Radio hosts like Mark Levin and Web sites like Canada Free Press are mocking President Obama’s statement in a press conference yesterday with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, where he compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to U.S.-Canada relations. What? Levin called him a "moron" for the comparison.
But ABC, CBS, and NBC failed to notice. They acted like a press release service for Obama on their newscasts Thursday night and Friday morning, offering Obama 18 soundbites adding up to 215 seconds, often ending in applause. Only Chuck Todd on NBC Nightly News aired a soundbite from anyone other than Obama.
ABC continued ignoring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move on Tuesday to drop a proposed federal ban on so-called assault weapons. Neither Wednesday's World News nor Thursday's Good Morning America covered the congressional development. This lack of coverage stands out in light of the network's hype of President Obama's supposedly "dramatic and emotional" lobbying effort for the ban during his State of the Union address.
NBC and CBS's Wednesday evening newscasts also ignored Senator Reid's deep-sixing of the gun control legislation. Their morning shows on Thursday devoted news briefs to Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "renewed call" for the assault weapons ban, but failed to explicitly mention the Nevada Democrat's role in dropping the bill.
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which began on Monday. Gosnell is charged with murdering seven babies who were born after viability in his rundown abortion facility. The Big Three also gave the story minimal coverage back in January 2011, after the Philadelphia physician was arrested. ABC completely ignored it, CBS Evening News aired one full story, and NBC gave just 50 words on Today.
Even the New York Times covered the trial in a Tuesday article, though it appeared on page A-17. Writer Jon Hurdle documented how Gosnell is charged with killing the babies by "plunging scissors into their necks and 'snipping' their spinal cords."
Over the winter, the three networks eagerly compared Barack Obama's push for more gun control to "defeating the Nazis," hyping his "dramatic," "emotional" effort. Yet, when the President suffered a serious setback, Tuesday, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to portray it as a defeat for the Commander in Chief. Harry Reid announced on March 19 that Senate Democrats were dropping an effort to ban so-called assault weapons.
Tuesday's World News and Nightline and Wednesday's Good Morning America totally skipped the development. Yet, in the minutes following the State of the Union, George Stephanopoulos praised the President's "dramatic and emotional" plea for an assault weapons ban. On January 16, CBS's Bob Schieffer compared, "Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely, passing civil rights legislation...defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby." However, on Tuesday's Evening News, in the wake of the defeat in the Senate, the long-time journalist offered no similar hyperbolic lament.
Just how superficial is ABC? On Monday and Tuesday, the network allowed a mere 20 seconds to "outrage" over a plan by the European Union that would have seized ten percent of the money Cyprus residents had in their bank accounts. ABC's World News skipped the story entirely, as did Monday's Nightline. Good Morning America on Tuesday offered 20 seconds. In contrast, the program devoted over five minutes to important topics, such as the newest season of Dancing With the Stars.
NBC and CBS both showcased more coverage. On Monday, Nightly News's Brian Williams featured the story in a full report. Describing the potential default of Cyprus as a "banking crisis," he explained, "European leaders decided to take a chunk of that bailout money directly out of the bank accounts of everyone in the country." Displaying interest not seen on ABC, Williams added, "It was a shocking move heard around the globe today and the fear on the Mediterranean island rippled through world financial markets today."
In a report on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War for Tuesday's NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel was unable to conceal his contempt for the conflict: "Iraq's oil money was supposed to pay for the war. It didn't work out that way. From now on, the war set its own agenda, an insurgency erupted that became a religious civil war....Iraqis accuse the United States of invading to find weapons of mass destruction that were never there, and destroying a delicate religious balance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel continued: "The [Bush] White House stopped claiming all was well in Iraq, and thousands more troops surged. The violence dropped, and Americans left. Nine years, almost 4,500 troops killed, 32,000 wounded, 130,000 Iraqi civilians killed. The cost, according to a new study, nearly $2 trillion."
