If CNN's Roland Martin gives the same answer as a tea party conservative, you know you've asked him a pretty bizarre question. On Monday's 10 a.m. EDT news hour, CNN anchor Carol Costello asked the panel if Obama is now "unbeatable" due to the killing of Osama bin Laden, falling gas prices, and a positive May jobs report.
Of course, the election is over one year away, not all of the possible Republican candidates have officially declared their intentions, and the direction of the economy remains to be seen. But CNN apparently thought it fitting to ask the experts if the 2012 election is all but decided.
Economic growth in the first quarter was an abysmal 1.8 percent. Last week, initial jobless claims increased by 25,000 from the previous week, up to 429,000. The Federal government borrows $188 million an hour, or over $52,000 a second, just to keep up with President Obama's spending demands. Despite almost a trillion dollars for Obama's and the Democratic Congress's stimulus, unemployment remains at 8.8 percent.
Amid all these storm clouds, the Obamamaniacs at CNN have found a silver lining. Anchor T.J. Holmes on CNN Newsroom reported today:
Here is a sign that the economy is getting better, an unexpected sign you didn't think about. Divorce rates in the U.S. are on the rise. It's explained here. In 2000 before the recession, of course, way back before the recession, the divorce rate was 4.0. When hard times started in 2007 the breakup rate dropped to 3.6 percent here. But then last year it fell a bit more, a bit more to 3.5. That was the divorce rate then. So, fewer and fewer people are getting divorced.
In a bizarre wrap-up to the 2 p.m. EDT hour of CNN "Newsroom" Thursday, anchor T.J. Holmes confessed his "eco-sins" to the audience. Commemorating the eve of "Earth Day," Holmes admitted to his "green" faults which included driving an SUV by himself to work daily, blasting the heat in his house during winter, and using "less efficient" incandescent bulbs for lighting.
"These are my eco-sins. I'm confessing them to you because tomorrow is Earth Day," Holmes announced to the audience.
"It often goes ignored by many of us, including me. Not going to ignore it this year. Why? Well, maybe it was an awakening. Maybe I was scolded recently by an environmentalist. Maybe I'm tired of wasting my own money," he rambled, before wishing the audience a happy Earth Day.
CNN contributor John Avlon, labeled an "independent," was all but sounding the death knell for 2012 Republican presidential hopes on CNN Thursday. Avlon took Republican criticism of notable figures such as Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann and spun it to tout that the GOP is in trouble.
"This is the sound of Republicans getting nervous," Avlon ominously sounded. "It really hurts the Republican Party in the long-term."
Anchor Carol Costello opened the segment with a clip of Bush's former senior advisor Karl Rove dismissing Donald Trump as an "inconsequential candidate" over his "embrace of the 'birther' issue." Costello added that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Sarah Palin are under fire from other Republicans and conservatives for some of their own views.
They may not be officially celebrating "Green Week," but CNN was fully in the spirit of the week Wednesday morning. Anchor Carol Costello expressed her dismay that Congress has not acted in the last year to prevent another disaster like the BP oil spill, and seemed to want more safety regulations and laws for oil companies to follow in a disaster.
"Congress doesn't seem to be in charge," Costello lamented, on the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that began the massive oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.
When CNN correspondent Brianna Keilar reported that House committees have been moving legislation to speed up drilling permits and open up new offshore drilling areas, Costello was troubled.
During an interview of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, CNN anchor Deborah Feyerick not only failed to ask Richards any tough questions about federal funding of the organization, but entirely misquoted the claim of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood services are abortions.
Feyerick began the segment attributing to Kyl a bizarre claim that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood's funding goes to abortions. Obviously, that was red meat for Richards who dismantled the faux statement claiming that no federal funding goes to abortions.
The following is what Sen. Kyl said on the Senate floor: "Everybody goes to clinics, to hospitals, to doctors and so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don't have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol and your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that's well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."Sen. Kyl did not say that 90 percent of funding goes to abortions at Planned Parenthood, but that 90 percent of its services are abortions, another argument entirely.
It was good economic news on CNN's Newsroom this morning. After a brief mention of radiation in Japan, anchor Carol Costello reported:
Brand new numbers out of the Labor Department this morning. It turns out jobless claims plummeted last week. Down 6,000 to 388,000.
