspondent Matt Frei (now with ITN) actually put Chavez in a "top three" of immortality with Jesus Christ:
Does David Brooks read the news? I’m sure he does, but with the liberal media failing to report on the spike in gas prices – it’s no surprise that this New York Times Republican thinks the price of oil has gone down...instead of the "worst February on record."
On the PBS Newshour last night, Ruth Marcus filled in for Mark Shields, and said that the new jobs numbers are a positive development. However, the expiration of the payroll tax holiday will be a drag on the economy. Brooks chimed in saying, “well, I mean, obviously, there are drags. And I agree. Things are drags. But there are also pluses out there, the lowering of oil, of gas prices, that is obviously a plus. So there is a complex mixture of things.”
This is demonstratively wrong. As the MRC’s own Julia Seymour of the Business and Media Institute reported last month:
The PBS NewsHour invited Nancy Pelosi on for an interview Thursday night, and the sparks were flying. Sparks of love, that is, between anchor Judy Woodruff and the House minority leader. Woodruff conducted a 10-minute interview of mostly softballs about the salient topics of the day. But one of today’s hottest topics, the sequester, only merited one question from Woodruff - and it wasn’t a query a serious journalist would ask. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Woodruff began, “Quick question about the sequester. The White House spent a lot of time, the president did, talking about the dire consequences once the sequester kicked in.” Okay. So far, so good. Now, surely Woodruff is going to ask why the president did an about-face and is now downplaying the sequester’s effects. Or maybe she’ll ask if Mr. Obama’s fearmongering was overblown. Or maybe she’ll even ask Pelosi if the president did everything he could to reach a compromise with Republicans to avert the sequester.
Rejoice, people, it’s pledge drive week on PBS! All of your favorite PBS shows are being interrupted so that a couple of smiling faces can beg you to donate some of your hard-earned income to your local public station. Of course, those of us who pay federal taxes are already subsidizing PBS, albeit involuntarily and indirectly through the federally-chartered Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
It’s not always easy to get folks to part with their money, so PBS is doing more than simply offering a mug to anyone who gives $75 or an umbrella to those who donate $100. They are also aggressively touting their own programming, trying to remind viewers of how much they gain by watching. On Wednesday evening, the pledge drive during the NewsHour attempted to use liberal Mark Shields and quasi-conservative David Brooks as selling points for the network. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Faux conservative David Brooks of the New York Times used his Friday appearance with Mark Shields on the PBS NewsHour to bash Republicans over sequestration, comparing GOP tactics in dealing with spending to a trite circus act. Either Mr. Brooks forgot that sequestration was the president’s idea or doesn't care about facts getting in the way of cozying up to his liberal media buddies. Even liberal Democratic Sen. Max Baucus (Montana) admitted to that, and it’s explicitly mentioned that sequestration was the White House’s idea in Bob Woodward’s new book about the 2011 debt ceiling fiasco.
Shields piggybacked off of Brooks’ remarks, and said that the GOP’s fallback position is blaming the president, as if Obama is blameless in this dismal situation.
On January 25, the PBS NewsHour gave the annual “March for Life” a perfunctory 56-word news brief. But on Monday night, the leftist protests against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada drew a full story about nine times that long.
Anchor Judy Woodruff somehow ignored the large crowds of Earth Day 1970, Earth Day 1990 (stood there myself), and Earth Day 2000 to echo the Left: “Thousands of people marched on the National Mall in Washington yesterday, braving a cold winter wind to take part in what organizers called the biggest climate rally in U.S. history.” If that wasn’t weird enough, protest organizer Bill McKibben announced the Arctic melted last year:
Allegations of shady campaign contributors and procurement of prostitutes are usually the ingredients of a political scandal that send the media into a feeding frenzy – unless, of course, the figure involved is a Democrat.
When news broke that the FBI opened an inquiry into New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez’s jaunts (that may have included solicitation of prostitutes) to the Dominican Republic with a longtime campaign contributor, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks responded with barely a murmur.
Last night, PBS NewsHour anchor Ray Suarez noted the manhunt for alleged cop killer Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles police officer and former naval officer who left behind a rambling manifesto in which he called for an assault weapons ban and praised liberal politicians and journalists. Unfortunately for viewers, the taxpayer-subsidized network left out those details about the manifesto, even though the manifesto gave some pretty revealing insights into the political ideas that may have inspired Dorner to violence.
With the Boy Scouts now in the national spotlight, Scouts for Equality founder and gay rights activist Zack Wahls was featured on the PBS NewsHour on Wednesday night opposite Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. While intended as a civil, constructive conversation, Wahls insinuated that Land was a bigot since, for people like him, “this is about the problems you have with parents like mine.” Wahls has two moms, born to one biologically through artificial insemination.
PBS NewsHour host Jeffrey Brown did not push back on Wahls's unwarranted attack on Land’s conservative views, and seemed to have temporarily lost control of the interview. Furthermore, Wahls proceeded to attack conservative principles, in general, which he derided as “from the last century.” That's the sort of discussion we're paying for with our tax dollars.
