ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts on Wednesday spotlighted Texas State Senator Wendy Davis's filibuster against pro-life legislation, hyping how she stood for hours in "comfortable pink sneakers" to stop a vote on the bill. The networks trumpeted how "the unfolding drama topped the list of worldwide Twitter trends", but ABC and NBC failed to include any tweets or soundbites from supporters of the proposal. [audio available here; video below the jump]
CBS This Morning did include two clips from a pro-life Texas state legislator, but anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell gushed over Davis. Rose harped about her "very interesting life story", while O'Donnell asserted that "she's going to become big figure now, I think, in Texas politics."
The personalities hosting Good Morning America made little effort to hide their joy over the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, Wednesday. During live coverage of the case on the west coast version of the program, news anchor George Stephanopoulos tossed the story to the openly gay Sam Champion, hyping his same-sex nuptials: "You and Rubem [Robierb] married in December. I can only imagine what this day feels like to you."
Champion marveled at the result: "My heart is pounding, like really thumping in my chest." He then lectured, "It's very easy to discount this into a legal brief or to say that they are theories. But this is about people's lives." The weatherman told viewers that "people all over this country" want "to know that they're equal and that their feelings for someone that they love can be legitimized and is just as right as their neighbors."
According to Danny Werfel, the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS's aggressive investigation of conservative groups was wider than originally thought. Yet, NBC totally ignored the story on Monday night and Tuesday morning. ABC allowed a mere 19 seconds to the continuing controversy.
According to the Associated Press, "The Internal Revenue Service's screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed, the new head of the agency acknowledged Monday." In addition to only mentioning the subject for a few seconds on Good Morning America, news reader Josh Elliott misleadingly emphasized, "The acting commissioner says documents showing liberal groups seeking tax exempt status were also targeted for special scrutiny, along with conservative organizations." Left-wing keywords and phrases may have been put on lists, but there's no evidence that liberal organizations suffered the same harassment as conservative groups.
In a continuing attempt to humanize George Stephanopoulos, ABC is now running lighthearted new promos for the host of This Week. In the spots, the former Democratic campaign operative barges into the kitchen of a couple to ask, "You guys got any milk?"
The admiring woman coos, "It's George Stephanopoulos. He's also on Sunday mornings." In another commercial, a second woman praises, "George on Sunday mornings. Now, that's good." One odd moment in the ad has Stephanopoulos, who is five foot, six inches tall, towering over a refrigerator by a good five inches. (Just how short is that fridge? See picture below.)
There's no word on whether Elizabeth Vargas had to receive smelling salts during her interview of Madonna which appeared on "Good Morning America." But it wouldn't be a surprise if she did.
When the ABC reporter, whose interview was relayed by the network's Sabrina Parise and posted at Yahoo.com, questioned the diva's use of gun choreography in her current tour's stage show, she certainly expected a robust defense. But she probably didn't expect a trip into the land of the Second Amendment. Nonetheless, that's what happened (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary; HT Hot Air; bolds are mine):
President Obama's speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was much anticipated by the network morning shows on Wednesday. On ABC's Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl announced: "Expectations are high." On CBS This Morning, Major Garrett touted the White House hope that the address would rank among past "famous and memorable speeches." On NBC's Today, Matt Lauer reminisced over the President being "greeted like a rock star" in 2008. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, after Obama's lackluster performance on Wednesday, there was nothing but silence on Thursday's morning shows, not even a mention of the supposedly "historic speech" that was promised.
ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday deemed the admission by the FBI that they have used drones inside America to be a "stunning revelation." Yet, news reader Josh Elliott somehow managed to ignore the fact that his own program already talked about this fact back in February. Elliott breathlessly related, "And another stunning revelation as lawmakers look at the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs."
He added, "For the first time, the FBI has acknowledged using drones to spy on Americans here on U.S. soil." However, on February 4, 2013, ABC reporter Gio Benitez covered the story of a young boy behind held hostage in Alabama. He explained, "This morning, drones like this are flying over the homemade underground bunker." If this wasn't clear enough, a graphic underlined, "Drones Now Flying Over Bunker." The FBI was heavily involved in this case. The news is hardly "stunning."