I'm not certain what dictionary CNN news readers use, but "plummet" wouldn't seem to be the right verb. Merriam-Webster's online reference defines plummet as "to fall perpendicularly" or "to drop sharply and abruptly." A 1.5 percent reduction in jobless claims quite clearly doesn't meet those definitions.
Moreover, the 6,000 drop figure is "seasonally adjusted" with a Labor Department statistical technique designed to accommodate fluctuations in the job market. DOL's Employment and Training report included the raw data:
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 354,301 in the week ending March 26, a decrease of 156 from the previous week.
On Wednesday's Newsroom, CNN hyped the concerns of psychiatrist Terry Kupers over the imprisonment of Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning. Kupers labeled Manning's months-long solitary confinement "cruel or inhumane treatment, and by international standards, they constitute torture." The guest also claimed that "nobody has been accused of crimes like Bradley Manning's."
Anchor Carol Costello noted in her introduction to her interview of Kupers (which aired 47 minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour) that "Manning, the man accused of giving Wikileaks classified documents, spent most of the last nine months in solitary confinement. One psychiatrist tells CNN that amounted to torture, and it could have done more harm than good." An on-screen graphic trumpeted this charge: "Wikileaks Suspect 'Tortured': Doc: Months of solitary does permanent damage."
On CNN Newsroom this morning, anchor Carol Costello spoke with national correspondent Jason Carroll about the potential for a nuclear disaster in Japan. Carroll noted that "some scientists say the best-case scenario at this point is that the situation in Japan ends up like Three Mile Island. . ." This possibility frightened the anchor:
COSTELLO: It's kind of crazy to me that we're hoping the outcome is like Three Mile Island. It's just so sad and scary.
Why? According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island "led to no deaths or injuries to plant workers or members of the nearby community." The average radiological exposure for 2 million people in the area was about one-sixth of that received from a chest x-ray. Moreover, ". . .comprehensive investigations and assessments by several well‑respected organizations have concluded that in spite of serious damage to the reactor, most of the radiation was contained and that the actual release had negligible effects on the physical health of individuals or the environment."
CNN's Joe Johns hyped a recent Michael Moore speech on Monday's Newsroom as "incredible" and "riveting." Johns highlighted a clip from the left-wing film director, who spoke at a pro-union rally in Madison, Wisconsin, where he claimed that "America is not broke...The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands! It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers...to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich."
Anchor Brooke Baldwin brought on the correspondent for the regular "Political Pop" segment 40 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, and asked about Moore's March 5, 2011 address in Madison. Johns immediately gushed over the director's words:
BALDWIN: What was he up to in Madison?
JOE JOHNS: Yeah. Well, it was a speech and it was really pretty incredible. Have you seen it by the way?
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN's Ali Velshi claimed that Rep. Peter King has a "seemingly strange obsession with Islam and Islamists, or whatever you want to call it," given the lead up and the first day of hearings looking into the radicalization of American Muslims. Velshi also bizarrely stated that "I don't quite understand how when you put an -ist at the end of it [Islamism], it changes the subject."
The anchor discussed the hearings with former FBI agent Foria Younis, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, and former Catholic turned Episcopal priest Rev. Alberto Cutie during the last segment of the 2 pm Eastern hour. Midway through the panel discussion, Velshi turned to Cutie and made his claim about the New York congressman, along with his doubt about the validity of "Islamist" as a term:
CNN's Deborah Feyerick performed a cut-and-paste job on Thursday's Newsroom by partially re-running a biased report from September 2010 on the apparent rise of "Islamophobia" in the United States. Just as before, all but one of Feyerick's sound bites during her report came from those who were worried about the supposed "intensifying hostility and rise in hate speech" against Muslims.
Anchor Suzanne Malveaux introduced the correspondent's report, which ran 40 minutes into the 12 pm Eastern hour, by putting it in the context of Rep. Peter King's hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims: "King says his radicalization of Islam hearing is going to help protect America from a terrorist attack. Well, critics, they call it a witch hunt. One of the concerns is that it is going to cause more Americans to fear and hate Muslims. Our Deborah Feyerick reports Islamophobia is on the rise." A chyron echoed Malveaux's last sentence: "Islamophobia on the Rise."