Good Morning America's Reena Ninan on Saturday let Barack Obama off easy. The ABC reporter allowed the President to escape blame for the sad story of a group of Iowa sixth graders who had their White House tour cancelled. Ninan blandly explained, "The tour canceled the result of automatic spending cuts brought on by the sequester."
Parroting Obama, she reminded, " In an interview with ABC News, the President said, don't blame him." Ninan then played a clip of the President swearing, "This was not a decision that went up to the White House." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] That comment is inaccurate and Obama was contradicted by his own White House Press Secretary on Wednesday. Good Morning America has yet to cover the discrepancy.
The Obama administration in 2009 dropped the Bush administration’s plan to add missile interceptor capability against North Korea, yet on Friday, when Obama’s Pentagon realized their error and scrambled to announce a reversal to implement the Bush plan, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to mention Obama’s dereliction. (Below: Krauthmmer zinged “Democratic resistance” to missile defense. “Reagan was right.”)
ABC News really knows how to cause a coffee spit-take. All you have to do is introduce George Stephanopoulos talking to President Obama and put these hyperbolic words on screen: “No Holds Barred.”
Someone should tell the geniuses at ABC that’s a term suited for competitive wrestling. It doesn’t describe Democrat chit-chat that demonstrates about as much as dramatic confrontation as other morning TV fare, such as “Bubble Guppies” and “Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends.”
While NBC and CBS both highlighted a quote from an anonymous senior White House official labeling President Obama's recent budget meetings with members of Congress "a joke," ABC managed to leave the controversial remark out of its coverage of the budget negotiations, with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos even failing to ask the President about it in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
In a National Journal article posted Tuesday morning, Ron Fournier recounted: "'This is a joke. We're wasting the president's time and ours,' complained a senior White House official who was promised anonymity so he could speak frankly. 'I hope you all (in the media) are happy because we're doing it for you.'"
Despite billing his interview with Barack Obama as "no holds barred," Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday skipped several tough questions and only gently quizzed the President on others. On the issue of the closing of White House tours due to sequester cuts, the former Democratic operative delicately wondered, "Was canceling them really necessary?...So, no reconsideration?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Other than this brief query, Stephanopoulos showed no interest in whether the administration hyped the sequester cuts to an over-the-top level. (Perhaps, this could be because ABC did the same thing. GMA's Josh Elliott on March 1 pronounced that "armageddon" had arrived, leading to the "vaporizing" of jobs and criminals walking free.) Instead, Stephanopoulos ridiculously requested Obama to weigh in on the dangers of an American pope: "...There seems to be some concern among Catholics there shouldn't be an American pope because that pope would be too tied to the U.S. government. What do think of that?"
George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative turned journalist, has scored an "exclusive" interview with Barack Obama. According to TV Newser, the taped conversation will appear on Tuesday's World News, Wednesday's Good Morning America and Nightline. If it's anything like Stephanopoulos's past interviews, it will contain a number of softball questions. [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
On September 09, 2010, Stephanopoulos worried about how the job was impacting the President's family life: "You know, when you're going through these hard times, how much of it bleeds through to them? And how do you protect them from it?" He also highlighted a pastor in Florida who threatened to burn copies of the Koran. The anchor sympathized, "You're President of the United States. You have to deal with the fallout. And here's a pastor who's got 30 followers in his church. Does it make you feel helpless or angry?" In total, Stephanopoulos devoted 16 minutes to Obama.
Two food bloggers have launched an attack against Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, referring to an outdated study, and ABC and NBC have been quick to rush to their aid.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Nightly News” both ran stories promoting the crusade. The bloggers claim Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 food dyes used in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese can lead to hyperactivity and other health problems in children. They are petitioning Kraft to stop using the dyes in their products.
Both dyes have been approved by the FDA, though they have been banned in the small nations of Norway and Austria.
