The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have essentially censored the latest IRS scandal news. Not a single network reported on the bombshell coming out of Thursday’s congressional hearing that IRS employees were ordered to send Tea Party tax-exemption applications to the office of the IRS’s Chief Counsel, which was headed by William Wilkins, who at that time was the only Obama political appointee at the IRS.
The Big Three networks have also ignored this week’s news that tax records of political candidates (including one-time GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell) and certain donors were improperly accessed by government officials, and that the Justice Department has, so far, refused to prosecute the offenders.
For the third time in a week, ABC's Good Morning America failed to identify a politician involved in sex scandal as a Democrat. Amy Robach reported on Friday that "accusations of sexual harassment have been swirling around Mayor Bob Filner for weeks" and that the San Diego politician "apologized for what he called inappropriate behavior", but didn't include his party ID.
By contrast, Gayle King explicitly mentioned Filner's political affiliation on Friday's CBS This Morning: "The Democrat spent ten terms in Congress before becoming mayor less than a year ago. "
On Tuesday, the Associated Press (AP) reported that smokers may not be subject to new tobacco-use penalties built into the Affordable Care Act, due to a “computer system glitch” that could take more than a year to repair. The AP claimed that some see the stumble as part of “an emerging pattern of last-minute switches and delays” for President Obama’s signature health care law, citing the administration’s recent postponement of the so-called “employer mandate” until 2015. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
But you wouldn’t get that sense from the mainstream media, as most major outlets have devoted little or no time to the story since it broke early Tuesday morning. The Tuesday morning shows (Today, Good Morning America, and CBS This Morning) ignored the development, save for a 10-second mention from Today’s Natalie Morales.
For the second day in a row, the journalists at Good Morning America failed to identify prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat. Yet, in a story on the politician's comeback, reporter Claire Shipman made sure to highlight former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as a Republican. Regarding Spitzer's bid to be the New York City comptroller, Shipman enthused, "A new political lesson for Eliot Spitzer: Infamy might work to his advantage."
She continued, "It certainly brought the former New York governor crowds he could not have imagined before his prostitution scandal cost him his job in 2008." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] What the reporter conveniently ignored is that Spitzer was mercilessly heckled on Thursday. A Manhattan man screamed at the Democrat, "Why were you late? Were you with a hooker?"
The journalists at Good Morning America on Monday offered an assist to liberal politicians trying to avoid being associated with the scandal-plagued former Governor of New York. While announcing Eliot Spitzer's return to public life, news reader Paula Faris avoided any mention of the fact that Spitzer is a Democrat. As she noted his bid to be New York City's comptroller, Faris simply referred to the "disgraced former governor of New York."
Over on NBC's Today, correspondent Kristen Dahlgren hyped Spitzer as "the next comeback kid." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Comparing the ex-governor to Anthony Weiner, Dahlgren enthused, "2013 may go down as the year of the second chance." Despite connecting the two New York Democrats, Dahlgren also skipped any ideological label. It wasn't until the 8am hour that co-host Natalie Morales alerted, "The Democrat stepped down in 2008 over a prostitution scandal."
No wonder Dan Abrams left MSNBC . . . The former legal analyst at the "Lean Forward" network, now at ABC, expressed an opinion this morning that would surely be unwelcome at his former shop.
Guest-hosting on Good Morning America, Abrams opined that as a legal matter "I don't see how a jury convicts" George Zimmerman of murder or manslaughter. Abrams sees too much reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case to warrant a guilty verdict. View the video after the jump.
CBS, NBC and ABC on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning highlighted the delay of the ObamaCare employer mandate as a "surprising," "significant setback" for the President. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Nightly News anchor Brian Williams even went so far as to cynically note, "A development this big with the President on an airplane heading into a holiday weekend is going to make a lot of people suspicious." Yet, these same networks ignored giant, glaring clues about what Democratic Senator Max Baucus once called the coming "train wreck."
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Jon Karl deemed the development a "significant" setback. CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell saw it as a "major" problem. Reporter Jan Crawford relayed, "House Speaker John Boehner said even the Obama administration knows the train wreck will only get worse." On the July 2 Evening News, Wyatt Andrews described the one year postponement of the rule, which forces employers to pay a $2000 fine if they don't provide insurance, as a culmination of"months of complaints and backlash."