Hope springs eternal at CNN, at least some of the time. Sure, the massively expensive Obama stimulus was a miserable flop. And extending unemployment benefits worked to extend periods of unemployment, as numerous studies have shown. Government jobs programs have failed for decades.
No matter. According to business correspondent Alison Kosik on CNN Newsroom today, a jump in jobless claims proves more government intervention is necessary:
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we've got a lot of negative news all at once, that's weighing down the markets right now. You know what, pick your poison at this point, we got unemployment claims. They rose more than expected, much more than expected, double what was expected. That's after all the optimism that was created from the previous week's numbers. We're inching back towards the 400,000 mark we've so much been trying to get away from. It really just shows that people still need a lot of help from the government because people are still being laid off.
CNN seemed to fear the worst before Thursday's hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims, pressing committee chair Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on his stance toward radical Islam with the shadow of Joseph McCarthy looming in the background.
CNN correspondent Dana Bash asked King, the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, if he was "obsessed" with radical Islam, and what he thought about being compared to Joseph McCarthy. Her exclusive video interview with the congressman was aired multiple times Wednesday on the network.
In a voice-over, Bash reported that the hearing appears "to some, akin to Joseph McCarthy's 1950's communist witch hunt." She then asked a question of the congressman in real-time, this much of which was included in the segment: "Peter King is the modern day Joseph McCarthy?" Bash was probably alluding to the thoughts of King's critics, and was asking him for his reaction.
Mark Potok of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center claimed on Monday's Newsroom on CNN that radical Islam wasn't "our biggest domestic terror threat," that instead, "that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country." Anchor Suzanne Malveaux touted Potok as "expert on extremism" from "one of the most highly regarded non-governmental operations that are monitoring hate groups."
Malveaux brought on the SPLC spokesman at the bottom of the 12 noon Eastern hour to discuss the upcoming hearings by the House Homeland Security Committee on the radicalization of American Muslims. The anchor first asked him, "From your study of tracking radical groups, potentially hate groups, what do you think of this hearing? Is al Qaeda radicalizing Muslims? Is that our biggest homegrown terrorism threat right now?"
Potok replied with his "radical right" claim, and went on to criticize the chairman of the House committee, Rep. Peter King:
According to CNN, a relatively minor misstatement by John McCain was worth replaying four times in the span of an hour. Newsroom host Randi Kaye repeatedly focused on a comment by the senator that the iPad and iPhone are "built" in America. (In fact, they are designed in California, but assembled in China.)
A CNN graphic trumpeted, "McCain's Made-in-America-Flub." Kaye breathlessly related, "McCain's office tells CNN the senator is aware of [the fact that the Apple products are built in China.] Talking to political director Paul Steinhauser, the host interrogated, "Paul, this is getting a lot of attention. Is the Senator aware of that or not?"
Steinhauser skeptically responded, "Uh, he says he is aware of it." Teasing the story later in the show, Kaye quizzed viewers, "Listen closely to what Senator John McCain told ABC's This Week and then see if you can figure out what's wrong with what he said."
Apparently, someone who broke his vows and trashed his former church is a worthy guest, in CNN's eyes, for a discussion on the Supreme Court, as on Thursday's Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon turned to "Padre Alberto" Cutie for his take on the Court's recent decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church. Cutie took issue with the ruling: "I don't think the First Amendment should protect hatred in the public forum, and I think that's where the law makes its biggest mistake....Nobody has the right in the 21st century to propagate hate."
Lemon brought on the Episcopalian pastor, along with CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin and John Ellsworth of Military Families United, for a panel discussion segment 51 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour. After asking Ellsworth for his response to the Supreme Court ruling, the anchor raised Westboro's extreme beliefs with Cutie: "So Father, listen, do you consider Westboro- most people don't consider it a legitimate church, okay? But is this- aren't they saying the same thing that's reinforced by religion that's being preached from the pulpit in many churches on Sunday?"
CNN's Carol Costello re-aired a biased report she did in 2009 about liberal efforts to push localism to limit the influence of conservative talk radio. During the report, Costello omitted the left-of-center source of a statistic she used, that 91% of talk radio is apparently conservative. She also tilted towards localism by playing three sound bites in favor of the proposal, versus two against it.