For weeks, ABC hyped sequestration spending cuts as a threat that could "vaporize" America and "cripple" travel in the country. On Sunday's Good Morning America, however, George Stephanopoulos admitted that the President's plan isn't "working." Perhaps helping Obama shift strategies, the GMA segment focused on the Democrat "reaching out" to the Republican Party.
Talking with Dan Harris and Bianna Golodryga about the President's dinner meeting with members of the GOP, Stephanopoulos conceded, "...The outside game at least in the short term wasn't working for the President. It was trying to raise all these alarms about the sequester but it didn't seem to be taking hold because people haven't felt it yet." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] This is quite a contrast to the March 1 GMA. As sequester was about to hit, news reader Josh Elliott warned of the coming doom: "Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free." A graphic warned of "armageddon."
ABC's Good Morning America on Friday ignored new details of Barack Obama's pay-for-access scheme, the only morning show to skip the story. The President's campaign group, now renamed Organizing for Action (OFA), has promised quarterly meetings with the President for donations of $500,000. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both covered the growing controversy. GMA, which did find time to focus on the latest Justin Bieber gossip, avoided it.
Today's Chuck Todd offered surprisingly hard-hitting criticism of Obama, lecturing, "When it comes to Barack Obama's views on money and politics, his actions have rarely matched his words...When it comes to big money in politics, President Obama has often talked the talk...But critics say he's rarely walked the walk." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
It is well-established that the broadcasts networks covered rising gas prices different under President George W. Bush’s administration than they did President Barack Obama, in tone and even the amount of coverage.
In addition to fueling discontent with many gas price reports, one of the networks’ frequent suggestions for lowering gas prices during the Bush years was for the federal government to release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a 727 million barrel emergency supply of oil stored in salt caverns in the Gulf states. These same media outlets have been much less insistent about Obama releasing oil from the SPR, and were quicker to praise him when he did.
ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday offered confusing, incomplete and brief explanations for why Rand Paul filibustered John Brennan, Barack Obama's Central Intelligence Agency nominee. According to GMA news reader Josh Elliott, "Paul was protesting the Obama administration's use of drone strikes against Americans." [Video of the terse explanations can be found below.]
World News anchor Diane Sawyer insisted the "Tea party firebrand" was opposing "the use of drones against U.S. citizens." This is hardly a full explanation for ABC's viewers. On the Today show, Chuck Todd produced a more accurate description: "[Paul] decided to filibuster the confirmation of CIA director John Brennan in an attempt to get the White House to once and for all promise to never target Americans with drones on U.S. soil." The "on U.S. soil" part is key. ABC allowed only news briefs on the filibuster. CBS and NBC offered full reports.
[Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Good Morning America as airing the Brandi Hitt story. Her piece was posted on GMA's website, but did not air on the program.] ABCNews.com on Wednesday greeted the death of Hugo Chavez by avoiding the word “socialist.” Instead, journalist Brandi Hitt touted the repressive leader as someone who “appeared to never back down from a challenge.” The reporter never mentioned Chavez’s crackdown on free speech or democracy. Instead, she featured a woman in the streets of Venezuela gushing, “He’s a man that cared about us…He did not give anything to me, but he gave it to my people.”
Over on Today, NBC’s Mark Potter offered this friendly description of the individual who made friends with Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “Many here were still surprised when he died, in part because of his larger-than-life personality.” Potter announced that crowds in Caracas were chanting “Chavez lives” and “the struggle continues.” Both Today and Good Morning America made sure to play footage of Chavez’s 2006 appearance at the United Nations. There, the authoritarian leaded mocked George W. Bush as “the devil.”
After hyping a "fiscal emergency" that could "vaporize" America, the journalists at Good Morning America seemed slightly puzzled that daily life has continued. GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday talked to reporter Bianna Golodryga and marveled, "...Investors seem to be shrugging off any economic impact from the stalemate in Washington, those across the board spending cuts."