The Big Three all punted on covering the Capitol Hill "Audit the IRS" rally on their Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts. CBS This Morning played a four-second soundbite of Senator Ted Cruz addressing the thousands of Tea Party activists in attendance, but CBS, along with ABC and NBC, didn't air a full report or news brief on the protest.
The CBS morning show also stood out for spotlighting how the "IRS is under fire again...it's paying $70 million in employee bonuses, despite a White House order." CBS This Morning devoted 47 seconds of coverage to this latest IRS controversy, while ABC and NBC ignored the development.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a light-hearted, whimsical look at the Obama family's multi-country vacation. Reporter Linsey Davis played U2's "Beautiful Day" and compared the Ireland part of the trip to National Lampoon's European Vacation. Davis gushed, "You know it's a beautiful day when U2's Bono reportedly invites you to a private lunch at his favorite Irish pub, the famous Finigan's of Dalkey."
She added that "dining with a rock star is one of the perks of being a first family." Nowhere on the morning program was any mention of the cost of the trip. Ireland's Independent reported, "It is understood a total of 30 rooms in the five-star, 265-bedroom hotel, have been booked for the visit of Mrs Obama and her entourage."
On Monday morning, NBC and ABC ignored a new poll showing President Obama's approval had fallen by eight points in a month, from 53 to 45 percent. CNN reported on its own poll numbers, while CBS and MSNBC picked up the numbers as well.
While CBS This Morning briefly reported the poll numbers, CNN touted them repeatedly throughout the morning. New Day co-host Chris Cuomo said the President's image was "taking a beating," while correspondent Jessica Yellin noted that his support among young voters has "collapsed" and "is an astonishing cratering."
ABC on Saturday fawned over the growing "bromance" between Bill Clinton and Chris Christie, hyping the relationship as like "Clooney and Pitt" and, oddly, "Han Solo and Chewbacca." Good Morning America reporter Reena Ninan touted the New Jersey Governor's appearance last week at the Clinton Global Initiative, enthusing, "There was Clooney and Pitt. Han Solo and Chewbacca." (Ninan didn't explain who is Chewbacca in this example.)
ABC clearly seemed pleased at Christie's relationship with the Democratic politician. A graphic touted, "Clinton & Christie's 'Bromance." Ninan repeatedly gushed, "It's a bromance...But a political bromance?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Saturday's CBS Evening News ballyhooed the "enormous strain on resources" that the budget sequester has apparently put on extinguishing a massive wildfire in Colorado. Carter Evans played up how, in addition to fighting the flames, "federal firefighters are facing another challenge: a loss of $50 million, mandated by the budget sequester. That forced the Forest Service to cut 500 firefighters and 50 engines, just when they're needed most."
The CBS evening newscast was actually late to the game, as the network's Big Three competitors also spotlighted the same figures earlier in June.
ABC on Monday allowed a scant 22 seconds to the latest revelation in the scandal engulfing the Internal Revenue Service. NBC and CBS have, thus far, ignored the newest detail. The Associated Press on Sunday night reported that an IRS "supervisor in Washington says she was personally involved in scrutinizing some of the earliest applications from tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status."
Josh Elliott on Monday's Good Morning America explained, "That testimony contradicts IRS claims that agents in the Cincinnati field office were solely responsible for targeting those groups." Yet, a brief mention was all the morning show host could allow. In contrast, GMA devoted two minutes and 15 seconds to the relationship stars between Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. ABC also didn't note that the IRS employee in question, Holly Paz, donated $4000 to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
When news broke that IRS agents were abusively targeting conservative groups particularly the Tea Party, it looked at as if this was an Obama administration scandal that would stick. Even reporters like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell counted it as among the “most outrageous excesses I’ve seen.” Obama sycophant Chris Matthews predicted it could be worth “five or 10 points” for Republicans in the next midterm elections. Even theNew York Timeseditorial board proclaimed: “The IRS Audits Are Condemned.”