The CNN anchor introduced her report, which originally aired on the October 21, 2009 edition of American Morning, by noting that "House Speaker John Boehner told the National Religious Broadcasters Convention he and other Republicans are working on a bill that ensures the Fairness Doctrine will not be revived, ever. Boehner says it's important because the Fairness Doctrine silences ideas and voices."
Costello then gave only two brief indications that her report was over a year old. She stated that "The controversy over the Fairness Doctrine, or as some like to call it, localism, boiled over a few years ago as progressives fought for what they call a fighting chance to have their voices heard." Actually, the Fairness Doctrine and localism are two separate issues, something she actually acknowledged during her original introduction to the report: "It’s unlikely the Fairness Doctrine will return, but there is something else many liberal talkers are fighting for: localism." In addition to this, a graphic flashed on the screen for only seven seconds: "Original Airdate 2009" (see below).
On Monday's Newsroom, CNN's Don Lemon helped film director Qasim Basir promote his new film "Mooz-lum," which he hopes will "clear up some of this ignorance" about Muslims and their religion. Basir, whose last project "aimed at supporting presidential candidate Barack Obama," claimed that "in an average person's mind, who does not know anybody that's Muslim, it's like you see Muslim, you think terrorist."
Anchor Suzanne Malveaux introduced Lemon's segment, which ran 39 minutes into the 12 pm Eastern hour, as part of her network's "What Matters" series, which is a partnership with Essence magazine. Malveaux played up the film's "strong African-American cast and director," and stated that her colleague "sat down with the director Qasim Basir to talk about the movie, and the state of Muslims in America." An on-screen graphic signaled the primary focus of Lemon's interview: "Religion + Intolerance: Don Lemon, Qasim Bair discuss 'Mooz-lum.'"
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux announced that Ian Murphy, the blogger who prank-called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by pretending to be billionaire David Koch, was her network's "Most Intriguing Person of the Day." Murphy is the latest liberal hero to receive this designation from CNN.
Malveaux devoted a half-minute segment 21 minutes into the 11 am Eastern hour to the blogger from BuffaloBeast.com, a site co-founded by left-wing Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi:
On Monday's Newsroom, CNN's Martin Savidge teamed up with guests Rachel Sklar and Nick Ragone to oppose a proposed bill in Texas that would allow college students with concealed carry permits to carry handguns on campus. Savidge only had conservative talk show host Ben Ferguson on to voice his support for the bill during the segment, who faced off against the three.
The anchor brought on Sklar, Ragone, and Ferguson 48 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour for a panel discussion on the Texas legislation. He first turned to the former Huffington Post editor: "Rachel...what do you think of the idea of Texas allowing students to carry guns?" Predictably, Sklar ripped the idea:
On Wednesday afternoon, CNN aired a misleading graphic about Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's statements about a proposed license plate honoring a controversial Confederate general from the Civil War. The chyron, which ran during CNN Newsroom and The Situation Room, stated that the "Miss. Gov. won't denounce creation of KKK license plate."
At first glance, one would imagine that the proposed vanity plate has an image of a burning cross or a hooded figure. In reality, the organization behind it, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, aim to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest, who is a controversial figure, even disregarding his early membership in the Klan, because of his involvement in the massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow in Tennessee in 1864. Most people probably know the name because of the Oscar-winning movie Forrest Gump, as the title character was named after the Confederate figure (the movie also has a brief clip of actor Tom Hanks, playing Gen. Forrest, donning his Klan robes).
Today on CNN's Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips reported on "Confession: A Roman Catholic App," available from iTunes. Describing herself as a "woman of the cloth," Phillips claimed the app meant ". . .you don't have to go to church. You don't have to go see the priest. All you do is you go on to this app. . ." She also said the app is endorsed by the Vatican.
She was wrong on all counts. Designed to assist Roman Catholics in examining their consciences while preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the app doesn't end the requirement to go to church (in most situations) and see a priest. Moreover, while the developer does indeed claim an imprimatur from the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, that doesn't signify Vatican endorsement.
