On Monday's Good Morning America, as ABC's Jeffrey Kofman recounted the news that Pope Benedict XVI's butler has been arrested, implicated in leaking Vatican documents to the media, the ABC correspondent asserted that the Pope's "seven-year papacy has been consumed by very public scandals," and then recounted a group of demonstrators who recently accused the Pope of "covering up evidence" in the case of a 15-year-old girl who went missing in 1983. Kofman:
CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning show on Thursday to cover a conservative group's allegation that the Obama administration gave a movie director and writer "special access to government officials involved in the commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden," as reported by Reuters on Wednesday. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today ignored the story.
Correspondent Chip Reid outlined that "the documents...obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group...reveal that director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal...met with top national security officials; gained access to Seal Team 6; and visited the CIA."
42 percent of Democratic primary voters in Kentucky on Tuesday chose "uncommited" over Barack Obama. In Arkansas, a Tennessee attorney finished with 41 percent of the vote. ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today and CBS This Morning all skipped the embarrassing story, despite the fact that CBS and NBC covered the far less interesting Republican primary.
During the month of May, Obama suffered through a series of humiliating protest votes in Democratic primaries. On May 8th, the incumbent President nearly lost the West Virginia primary to a convicted felon. Yet, except for a single mention at 4am on May 9th, the networks have buried Obama's bad news.
ABC on Monday and Tuesday completely ignored 12 major lawsuits filed by Catholic groups over the Obama-imposed birth control mandate. NBC allowed a mere 20 seconds to the topic.
CBS This Morning, however, was the only show on the networks to devote a full report to the lawsuits. Co-host Charlie Rose allowed Cardinal Timothy Dolan to make his case that the mandate limits religious liberty. Rose wondered, "What is it you want the administration to do?" However, co-host Erica Hill pushed the responsibility on Catholics: "So, have you reached out specifically to President Obama to again plead your case and say, here's where my problem is?"
Sunday's CBS Evening News refreshingly spotlighted the continuing persecution of the Coptic Christians in Egypt, an ongoing story that the Big Three networks have largely ignored for months. Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer zeroed in on the uncertain future for the religious minority as the country gears for a rare election: "[Egypt's] Christians are deeply worried....Two of the frontrunners in the race with a realistic chance of winning are deeply devout Islamists."
The last time CBS reported on the anti-Christian violence in Egypt was a news brief on the October 9, 2011 edition of Evening News, according to a Nexis search. Since January 2011, ABC, NBC, and CBS's morning and evening newscasts have only mentioned the issue six times.
Violent anti-war protesters clashed with Chicago police this weekend, but the network morning shows on Monday avoided attempts at pinning an ideology on them, simply referring to "anti-war" "protesters."
On CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose blandly explained, "Protests turned violent in Chicago...Police battle protesters in Chicago." Reporter Bill Plante added, "And a small group of them clashed with police and 45 were arrested." ABC at least provided mores specifics, including a stabbing and foiled attempts to use Molotov cocktails at the NATO summit.
ABC on Thursday and Friday breathlessly hyped the "troubling" details of Mitt Romney's "teenage bullying," events that ocurred 47 years ago. On Friday's Good Morning America, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, introduced, "It's your voice, your vote and new questions today about whether Mitt Romney's teenage pranks went too far." On Thursday, World News was the only evening newscast to actually lead with the story.
Reporter David Muir, who covered the story on GMA and World News, managed to use the world troubling twice in one sentence, insisting that the bully victim's family is "reacting to that troubling account from those five grown men, all former classmates of Mitt Romney, among them a lawyer, a dentist, a school principal all who described a troubling scene." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts on Thursday made little effort to hide the excitement she felt when Barack Obama came out in support for gay marriage. Touting her exclusive interview with the President, Roberts marveled that, just talking about it, "I'm getting chills again." She added that the moment "was not lost on anyone" who was in the White House, Wednesday.
Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos hyped the "watershed moment." Roberts deemed it to be the President's "historic stand." During the GMA segment, she offered several softball questions, including one about Mother's Day. On people who might actually oppose gay marriage, Roberts could only manage: "You realize there are going to be some people that are going to be saying [you made this decision for political gain]. Do you see where some people might consider that the same thing?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC’s Good Morning America treated last night’s loss of long-time serving Republican Senator Richard Lugar, to the more conservative Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock, as a sad sign of the end of bi-partisanship. In the 7am half-hour of Wednesday’s show, ABC’s Josh Elliott declared Lugar’s loss was an “earthquake of great degree” and eulogized Lugar as a senator who was “well-known for his willingness to reach across party lines.” Later on in the 8am half-hour Elliott called Lugar’s loss “a massive political headline” as he reported: “A long time voice of bipartisanship...has been defeated.”
CNN’s Erin Burnett, on last night’s edition of Outfront, also cast the Mourdock victory as a bad omen for Washington, as she worried, “So are the only people willing to find the middle ground disappearing from Washington...This is pretty tragic that we have gotten to this point where working together is a negative thing.” (Video after the jump)
Good Morning America's Martha Raddatz on Wednesday turned the program into something out of Entertainment Tonight, fawning over the "cool," popular Hillary Clinton who "doesn't care what people think." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos enthused, "The Secretary of State has been sporting a new look these days. No makeup. No contacts. No blowouts."
Stephanopoulos, who previously worked for Mrs. Clinton's husband when he was in the White House, introduced the puff piece this way: "She is doing what she wants how she wants and seems to be having a great time doing it." As though she were interviewing Justin Bieber, Raddatz raved, "Let's face it, Hillary is cool. Trending. From the dancing and drinking photos during her trip to Colombia, to the iconic shot of the secretary texting on her C-17." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Perhaps previewing the winking and nodding that will follow in the general election campaign, ABC's John Berman on Monday uncritically parroted the White House line on gay marriage: "What the President seems to want is space."
The Good Morning America correspondent added that the President is looking for "space to say that perhaps in a second term he might change the policy. But for it not the become major campaign issue in the next few months." Considering that Barack Obama's position on position on same sex marriage has been "evolving" for 17 months, shouldn't the White House be pressed by journalists to offer an actual opinion?
When the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement first arrived on the scene back in October of 2011 the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks greeted, what they viewed as the left’s answer to the Tea Party, with a whopping 33 full stories in just the first 11 days of coverage and a total of 81 stories in that month. However, when that movement proved to be an embarrassment to the left and Democratic Party with its acts of violence, most recently on May Day, the Big Three breezed past the ugly actions of this leftist movement with just one full story.
From May 1 through the morning of May 3 ABC, CBS and NBC, in their morning and evening newscasts, devoted a total of just 4 minutes combined to the Occupy Wall Street movement’s day of disruption that included blocking traffic, vandalism and sending simulated anthrax letters to banks full of white powder.
Wednesday's nightly newscasts and Thursday's morning shows hyped "steamy," "romantic" journal entries from an ex-girlfriend of Barack Obama, but downplayed or ignored revelations that his autobiography created a "composite" relationship of multiple women.
On Thursday's Today, Natalie Morales gossiped like a school girl: "Steamy journal entries from a long-ago ex-girlfriend of President Obama are heating up the internet..." She revealed important details such as the fact that his apartment smelled like "running sweat" and "raisins." However, Morales skipped the fact that, as reported by Politico, "the 'New York girlfriend' was actually a composite character, based off of multiple girlfriends he had both in New York City and in Chicago." [Video of Diane Sawyer's recap below. See audio here.]
The same networks that huffed and whined about George W. Bush's secret trip to Iraq over Thanksgiving in 2003, calling it an "embarrassing" "presidential shell game," had no such harsh language for Barack Obama's clandestine visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Jake Tapper on Wednesday deemed the visit simply a "surprise." On CBS This Morning, Scott Pelley proclaimed it "remarkable," insisting, "These things are always kept secret, in the Bush administration, in the Obama administration, until the President arrives safely." Yet, on the November 30, 2003 CBS Evening News, Mark Knoller bitterly complained, "It was professionally embarrassing to be clueless...And from now on when I report that the president is at his ranch, neither you nor I will be sure of it."
According to the reporters at Good Morning America, May Day is a "traditional day of protest," one in which members of the Occupy movement can get "fired up about." Reporter John Berman ignored the communist influence that has held sway over May Day.
Instead, he blandly announced, "Well, May Day is International Workers Day, a traditional day of protest. And the Occupy movement is expected to use this to stage some of their biggest protests in months." In a follow-up brief, news reader Josh Elliott similarly insisted, "It's all a part of civil disobedience for May Day, also known as International Workers Day."