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks actually jumped to cover the story, filling their evening and morning shows with a total of 96 stories in the first two weeks (May 10 through May 23) of coverage. But after those two strong weeks, the broadcast networks lost interest in the scandal, and the coverage slowed to a crawl -- just 31 stories in the subsequent weeks (May 24 through June 12). This week, the networks have run only one story (June 11 on ABC’s Good Morning America) on the IRS scandal.
The latest State Department scandal, involving a possible cover-up of sexual misconduct by an ambassador and security officials, was only newsworthy enough to merit one full report each on ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts before the two networks moved on. NBC led Tuesday's Today with the "damaging documents" concerning the "possibly illegal...behavior", but ignored it the following morning. NBC Nightly News hasn't even touched the story yet.
ABC arrived late to covering the allegations on Tuesday's World News, but Good Morning America has yet to mention the issue as of Wednesday. CBS broke their scoop on the scandal on Monday's CBS This Morning, and covered it as well on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Good Morning America hasn't made time to cover a possible prostitution scandal involving Hillary Clinton's State Department, but the show's hosts gushed over the politician's debut on Twitter. News reader Josh Elliott thrilled, "Hillary Clinton has arrived on Twitter. And, boy, does she have people talking because in part of her description of herself."
After reading the description of Clinton's bio, the GMA anchors raved over the former Secretary of State's skill at social media. Robin Roberts lauded, "She's so good at that!" Entertainment reporter Lara Spencer agreed. Sam Champion bragged, "I tweeted her yesterday. I saw it early on! I'm, like, hey is this real?" After co-anchor George Stephanopoulos inquired as to whether he got a response, a dejected Champion admitted, "No."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Acting as though he were Barack Obama's lawyer, George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday's Good Morning America repeatedly pressed John Boehner as to why he doesn't believe the President's explanation about the IRS scandal. After the Speaker of the House marveled, "How can your chief of staff, your general counsel know and you not know," the GMA co-host lectured, "That's a pretty serious charge."
Stephanopoulos continued, "Have you seen any evidence or has Chairman [Darrell] Issa produced any evidence that this was led by the White House in any way, shape or form?" The former Democratic operative turned journalist complained, "What information do you want that they haven't provided?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday, CNN ignored a CBS News report that, according to the State Department's Inspector General, the department stymied investigations into allegations of sexual assault by its security employees. Neither NBC nor ABC touched the story either.
As CBS reported, an Inspector General memo detailed specific examples of alleged sexual assault and soliciting of prostitutes by State Department security officials abroad. The department's watchdog tried to investigate the cases but the investigations were "influenced, manipulated, or simply called off." The memo noted that security details engaging prostitutes in foreign countries was an "endemic" problem.
The ABC and NBC morning shows on Monday ignored or downplayed the role the President of the United States played in the unfolding spying scandal that broke last week. The journalists at Good Morning America never once uttered the name Barack Obama. The hosts of NBC's Today left it to their guest to question the implications for the President.
It was CBS This Morning that saw possible damage to Obama. Major Garrett warned, "The White House knows that this is an intelligence crisis that could become a political crisis." The reporter added that the administration "had to admit a politically and tactically startling truth: It conducts more surveillance than the Bush White House." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd cheered President Obama picking Susan Rice to be his new national security advisor and nominating Samantha Power as U.N. ambassador: "They are now among the most powerful women in the American foreign policy community. Behind-the-scenes power players now front and center."
Amid sound bites of Obama praising both women, Todd joined in extolling their accomplishments: "Both come with a long list of impressive credentials. Rice, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford. In 1990's she served as assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Power is a human rights expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; she's also the mother of two young children."
Both NBC and CBS led their Thursday morning shows with news that the Obama administration has secretly obtained the phone records of millions of Americans, but ABC's Good Morning America started its show reporting on Tropical Storm Andrea in Florida instead.
Overall, Thursday's two hour-long GMA spent less than three minutes total on the phone tracking story, giving over five times more coverage to the attempted suicide of Michael Jackson's daughter Paris. Back in 2006, however, ABC showed far more scrutiny to a similar story of the Bush administration tracking phone calls.
After President Obama appointed U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to be his national security adviser, ABC's Good Morning America lauded Rice on Wednesday as "hard-nosed" and "no-nonsense."