The three major networks devoted four times as much coverage to obsessing over Paula Deen's use of a racial epithet 30 years ago than they did of outspoken liberal Alec Baldwin's anti-gay rant on Twitter. Over the first three days of the revelation that Deen used the N-word in 1983, ABC, CBS and NBC featured the story for 32 minutes and 41 seconds. Over the three days since Baldwin's tirade, the same networks allowed a mere seven minutes and 49 seconds-- not counting nearly five minutes on ABC, wondering if there was a double standard in reaction to the two cases. [See a chart below, also video. MP3 audio here.]
The biggest disparity came on CBS. The network covered Deen for almost seven and a half minutes, but a meager seven seconds for Baldwin. Over the first three day period, the CBS Evening News never discussed Baldwin. From June 20 through the 22, ABC investigated Deen's actual offense for a whopping 12 and a half minutes. Yet, the network, from June 28 to the 30th, featured a scant two minutes and 16 seconds on Baldwin's attack against the "toxic little queen" who wrote a negative story about his wife.
Since Wednesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have all played up the social media frenzy over Texas State Senator Wendy Davis' multi-hour filibuster on Tuesday against a pro-life bill. On Friday's Today, NBC's Tamron Hall claimed that the Davis story is "another example of how social media can turn a story into a whole other stratosphere. I think without Twitter and Facebook, this would have been a big story, but not to this magnitude."
By contrast, during the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell earlier in 2013, ABC and NBC completely ignored the widespread outrage on Twitter over the case. It took CBS four days to notice Kirsten Powers' April 11, 2013 USA Today column which "accused the media of ignoring the story because...[of] a bias in favor of abortion rights," as Jan Crawford reported on CBS This Morning. Crawford then pointed out how "those charges went viral on Twitter."
In the wake of her filibuster in the Texas state senate on Tuesday, NBC, ABC, and CBS all expressed their outrage at Texas Governor Rick Perry daring to criticize their anointed abortion "folk hero" Wendy Davis. On Friday, Today co-host Matt Lauer announced: "The battle over abortion gets very personal as Governor Rick Perry takes on a female senator whose filibuster helped block a controversial bill." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday's ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer attached the "folk hero" label to Davis as she fretted over "Perry creating a kind of high noon between the two of them." In the report that followed, correspondent David Kerley hyped Perry's mild critique of Davis as setting up "a true Texas showdown" and exclaimed: "Today, Perry made it personal."
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks were so excited by Democratic Texas state senator Wendy Davis’s filibuster they failed to notice she is on the losing side of the abortion debate.
Anchors like NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC’s Diane Sawyer were so busy hailing Davis’s “epic” filibuster and her rise to “folk hero” status that they failed to report the findings of a National Journal poll showing her extremist pro-abortion stance is an unpopular one. (video after the jump)
The journalists at Good Morning America on Friday worried that "inhospitable" Republicans in the House would leave the Senate immigration bill as "half-made history." Reporters Dan Harris and Jim Avila offered little in the way of explanation as to why a GOP Congress member might possibly oppose such a bill.
Avila lectured, "...History has been half-made. Now, the big question, will the euphoric momentum in the Senate halls push the GOP-controlled House into passing a similar immigration reform bill?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Dan Harris lamented, "The issue is about to move to the inhospitable Republican-controlled House." Avila read through a litany of supposedly tough measures in the legislation, but didn't explain, for instance, that the Senate bill is riddled with pork.
ABC's Claire Shipman isn't just another pro-Obama journalist. She's also married to Jay Carney, the President's press secretary. If that wasn't enough of a conflict, Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator recently revealed that Shipman has served on a White House panel in her official capacity as a journalist.
A series of 2010 videotapes shows Shipman's role in the "Council on Women and Girls" and its "Conversation on Workplace Flexibility." Lord explained, "On the stage where Ms. Jarrett was speaking was ABC senior correspondent Claire Shipman, who was about to serve that day as the moderator of the event’s initial panel." The event was closed to White House reporters.
The journalists at Good Morning America seem to have decided that the gay marriage debate no longer has two sides. On Thursday, co-anchor Robin Roberts opened the program by spinning Wednesday's Supreme Court decision only as a good thing. She extolled, "And some wonderful pictures to show you of jubilation. People dancing in the streets in cities all around the country." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
After using the loaded term "marriage equality," Roberts gushed, "Celebrating well into the night. Look at San Francisco city hall, lighting up right there in tribute." Over the span of two segments totaling three minutes, GMA's reporters allowed a scant six seconds to opposition. Instead, the co-host simply highlighted the winners: "So many of those celebrations we showed you, erupting from coast-to-coast. Some of the biggest in San Francisco."
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.]