Golodryga lamented the lack of panic, complaining, "Yeah, isn't that kind of sad? It was basically anticipated that we were going to have these spending cuts." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Isn't that kind of sad? Golodryga admitted, "You're not seeing a huge effect on the economy. Economists are saying that we could have some sort of impact. It could slow growth but not really bring us into another recession." Just last week, on the same program, news reader Josh Elliott opened the show by panicking: "Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free."
CNN's Dana Bash fact-checked President Obama's falsehood about the sequester on Friday, but the major networks didn't exactly follow CNN's lead in reporting the distortion that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester.
In his Friday press conference, Obama claimed, "They're going to have less pay, the [Capitol Hill] janitors, the security guards. They just got a pay cut." Shortly after that, CNN's Bash obtained from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms that the workers would not receive a pay cut, just a limit on overtime pay. NBC ignored the distortion on its weekend newscasts, while CBS and ABC reported it one time each.
For weeks, ABC has been hyping sequestration as a "fiscal emergency" that could "cripple" much of America and "vaporize" jobs. Yet, Monday's Good Morning America featured no stories on what the network had been calling "massive cuts." On Friday's GMA, as sequester was about to occur, Josh Elliott hyperventilated, "Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free."
Day after day, the morning show conducted a "grim countdown" to sequester. On February 27, Jon Karl parroted, "...The White House's list of terrible things caused by the cuts grows longer, including flight delays, kids losing vaccines, and meat shortages." On another program, the February 24World News, David Kerley warned, "Child care canceled for tens of thousands of kids. Long airport security lines." According to a new study by the Media Research Center, 89 percent of ABC's stories on sequester pushed "budget panic."
“Deadline day. Hours, now, until massive government cuts go into effect that could impact every American. Jobs vaporizing. Flights delayed. Even criminals walking free.” That’s the call to panic with which ABC’s Josh Elliot greeted viewers on the March 1 Good Morning America. Elliot’s frenzied tone, on the day sequestration was going into effect, was typical of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network coverage of Washington’s most recent fiscal debate.
MRC analysts reviewed all of the 88 sequestration stories, from when coverage began on February 14 through March 1 when the “cuts” took effect, and found 58 (66 percent) of them advanced the most horrific Obama administration talking points. Another 10 offered the same scary forecasts but at least included the skeptical view that the sequestration reductions weren’t that big and their effects were being overhyped. (Videos after the jump)
According to the journalists of Good Morning America, the end of the world is nigh. The hosts and reporters on Friday hyped the "massive" sequester cuts as leading to near panic. Josh Elliott opened the show by hyperventilating, "Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reporter Jon Karl intoned, "The day is upon us. Those dreaded across-the-board spending cuts will go into effect sometime before 11:59 p.m tonight." He then touted White House talking points: "The administration warns that in the coming weeks, we'll see flight delays, kids thrown out off Head Start and criminals get free due to a lack of federal prosecutors."
The Today show on Thursday allowed a scant 16 seconds, out of a possible four hours, to the claim by veteran journalist Bob Woodward that the Obama White House is trying to intimidate him and attack his coverage of the sequester cuts. The NBC program also avoided using the word "threat."
ABC's Good Morning America gave the most coverage to the battle, offering a full report and a news brief. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] CBS This Morning covered the story as part of a bigger report on the looming cuts. On Today, reporter Kristen Welker blandly explained, "As a backdrop to all of this, veteran reporter Bob Woodward is telling reporters that the White House is lashing out at him for writing an article which claimed that the sequester was all President Obama's idea." She then helpfully presented the President's case: "The White House has made the point that Republicans overwhelmingly supported the plan as well." This was the extent of Today's coverage.
Good Morning America on Tuesday edited out an inaccurate assertion by First Lady Michelle Obama that the gunman in a Chicago killing used an "automatic weapon." Regarding the death of teenager Hadiya Pendelton, Mrs. Obama claimed, "And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn't need." This quote appeared online, but not on the February 26 interview with Robin Roberts.
