Reporting on the release of Charlie Hebdo's first issue since the January 7 terrorist attack, NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday refused to show the cover of the satirical magazine that depicted a cartoon image of Mohamed. Despite such censorship, both networks touted the publication as "a triumph for free speech" and "a kind of declaration of defiance against terror."
Good Morning America
On Monday, all three network morning shows surprisingly devoted full reports to President Obama being strongly criticized for not attending – or not at least sending a top official to attend – an anti-terror march in Paris on Sunday. At the top of NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer announced: "While world leaders join millions for a massive anti-terror rally in Paris, the President is under fire for not taking part."
On Sunday, Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.) will attend the Green Bay Packers/Dallas Cowboys playoff game with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Christie’s decision has drawn the ire of many football fans in New Jersey for not supporting either the Philadelphia Eagles or New York Giants, both of which have large fan bases in New Jersey. During their Sunday morning broadcasts, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today did their best to play up the alleged football controversy, giving the story nearly six minutes of coverage. NBC’s Kristen Welker went so far as to insist despite Christie’s long support for the Cowboys “fans in the New Jersey region are crying foul. Some even saying the presidential contender has lost their vote.”
All three networks on Friday hyped Barack Obama's call for "free community college," but CBS, NBC and ABC offered very little in the way of skepticism about the cost or feasability of such a proposal.
ABC's Good Morning America has endured an increasing amount of criticism for ignoring real news in favor of vacuous, irrelevant stories. That trend continued on Wednesday as the two-hour-long program offered no time to the convening of the new Republican Senate and House or of the GOP agenda. Instead, GMA reporters featured a full report on the "new way to fight frizzy hair."
While Republicans officially took control of both the House and the Senate on Tuesday, NBC, ABC, and CBS all touted GOP setbacks. NBC's Today led the way, with correspondent Peter Alexander seizing on comments from the top Senate Republican: "Among incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's main goals for his party: don't be scary."
Good Morning America's keys to success: Replace hard news with tabloid news and viral videos, that according to Baltimore Sun critic David Zurawik. The columnist appeared on Fox News, Sunday, and derided an obsession with superficial topics.
On Monday, both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today hyped a supposed "controversy" between Sarah Palin and radical animal rights group PETA, after Palin shared a touching photo of her Down Syndrome son using his service dog as a step stool to reach the kitchen sink.
During a news brief on GMA, anchor Amy Robach announced: "Sarah Palin sparking new controversy, this time among animal lovers. Reaction has erupted on social media when Palin posted this photo of her 6-year-old son standing on top of their dog."
All three networks on Friday offered glowing tributes to the "spellbinding," "liberal lion," Mario Cuomo, the Democratic politician who passed away on Thursday. Using phrases like "liberal beacon" and "political giant," Today, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning showcased just how much journalists have championed Cuomo's left-wing career.
Each of the network morning shows devoted some time on Wednesday to looking back at the biggest news stories of year and, while they certainly could not have included every story in the allotted time, they all failed to spend even a few seconds on topics such as Jonathan Gruber, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, President Obama’s unpopularity, and the Hobby Lobby case to name a few.
In addition, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC each mentioned the midterm elections and how Republicans were able to win control of the Senate (in addition to the House), they devoted a scant 21 seconds to the topic over the course of their roundups, which totaled 42 minutes and 50 seconds.
On Monday, a liberal blogger revealed that Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) spoke at a conference hosted by white supremacists in 2002 and the “big three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) networks eagerly jumped on the story. Starting with Tuesday’s morning news shows, the “big three” have given 13 minutes and 7 seconds to Scalise’s 2002 speech with each network doing its best to push how it could hurt Republican efforts at reaching out to minority voters.
On December 29, Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) admitted that he spoke at a convention of white supremacists in 2002 while serving as a Louisiana state legislator and the “big three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) networks predictably had a field day with the story. On Tuesday, all three networks provided full reports on Congressman Scalise during their morning newscasts totaling 5 minutes 44 seconds. CBS News reporter Jan Crawford declared that “this comes as the GOP is really trying to burnish its image, reach out to African-Americans and other minorities and this obviously does not help.”