In a Thursday front page New York Times story it was reported that Friends of Abe, a group made up of Hollywood conservatives like actors Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, became the latest right-leaning group to be targeted by the IRS. Total Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network time spent on this story: zero seconds.
However there was a celebrity news story the Big Three news networks did jump all over -- Justin Bieber getting arrested for drunk driving. From Thursday morning through Friday morning the Big Three networks, on their evening and morning shows, devoted a total of 36 minutes and 10 seconds to the troubled pop star.
Less than 24-hours after former Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) was indicted on 14 charges including conspiracy and fraud, all three network morning shows immediately identified McDonnell as a Republican. While McDonnell’s potential crimes are serious, the media failed to uphold the same party ID standard when it involved a scandal plagued Democratic governor.
NBC led their January 22 coverage of the McDonnell scandal with Today host Savannah Guthrie introducing the segment by saying, “And now to that bombshell indictment of the former governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, a one-time rising star in the Republican Party.” ABC provided an on-screen graphic identifying McDonnell as a Republican and CBS This Morning’s Nancy Cordes said that “McDonnell was once considered a possible presidential contender for the GOP.”
On Tuesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts all hyped the White House's announcement that President Obama's would meet with Pope Francis in March, and emphasized their apparent agreement on economic issues. On CBS This Morning, Bill Plante touted the "chance for him [Obama] to align himself with the agenda of the very popular new pope, at a time when the President's own popularity here at home is at a low point."
ABC's Robin Roberts even asserted on Good Morning America that the two world leaders are "very similar." However, none of these morning shows reported that just a week earlier, the Pope's secretary of state "expressed [his] concern...for the healthcare reforms in relation to the guarantee of religious freedom and conscientious objection" during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. [MP3 audio available here; video clips below the jump]
All three networks on Tuesday morning continued to pile on Chris Christie, offering gloating coverage about how his “glory days” have gone terribly wrong. After recounting everything that has gone awry for the Republican, Good Morning America's Jim Avila imagined, “You can almost see at the inauguration today, Governor Christie raising his right hand and shaking his head at the same time. “ [See video below.] Co-host Robin Roberts added, “It’s not what they thought today was going to be.”
After reiterating that the new year is “not at all going to plan” for Christie, Avila continued, “Instead, [the governor has been] forced to play scandal whack-a-mole, with new poll numbers falling.” CBS This Morning offered a network graphic that trumpeted, “Christie Crisis.” Journalist Elaine Quijano featured Alex Burns from the liberal Politico to lecture that in order to run for President, Christie needed to “run up the legislative score board in New Jersey. I think we can safely say that all those plans are on hold.”
On Wednesday the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a devastating report that blamed the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s State Department for security failures leading up to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.
While the Big Three (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks covered the report for a day, they found another event far more compelling -- The First Lady’s 50th birthday bash, spending twice as much time on the White House party than Benghazi. (chart and video montage after the jump)
First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated her 50th birthday on Saturday night, and NBC and ABC couldn’t hold back their excitement during their Sunday morning broadcasts. The two networks both offered full reports as they cheered on the First Lady at the “country’s most exclusive dance party.”
ABC’s Susan Saulny began her report and called The White House “party central” and beamed at the long-list of liberal celebrities who attended the birthday bash. Co-host Bianna Golodryga lamented, “We weren’t invited to this but I’m not offended.”
ABC, CBS, and NBC's Thursday morning newscasts all punted on covering President Obama's Wednesday night meeting with Senate Democrats, where he called on them to reject new sanctions on Iran. These same programs, along with the networks' evening newscasts, also failed to mention the President by name in their reporting on the Senate Intelligence Committee's "scathing" new report on the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
By contrast, Thursday's New Day on CNN devoted 40 seconds of air time to the chief executive's plea to his former colleagues in the Senate. John Berman gave two news briefs on the development.
Spinning liberal-friendly stories as the end of the world is a popular thing at ABC. Good Morning America's Jim Avila on Wednesday hyped the scandal involving Chris Christie as "traffic armageddon," a hyperbolic term the network loves. On Saturday, Avila mentioned the "four-day traffic armageddon." [See video of both below. MP3 audio here.]
As the sequester set in on April 22, 2013, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos freaked out: "Breaking this morning: Airport armageddon. Almost seven thousand flights could be delayed." On March 1, 2013, a GMA graphic warned of "budget armageddon." On April 23 reporter Matt Gutman predicted an "airline apocalypse."