The Chicago Tribuneexplained, "...A day after her homicide on Jan. 29, Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the gunman possibly used a revolver because no bullet casings were found at the shooting scene — as there would be if a semi-automatic or automatic weapon had been used." No ABC show on Tuesday or Wednesday offered an explanation as to why the network helpfully covered up for the First Lady's error. [Updated with video.]
The reporters of Good Morning America, who on Monday briefly questioned Barack Obama's hyperbolic talk about the sequester cuts, have returned to promoting dire warnings of meat shortages and children losing vaccines. Guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas on Wednesday hyped "the grim countdown to the massive spending cuts that will kick in on Friday."
To underline the point, an ABC graphic proclaimed, "Countdown to Massive Cuts: Will Illegal Immigrants Be Released From Jail?" Correspondent Jon Karl parroted Obama: "Each day, the White House's list of terrible things caused by the cuts grows longer, including flight delays, kids losing vaccines, and meat shortages." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Two days ago, in a moment of clarity, Karl acknowledged, "But those cuts, five to seven percent for most government departments, will be phased in over the next seven months."
Last week, ABC scored an exclusive "get." Barack and Michelle Obama appeared on Good Morning America to welcome back co-host Robin Roberts from a serious illness. On Tuesday, Roberts paid the White House back, fawning over the "trend-setting" First Lady and her "hot" bangs. The anchor asked not a single tough question during the two part, eight and a half minute segment.
Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos compared Mrs. Obama's appearance at the Oscars, Sunday, to the real mission in the movie Argo: Rescuing American hostages from Iran. He thrilled over the secretive appearance: "Producers go undercover to the White House in a move straight out of Argo." Elizabeth Vargas echoed, "It was like something out of Argo." The hostages in Iran faced death, not the revelation of a TV appearance. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC on Sunday continued to hype Barack Obama's hyperbolic claims about sequester cuts. World News reporter David Kerley played a clip of the President and then insisted that $85 billion in spending "sounds like a disaster movie." Kerley warned, "Child care canceled for tens of thousands of kids. Long airport security lines. Flight delays with a shortage of controllers. And military cuts that will leave us 'second rate' according to the Defense Secretary."
Reason Magazine's Nick Gillespie on Monday pointed out: "Widely quoted as $85 billion for spending in fiscal year 2013 (which ends on September 30), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) underscores that just $44 billion of spending reduction are slated for 2013, with the rest coming in later years." That amounts to $44 billion in a 2013 budget of $3.6 trillion. Kerley allowed two sentences acknowledging that the cuts "will be phased in over the next seven months."
According to Good Morning America's David Wright on Monday, the upcoming "papal election campaign is getting ugly." The ABC correspondent then declared that Pope Benedict an "absolute monarch."
In a report live from Rome, Wright explained, "Pope Benedict is expected to issue new rules about the timing and procedures of the conclave [the meeting of cardinals to elect a new pope.]" He added, "[Benedict] can do that by degree. The Pope is an absolute monarch." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Of course, Wright's experience in judging any kind of election is questionable. Back in 2002, he reported from Iraq and insisted, "Seven years ago, when the last referendum took place, Saddam Hussein won 99.96 percent of the vote. Of course, it is impossible to say whether that’s a true measure of the Iraqi people’s feelings."
Apparently, objectivity just isn't needed on some issues. On March 16th, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott, Sam Champion and Lara Spencer will co-host the 24th annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) awards. The event will honor another journalist, Anderson Cooper, for being "an advocate for the LGBT community."
This isn't the first time Elliott, supposedly a neutral journalist, has appeared atthe GLAAD event. On March 24, 2012, the anchor accepted a media award and declared of ABC: "I'm proud to work at a place that believes in advocacy journalism!" Elliott fawned over the group, saying "I will never be in a braver room than this!" (As if it's tough to be in a place where everyone has the exact same opinion as you.)