Rice's biggest knock against her nomination for Secretary of State was giving false information on the Benghazi attacks to no less than five different Sunday talk shows just days after the attacks. ABC, though, was sympathetic to her nomination last fall, describing the GOP opposition as a "buzz saw" and glossing over the fact that what she said was, actually, false.
Good Morning America's David Wright on Wednesday touted a new phone app to fight the "super rich" and combat "billionaires blocking the beach." The journalist toured some of California beaches, which are public, but are in front of wealthy homes. Wright lectured, "The app is free like the beach is supposed to be." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The ABC graphic warned, "Billionaires Blocking the Beach: Secret Passages of Malibu Revealed." The "billionaire" obstruction apparently amounts to living in the homes and not advertising the beach's availability. Talking to Jenny Price, a professor and creator of the app, Wright gushed, "In a way, this is Robin Hood at the beach." Sensibly, Price talked him down from the class warfare rhetoric, "Well, except that we're not stealing anything."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election in 2014: "Breaking news. A bombshell announcement from Michele Bachmann. The Tea Party favorite says she won't seek another term in Congress....But with a swirl of controversy surrounding her, will that future include politics?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos responded to the news by fretting that Bachmann not being in Congress "takes away a big target for Democrats." Correspondent Jon Karl agreed: "Oh, that's right, George. For some Democrats, Michele Bachmann was, really, target number one. She was the most high-profile and controversial leader of the Tea Party in the Congress."
Touting the Boy Scouts' "landmark" and "historic" decision to allow openly-gay members, CBS, ABC, and NBC gave supporters of the decision three times as many quotes as their opponents got on Friday morning's news stories.
The networks gave 10 soundbites to supporters of the new Scouts policy and only three to its opponents. Supporters included President Obama, gay scout Pascal Tessier, and former den leader Jennifer Tyrell.
Friday's Good Morning America spent a scant 16 seconds on the newest development in the IRS scandal, the suspension of agency official Lois Lerner who oversaw the division responsible for processing tax-exempt status requests. Lerner headed the division while the IRS gave extra scrutiny to Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status.
As NewsBusters reported, Thursday's World News completely ignored Lerner's move. The MRC's Brent Bozell had predicted that the media would "move on" from the IRS scandal, which explains ABC's paucity of coverage on Thursday and Friday.
The Big Three networks coverage so far of the Justice Department's questionable investigation of Fox News' James Rosen has followed a similar pattern to that of their coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case. Jan Crawford's report on Thursday's CBS This Morning was the first full report on growing controversy on ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts. NBC briefly covered the investigation on Tuesday's Today, and ABC has yet to mention it.
Crawford pointed out how the DOJ's "unprecedented" surveillance of Rosen has "really just set off a firestorm of criticism from the left and right. For the first time ever, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime, and a reporter like a criminal suspect." [audio available here; video below the jump]
While the three network morning shows on Thursday all promoted President Obama's "renewed focus on transparency" in an upcoming national security speech, none of the broadcasts made any mention of the administration's deception in the ongoing scandal surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander declared that Obama would be "highlighting new efforts to bring about transparency and even new restriction in the so-called hidden war" while citing "evidence of that renewed focus on transparency" in the form a Justice Department letter to Congress officially acknowledging the already widely-reported fact that drones were used to kill American citizen and terrorist cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki.
All three networks on Wednesday played a promotional video of Anthony Weiner, hyping the mayoral run of the "comeback kid." On Good Morning America, former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos showed an extended clip of the campaign video. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] But Stephanopoulos (who in his previous career defended Bill Clinton's against sexual scandals) didn't get into much detail over the Weiner's failings. Reporter Jon Karl simply explained that the ex-Congressman tweeted out "lewd pictures" of himself.
CBS This Morning and NBC's Today both, briefly, featured blurred pictures of the aforementioned photos. But the Today segment included a network graphic that speculated, "Comeback kid?" Journalist Maria Schiavocampo offered more details than ABC. She described Weiner's fall as a "sexting scandal," but parroted, "but now he says he's ready to put the controversy behind him and get back into politics."