On the same day that the latest report on the terrorist attack in Benghazi was released, the journalists at Good Morning America chose to obsess over an "exclusive first look" at People magazine's "revealing" interview with Michelle Obama. Focusing on the scoop, lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer on Wednesday gushed, "So honest on a range of topics, including her take on plastic surgery and Botox. We have an exclusive first look right here." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Regarding the First Lady's 50th birthday, Spencer could hardly contain herself. She announced, "The big day is fast approaching." The host insisted that the President has "already given an early gift" by "taking the girls home to Washington, leaving the First Lady behind for an extra few days of vacay [sic] with some of her close friends, including Oprah." As with GMA's last report on the vacation, there was no mention of what the extended trip will cost taxpayers.
Some important ObamaCare news broke late on Friday when the Obama administration announced it was dropping CGI, the contractor that built the inept healthcare.gov website, and replacing it with technology consulting firm Accenture. On top of that, on Friday, the Republican-led House passed a bill -- with a substantial number of Democrats joining in -- to partially address security concerns regarding healthcare.gov.
But alas, ABC’s Good Morning America didn’t have time to relay this news during the first half-hour of Saturday’s program. They were too busy reporting on a horrific scandal involving a prominent Democratic politician. And no, it was not about Benghazi, or the IRS targeting conservative groups, or anything to do with President Obama. Nope, this scandal involved New York City’s new mayor, Bill De Blasio. It turns out the mayor was caught red-handed eating pizza the wrong way. Co-anchor Dan Harris introduced the story: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In less than 48 hours, ABC, CBS and NBC deluged viewers with coverage of Chris Christie's traffic jam scandal, devoting a staggering 88 minutes to the story. In comparison, these same news outlets over the last six months have allowed a scant two minutes for the latest on Barack Obama's Internal Revenue Service scandal. The disparity in less than two days is 44-to-one. [See a chart below.]
From Wednesday through Friday morning, the latest on Christie's Traffic-Gate led 11 out of 13 news programs. NBC produced the heaviest coverage, over 34 minutes. CBS followed close behind with more than 30 minutes. ABC came in third with just under 23 minutes.
In less than 24 hours, the big three networks have devoted 17 times more coverage to a traffic scandal involving Chris Christie than they've allowed in the last six months to Barack Obama's Internal Revenue Service controversy. Since the story broke on Wednesday that aides to the New Jersey governor punished a local mayor's lack of endorsement with a massive traffic jam, ABC, CBS and NBC have responded with 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage. Since July 1, these same networks managed a scant two minutes and eight seconds for the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.
In contrast, journalists such as Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos pounced on the developing Christie story. The GMA host opened the program on Thursday by announcing, "Chris Christie in crisis. Calls at this hour for the feds to step in, investigate the explosive e-mails." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC, CBS, and NBC ballyhooed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates's attacks on President Obama and other high government officials on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts. NBC's Brian Williams and CBS's Norah O'Donnell also trumpeted the former Cabinet official's "devastating critique" of the President in his upcoming memoir. All three networks also played up Gates's self-identification as a Republican.
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning brought on former Obama administration officials on Wednesday morning. Both guests did their best to counter their former colleague. Matt Lauer touted David Axelrod's "important perspective" on the issue, and asked, "Did you get a sense that he was a guy who...was disgruntled in any way?" The CBS morning show turned to former chief of staff Bill Daley, who slammed Gates for going public: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday covered a big win for the Second Amendment in the courts. But NBC's Today couldn't make time for the ruling by a federal judge that struck down Chicago's ban on retail gun sales. Instead, the morning show devoted almost five minutes to a new reality show about the mythological Bigfoot monster.
Good Morning America's Josh Elliott explained, "A federal judge has struck down Chicago's ban on gun sales, calling it unconstitutional...Chicago's murder rate was the highest in the nation last year." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Over on This Morning, Charlie Rose informed viewers that "[U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang] says banning the sale of firearms in Chicago is unconstitutional. He's not convinced it helps with gun violence."
The journalists at Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a gushing, excited look at Michelle Obama's "extended vacation" in Hawaii, offering no questions or skepticism about what the trip will cost taxpayers. Entertainment reporter Lara Spencer enthused, "This morning, there are reports that Mrs. Obama is spending the rest of her stay with her good friend Oprah Winfrey at her estate on the island of Maui. Winfrey will also be celebrating a milestone birthday." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Spencer hyped the First Lady's impending birthday, touting, "Word is there won't be a formal dinner but there will be plenty of dancing. She does love to dance and we wish her a very happy birthday." On Monday, Fox News reporter Ed Henry quizzed White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: "The First Lady stayed behind and the White House said that was an early birthday present from the President. Does that mean he's paying for the flight back or taxpayers?"