PBS continued the liberal media tradition Thursday of ignoring Sen. Robert Menendez’s prostitution scandal. Granted, the taxpayer-subsidized network found time to mention Menendez during its NewsHour, but only for a 24-second blurb as part of its “other news of the day” segment. But that news brief was not even about the New Jersey Democrat’s sexual transgressions; it was instead about his involvement in a billing dispute between Medicare and Dr. Salomon Melgen, a leading Menendez campaign donor.
In the wake of the leaked Department of Justice memo detailing the legality of targeted killings by drones on American citizens, the PBS NewsHour found it fitting to have the ACLU defend its position in why these strikes are troubling, and why American-born al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki should’ve been kept alive to plan acts of terror against the United States.
Of course, this is maddening to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Liberal publications, like The Nation, detail the dark future of drone warfare, and some anti-drone journalists, like Conor Fierdorsdorff of The Atlantic, have compared Obama to Bush. However, even with the media either criticizing, or ignoring, this development, last night’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour didn’t take into account the hypocrisy of liberals who were on the warpath a few years prior after release of Bush memos related to enhanced interrogation techniques.
Another day, another iteration of the left-wing criticism of Al Gore’s sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera. On Thursday’s PBS NewsHour, co-anchor Jeffrey Brown interviewed the former vice president and, predictably, the sale of Gore’s television channel came up. Like Matt Lauer and Andrea Mitchell before him, Brown failed to question Gore’s decision to sell to a network with a history of espousing anti-American views.
Instead, Brown rehashed the hypocrisy question, even though he knew it had been asked before: [View video after the jump. MP3 audio here]
Barack Obama’s second inaugural address had a distinct liberal flavor, particularly on social issues, and many media outlets have admitted as much. However, according to quasi-conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, the ideological slant of the speech actually made it one of the best inaugural addresses of the past fifty years.
Appearing on the Monday January 21 edition of the taxpayer-subsidized PBS NewsHour, Brooks acknowledged that Obama did not pose as a post-partisan figure, as he did four years ago. "Now he’s in the fray. He’s picked a team. His team is his party, his belief system." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Liberals politicians and journalists are on a full-blown assault on the Second Amendment ever since Friday's horrific shooting in Newtown, Conn. Gun ban-pushers like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are making the rounds in the media, including taxpayer-funded PBS. On December 17, NewsHour anchor Gwen Ifill gave Feinstein the floor to push her agenda. Naturally, Ifill failed to bring on an opposing point of view nor did she ask Feinstein tough questions.
Finally, Grover Norquist was the featured guest on the PBS NewsHour’s segment on the fiscal cliff. After previous editions of the program featured softball interviews with Paul Krugman and Max Richtman -- two members of the far left who oppose entitlement reform -- as well as moderate conservative Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the NewsHour saw it fit to give time to the anti-tax activist who heads Americans for Tax Reform.
Of course the December 12 interview proved to be an occasion for liberal anchor Judy Woodruff to push back hard against Norquist on taxes, firing every possible liberal talking point at him she could. Norquist was adamant that the problem in Washington is spending, not taxation -- giving the president all the tax hikes he wants would generate about only two weeks worth of revenue, after all. But it didn’t take long for Woodruff to argue that the Clinton era tax cuts were the basis for strong economic growth. Norquist stood his ground and noted the role a conservative Republican Congress played in policies that helped fuel economic growth in the 1990s:
As Colonel Kurtz said at the end of Apocalypse Now: “the horror, the horror.” That sentiment encapsulated New York Times Republican David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields’ reactions to the rejection of the UN treaty on the rights of the disabled in the Senate last week. Brooks called it “embarrassment for the country” – while Shields called it “a profile in cowardice.” Regardless, it seems that both men forget that we have a similar bill called The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed under George H.W. Bush.
During the segment, which aired on December 7, NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff decided to end her interview with Brooks and Shields on this point:
The PBS NewsHour has yet to invite a strong conservative on the program to talk about the fiscal cliff. Tuesday night they had New York Times columnist, left-wing economist, and Obama cheerleader Paul Krugman to detail his view. Wednesday night they had moderately-conservative Sen. Bob Corker ( R-Tenn), but last night was the most interesting. PBS invited the Norquist of the left, Max Richtman, of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, who insisted we shouldn’t be in a rush to reform our entitlement spending.
After all, when the unfunded liability of both programs is around $100 trillion dollars, what’s the big hurry? Where’s the fire? Suffice it to say, none of Richtman's claims were met with skepticism by anchor Judy Woodruff. She continued with her interview, as if what Richtman said was fact.
During the December 4 edition of the PBS NewsHour, anchor Gwen Ifill decided to give a lofty eight minute and forty second interview to Obama cheerleader and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman so he can try to convince us that the fiscal cliff isn’t that big of a deal. Of course, in his estimation, Democratic proposals for higher taxes and higher spending were serious, while Republican alternatives to tackle the deficit were trivial. In fact, according to Krugman, “Obama is actually very serious in the real sense. It's just the notion he hasn't done anything on entitlement reform is totally unfair. He's done more than anyone has ever done before.”
And that’s why he needs $1.6 trillion dollars in tax hikes and $50 billion in additional stimulus spending to be "serious" about reining in deficit spending?!