Despite appearing on ABC's Good Morning America Monday, former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather canceled his scheduled interview on Fox News's O'Reilly Factor later in the day.
With this in mind, political commentator Bernie Goldberg told Bill O'Reilly Monday night that Rather is "more comfortable with sitting down with a murderer like Saddam Hussein than sitting down with you" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
George Stephanopoulos and the reporters at Good Morning America did not treat Dan Rather like a discredited journalist who disgraced CBS with faked documents. Instead, Rather was extolled as a "legendary newsman," and a "news legend." Those two terms were used four times on Monday.
Stephanopoulos interviewed the ex-CBS anchor who was let go after using discredited documents in a 2004 story about then-President George W. Bush. The GMA co-host sympathetically explained how Rather is "upset" by his abrupt exit: "...You felt that your team at CBS and its corporate ownership at Viacom, didn't back you up in that pursuit of the news and the truth." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC News has, thus far, ignored its own revelation that, contrary to insinuations made by Barack Obama, the then-private citizen and his wife "were making enough to be considered 'wealthy' by the president’s own definition in the years before his loans were paid off." ABC relegated this story to a posting on its website, not mentioning it on Wednesday's World News or Nightline.
The story was similarly skipped on Thursday's Good Morning America. World News did touch on student loans, but only to accuse Mitt Romney of flip-flipping on the issue. David Muir dug up a clip of the Republican telling a college student to shop around and not expect the government to bail him out.
On Wednesday, two out of the Big Three broadcast networks yawned at Mitt Romney's wins in five primaries the previous evening and minimized covering this story on the morning newscasts. ABC's Good Morning America didn't air one report on Romney's victories, and NBC's Today offered just two news briefs. By contrast, NBC devoted a full report and a news brief to a woman spilling frozen yogurt on President Obama.
ABC also covered the "embarrassing" yogurt encounter on GMA, but with only one brief. CBS This Morning, on the other hand, devoted one full report and a discussion segment to the Romney win and ignored the dessert story.
Over a combined total of nine and a half hours of programming, CBS, NBC and ABC allowed a mere 72 seconds of coverage to the news, Monday, that Social Security will go bankrupt three years earlier than previously expected. ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News skipped the subject entirely.
The same networks that offered copious amounts of stories to a vague threat of future global warming disaster, found little interest in the coming problems of Social Security. Scott Pelley briefly explained on Monday's Evening News: "Medicare will run out of money in 2024. Social Security retirement benefits run out in 2033. But Social Security disability benefits will be exhausted long before that, in 2016."
Of the three major networks, only ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday covered the "dog wars" counterattack by Mitt Romney's operatives. Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos highlighted that the campaign is "tweeting around a picture of the President and trying to focus on a revelation he made in his memoir, that he actually tried dog when he was a young boy in Indonesia."
CBS This Morning and NBC's Today both skipped the story. The Romney team used the dog-eating revelation from Obama's book to hit back on Democratic complaints that the Republican once put his dog on the car roof during a vacation. On January 31, 2012, Today made sure to bring up that liberal talking point.
NBC and CBS's evening and morning shows on Thursday and Friday finally discovered the ugly comments made by a Democratic operative against Ann Romney. After skipping the story Thursday morning, CBS Evening News reporters did their best to minimize it. Correspondent Nancy Cordes insisted that Hillary Rosen, who knocked Mrs. Romney for "never working," made sure to stress that the woman "is not connected to the Obama campaign, but Republicans called out the campaign anyway."
Anchor Scott Pelley offered a similarly dismissive attitude: "Democrats and Republicans tripped over one another to see who could denounce with the most force what most everyone agrees was a dumb comment from a single pundit." Cordes pointed out an 18 point lead Barack Obama enjoys among women over Romney in one poll. On Friday's Good Morning America, reporter John Berman stressed this theme: "...Mitt Romney trails the President by 19 points among women. 19 points."
The NBC and CBS morning shows on Thursday completely skipped any mention of a nasty attack on Ann Romney by Democratic National Committee adviser (and frequent White House visitor) Hilary Rosen. Today and CBS This Morning both ignored Rosen's insult that Mrs. Romney "has actually never worked a day in her life."