On Monday's Newsroom, CNN's David Mattingly continued his network's unbalanced coverage of homosexual issues with his proclamation that a lesbian couple raising kids in Jacksonville, Florida are "part of a new face on the old Bible Belt." Mattingly devoted four sound bites to the couple and the "pro-gay church" they attend, as opposed to only one from a local pastor who supports traditional marriage.
The correspondent began his report by noting that "Latisha Bines and her partner, Misty Gray of Jacksonville, Florida, are part of a new face on the old Bible Belt: same-sex couples, raising children, turning to pro-gay churches for support and acceptance." He also played two clips from Bines and Gray, one from a soccer game where they cheered on one of Bines's children.
Mattingly continued by highlighting a recent study about homosexual couples:
CNN devoted three and a half minutes of coverage on Monday's Newsroom to a protest by "two dozen, maybe three dozen" people who were against two proposed laws targeting illegal immigration in Arizona. The network showed live and taped footage of this liberal protest. By contrast, CNN spent a mere 11 seconds to the March for Life in January and showed no footage from the pro-life demonstration.
Anchor Brooke Baldwin led the 3 pm Eastern hour with the pro-illegal immigration rally:
BALDWIN: There is a new front opening up in the immigration battle. Where else would this be happening? Arizona. At this hour, children and their parents- I'm talking also itty-bitty babies there being carried- they're marching on the Capitol complex building in Phoenix, just as the state Senate considers another proposed crackdown. So, here's what you need to know: there's this new bill that would essentially deny American citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil if their parents came here illegally.
CNN's Brooke Baldwin on Wednesday's Newsroom highlighted Lila Rose and Live Action Film's most recent hidden camera video showing Planned Parenthood aiding and abetting the covering up of sex crimes, unlike the morning and evening news shows of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Baldwin interviewed Rose and a spokesman from the abortion-providing organization, asking both fair questions about the controversy [audio clips from interviews available here].
The anchor had the young pro-life activist on first just after the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour. Midway through the interview, Baldwin pressed Rose about the motivation for her undercover videos:
On Monday's Newsroom, CNN treated Arizona's gun laws as a significant contributor to the shootings in Tucson. Correspondent Jessica Yellin prompted the local prosecutor to spout her pro-gun control views. Anchor Brooke Baldwin highlighted a local Republican's gun-toting ad and the infamous clip of an anti-Obama protester carrying a semi-automatic rifle outside a 2009 presidential event in Arizona.
CNN International's Zain Verjee on Monday's Newsroom highlighted The Guardian's left-wing talking point that the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabby Giffords "points to the rise of political extremism in the United States." Verjee also bizarrely played up a post from al-Jazeera's website which speculated whether the U.S. would blame Islam for the shootings in Arizona [audio available here].
Anchor Kyra Phillips brought on the CNN International anchor 53 minutes into the 9 am Eastern hour to report on international reactions to the violence, and asked, "So, what are the headlines there, starting in Great Britain, Zain?"
Verjee launched right into The Guardian's headline as she held up a copy of the newspaper:
“The shooter’s motivation is still unknown,” Katie Couric announced as she anchored Saturday’s CBS Evening News, but that didn’t deter CBS, nor CNN, NBC and ABC on Saturday night and into Sunday morning from forwarding attempts to blame Sarah Palin and, by implication, the Tea Party, for the Tucson shooting.
“Giffords was one of 20 Democrats whose districts were lit up in cross hairs on a Sarah Palin campaign Web site last spring,” CBS’s Nancy Cordes declared in referring to a political map, adding that “Giffords and many others complained that someone unstable might act on that imagery.” Hours later on CNN, Jessica Yellin noted “we don't know the motive” before she proceeded to raise how “on Twitter and Facebook, there is a lot of talk, in particular, about Sarah Palin.” On Sunday’s Today, leading into a clip about Palin, NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell asserted: “Giffords, a conservative Democrat, was concerned about heated campaign rhetoric from the Tea Party.”
ABC connected Palin to the Wild West, as David Wright reported on This Week:
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords liked to joke that her district includes Tombstone and the OK Corral. Until yesterday morning, most people here would have said that rogue gunslingers were part of the distant past. On election night in November, 18 of the politicians in the crosshairs of Sarah Palin's political action committee lost, but not Gabby Giffords.
Audio:MP3 clip, matches 2:45 video below compilation of six soundbites.