All three networks on Monday morning hyped the news that Liz Cheney is dropping her bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming. ABC, CBS and NBC used the opportunity to replay the "divisive" "family feud" Mrs. Cheney had with her gay sister, Mary, as she defended traditional marriage. On CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford again quoted Mary Cheney publicly lecturing, "You're just wrong, and on the wrong side of history."
On the Today show, Kelly O'Donnell opined, "Her campaign was brief and divisive." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] She added, "But then her campaign exposed a stunningly public family feud over same-sex marriage, when sister Mary Cheney, and Mary's wife Heather Poe, criticized Liz's opposition to gay marriage." In addition to focusing on gay marriage, NBC highlighted this as a failure for the Cheney brand. O'Donnell concluded that a "famous name and fierce ambition wasn't enough."
Of the three major networks, only NBC ignored a major new study with a dire warning about ObamaCare: The President's health care law will likely make things worse in emergency rooms, not better. CBS investigated the story on Thursday's Evening News and Friday's This Morning. ABC allowed a mere 20 seconds on Good Morning America, but still beat NBC's silence.
On Evening News, Sharyl Attkisson revealed, "Despite hopes that expanding Medicaid would decrease expensive and unnecessary hospital visits because the poor would have access to doctors and preventative care, today's study finds the opposite." Attkisson featured MIT professor and co-author Amy Finkelstein. She explained, "What Medicaid does is it makes not only primary care now free for individuals but also the emergency room. And as I teach my undergraduates, when you lower the price of something people tend to buy more of it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
CBS stood out as the only Big Three network to devote full coverage to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Tuesday night stay of the federal government's birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare. As of Thursday morning, CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News devoted three full reports and a news brief to the ruling against the controversial regulation.
By contrast, NBC's morning and evening newscasts have only aired one news brief on Sotomayor's decision, and mentioned it in passing in two other reports on the Affordable Care Act. ABC has yet to report on the development on either Good Morning America or World News.
A Russian research vessel has been stuck in thick ice in the Antarctic since Christmas morning, and predictably the big three networks are enjoying the novelty of such an event. However, despite the obvious news story, ABC, CBS and NBC have all missed one great irony in their reporting.
On Monday December 30, all three networks covered the story, but only CBS even used the words “climate change” when discussing the trapped ship. All three failed to point out the irony that this event is an embarrassment for those pushing the liberal “climate change” narrative.
For the second straight morning, ABC's Jonathan Karl was merely a White House stenographer when reporting on ObamaCare's year-end deadline, touting enrollment numbers and parroting White House talking points.
Tuesday's Good Morning America framed the latest ObamaCare delay as a result of the law's popularity, as opposed to NBC reporting that it was, at least in part, due to website issues. "A crush of visitors to the website yesterday caused the White House to expand this year's deadline for signing up through the end of today," co-host George Stephanopoulos reported.
In what appears to be a bright spot of journalism over at ABC News, reporter Jonathan Karl has been repeatedly hitting the White House hard in recent weeks over its failed ObamaCare rollout, going so far as to mock its advertising attempts to sign up young people for health care.
While Karl hit the White House hard on Sunday's World News, he was far from tough on Monday’s Good Morning America, and offered up a puff-piece cheering on ObamaCare’s enrollment numbers. Last week, Karl confronted White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over newly released ObamaCare ads, asking the press secretary, “I mean is anybody going to buy health care because Barack O-Breezy tells him to buy it because it’s hot?” [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted air time to the Obama administration's latest "fix for the botched health care rollout"on their Friday morning newscasts, but failed to include any conservative or Republican reaction to this development. Good Morning America minimized their coverage, airing just two news briefs on "the White House offering relief now for people who lost their health insurance because it didn't meet standards required by the...health care law."
Today and CBS This Morning both spotlighted the insurance industry's worries over this change, but didn't get around to the possible political fallout over the White House announcement. Guthrie only vaguely asserted how the "fix" might be "more ammunition for the critics of the law."