Rosen's remarks were made on Wednesday's Anderson Cooper. Today did highlight news coming out of that CNN show, but it wasn't the Rosen story. It was Cooper's riveting "attack of the giggles" that Natalie Morales marveled over: "The CNN host just couldn't keep it together" and suffered a case of the "sillies." This, apparently, was the more important news emanating from Anderson Cooper 360. [See video of the actual Rosen comment below.]
NBC and CBS completely skipped a new report indicating that President Obama's health care law will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt. ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday allowed a mere 17 seconds to the revelation that the law could balloon the deficit by $340 billion.
News reader Josh Elliott swiftly explained, "And President Obama's health care law could up costing a lot more than previously expected, at least according to one new study. It found that the law could add some $340 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade." However, he also parroted talking points that, according to the White House, the study was simply "new math." This was the only mention on GMA. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning ignored the story.
The Today show on Friday continued to ignore an embarrassing example of government waste during Barack Obama's tenure. ABC, CBS and NBC's Nightly News, however, have all highlighted the extravagant $823,000 spent for a General Services Administration conference in Las Vegas in 2010.
On Friday's Good Morning America, Jake Tapper pointed out that "one year after President Obama" admonished bailed out bankers to not "take a trip to Las Vegas," employees "at the GSA were doing just that." In contrast, when the Nightly News reported on the story on Monday, reporter Lisa Myers only mentioned that the "White House is angry" at the revelations.
ABC and NBC could barely contain their contempt while covering the controversy over the all-male Augusta golf club. Katie Couric, guest anchoring Good Morning America on Thursday, lectured the organization hosting the Masters tournament to allow a woman in: "I mean, really. Get with the program. Seriously?"
Reporter Josh Elliott lamented that Augusta has remained "cloistered," "a secretive sanctuary for golfers and one that has never admitted a woman. On Wednesday's Nightly News, correspondent Lisa Myers wondered what Augusta Chairman Billy Payne would "tell his granddaughters about why women are excluded."
Good Morning America analyst Matt Dowd on Wednesday lectured Rick Santorum to "get out" and stop wasting "any little bit of political capital he has left." Depending on which count one looks at, Mitt Romney is currently 489 delegates short of the nomination.
That fact didn't stop Dowd from making his point clear. Over four sentences, he used the phrase "get out" four times, pronouncing, "I think he has to get out because he wants to preserve any little bit of political capital he has left and a voice in the Republican Party." The same man who, on March 26 slammed conservative states as hypocrites, instructed Santorum, "I think it would be good to get out right now before he loses Pennsylvania. But he has got to try to keep a voice in the party by getting out."
Good Morning America's John Berman on Tuesday again proved his ability to be crude, adding a zipper sound effect to a quote by Ann Romney. Sounding like a fifth grade boy, Berman derided the wife of the presidential candidate, insisting that "unexpected comments from Ann Romney...just begged to be taken out of context."
Berman played a clip of Mrs. Romney on a radio show in which she rebutted claims that her husband is "stiff," replying, "I guess we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out." Immediately following this, ABC played a zipper sound. Now, while GMA and Berman found time for juvenile humor, there was no mention of President Obama's attack on the Supreme Court. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America offered another typical softball session with Bill Clinton on Monday to promote his latest Global Initiative meeting, but since using George Stephanopoulos might seem too obvious, they sent normally aggressive Jake Tapper to lob the softballs. Oddly, the questions that might actually be defined as news were edited out of the ABC program and left to a much smaller audience of political junkies on Tapper's Political Punch blog.
Instead of the program featuring queries about Travon Martin or the Supreme Court, Tapper highlighted the "long, bruising" Republican presidential primary and compared it to Clinton's 1992 campaign: "You turned it around. Can [Romney]?" An ABC graphic trumpeted, "Bill Clinton: Romney Can't Win." Clinton piously asserted that his presidential campaign endured "one long character attack." Tapper had no follow-up or query about Clinton's actual character issues. [See video below. See MP3 audio here.]
Is it right to make death threats against George Zimmerman and his family? ABC News isn't sure. In a Good Morning America segment today on the Trayvon Martin case, as an ABC reporter spoke from Sanford, Florida, this graphic was displayed across the bottom of the screen:
"ARE DEATH THREATS GOING TOO FAR?" Video and screencap after the jump.