The same networks that totally ignored MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir's vile attacks against Sarah Palin have highlighted the "outrageous," "offensive" comments made by Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson in an interview to GQ. The journalists on ABC's Good Morning America provided the most aggressive coverage, repeatedly wondering if the remarks "will sink the show."
The morning program offered almost no consideration of Robertson and the issue of free speech. Instead, PR expert Howard Bragman wondered if the TV star is "willing to go to a deeper level of understanding and see why his remarks offended so many people?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Entertainment anchor Lara Spencer fully agreed: "Really outrageous statements." Spencer wanted to know just how the A&E network could bring the reality star back and, at the same time, "let people know they acknowledge how outrageous and offensive these comments are?"
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts, which hyped the sequester's "deep, across-the-board spending cuts" earlier in 2013, have largely been silent about the reductions in the annual cost of living increases for military veterans – part of the budget deal proposed by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray. But more egregiously, these programs have failed to notice that disabled veterans are not exempt from these cuts, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday.
As of Wednesday morning, Norah O'Donnell's question to Rep. Ryan himself on the December 12, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning is the only mention of the reductions in the veterans' pensions on the broadcast networks' news shows:
On Wednesday, only NBC's Today devoted a full segment to the upcoming sentencing of top Environmental Protection Agency official John Beale for "bilking the government out of nearly $1 million by claiming he that he worked undercover for the CIA." ABC's Good Morning America only offered a 25-second news brief on the story while CBS This Morning ignored it completely. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While NBC and ABC finally got around to the story on Wednesday, Fox News reported the scandal on the October 1 edition of Special Report, with correspondent Shannon Bream noting congressional involvement: "Massachusetts Democrat Steven Lynch was just one of many House members demanding to know how the Environmental Protection Agency could be duped for years by a top-level employee....Angry lawmakers say former EPA chief Gina McCarthy, who openly praised Beale during his time at the agency, should have known better."
Gushing journalists Josh Elliott and Robin Roberts met Pope Francis on Wednesday and thrilled over the fact that a gay magazine has made him "person of the year." The Good Morning America anchors traveled to the Vatican for "Christmas With the Pope." According to Elliott, "[Pope Francis has] ushered in a kind of truce in the culture wars."
He touted, "And both Time magazine and the leading gay magazine, The Advocate, have named him their person of the year." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Elliott offered tremendously positive coverage, narrating, "He walks the streets, poses for pictures, embraces the sick and is not afraid to have a bit of fun." ABC wasn't always so friendly. On March 14, correspondent Terry Moran warned, "Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
After spending about $2.3 trillion in stimulus since 2008, the Federal Reserve’s controversial quantitative easing (QE) strategy’s days may be numbered. MarketWatch expected a decision on the policy from the Fed on Dec. 18, following their two-day meeting.
The policy has many critics including the former Fed employee who lashed out at it in a “Confessions of a Quantitative Easer” op-ed. Studies also show that QE hasn’t been the economic stimulus the Fed had hoped. Yet, when the broadcast networks have discussed how QE impacts the economy they almost unanimously supported the Fed’s purchase program.
All three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning covered the "major blow" a judge delivered by ruling that the National Security Agency's massive data collection is likely unconstitutional. Yet, NBC's Nightly News managed to mention the President only once in passing. Instead, anchor Brian Williams kept the nearly three and a half minute segment politically vague: "Privacy violation: A surprise ruling about the government's spying on the phone calls made by Americans. The question tonight, what will this change and when?"
Williams lectured, "In the name of keeping us safe, Americans have sacrificed a number of freedoms since 9/11, including the privacy of communications." Journalist Pete Williams added, "It's a serious legal blow to one of the most controversial practices of the NSA." Is it a blow to Obama? Neither journalist said. In contrast, NBC's Today on Tuesday immediately mentioned the President. Matt Lauer opened the segment by noting that "the Obama administration's beginning to plan an appeal of a major court ruling." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Tuesday's Good Morning America simply didn't have its facts straight in their rush to portray Pope Francis as a crypto-liberal. Amy Robach hyped that the pontiff "removed an outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage from a powerful post within the Church. Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke...was head of the Vatican's highest court." Robach then asserted that "this move is seen as reinforcing the Pope's vision for a more inclusive church."
However, Cardinal Burke is still the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – the equivalent of the Supreme Court for the Catholic Church. The Pope actually declined to renew the Wisconsin native's membership on a different consultative body at the Vatican – the Congregation for Bishops. [MP3 audio of Robach's news brief available here; video below the jump]