We’re living through an important moment in U.S. political history, and thankfully we have ABC’s chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl to tell us just how momentous it is. Karl appeared as a guest on Charlie Rose’s PBS show Thursday night to chat about gun control and the president’s budget, among other things. The veteran ABC reporter lamented the fact that neither Republicans nor Democrats on Capitol Hill appreciated President Obama’s budget very much:
"I mean, the Republicans didn't give him really any credit at all. And then you have on his liberal flank people like Barry Sanders [sic] saying this is outrageous that the president is, in the words of some progressives, stealing money from seniors, stealing deserved benefits. So it's hard to find somebody up on Capitol Hill that was truly ready to give the president credit. And to praise his budget." [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalist at Good Morning America once again showed how unserious they are when it comes to challenging Barack Obama. On Friday, the reporters covered the latest on rapper Jay-Z's trip to communist Cuba in an amused tone. Lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer featured no Republican critics of the international visit. Instead, she went to Rolling Stone's editor for comment on the entertainer's new song about the trip.
Simon Vozick-Levinson hyperbolically proclaimed, "[Jay-Z is]a brilliant lyricist. He's one of the great poets of our age." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In the new song, the singer insists that he received "White House clearance" for the excursion to Cuba, a place American citizens aren't allowed to visit. Although Spencer admitted that Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce "supported" Obama's campaign in 2012, she didn't explain what that meant. The musician raised over $4 million for the Democrat's reelection bid.
World News reporter David Muir on Wednesday aggressively pushed gun control with a recycled, one-sided report on the ease of buying weapons. Muir also failed to identify Omar Samaha, featured prominently in the segment, as the grassroots coordinator for Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Muir replayed a four-year-old segment of Samaha going to a gun show to purchase weapons from private sellers. The journalist labeled the young man as someone who lost his sister at the Virginia Tech massacre. The correspondent didn't explain, however, that Samaha is employed professionally with a gun control organization and has worked with Michael Bloomberg to restrict the Second Amendment. Muir has a history of misleading viewers. On April 6, 2009, he promoted another gun control activist without identifying his political stance or affiliation.
On Thursday, the morning shows on NBC, CBS, and ABC all touted a New York Times Magazine profile of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, an article designed to rehabilitate the Democrat's image in preparation for a mayoral run in New York City. On NBC's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk explained: "Most people wanted to know whether or not he had learned from his mistakes before they could vote for him. His wife says she forgives him."
Gosk detailed Weiner's expression of regret for the 2011 sexting scandal that ended his congressional career: "Both Weiner and his wife revealing in their own words how it happened, why it happened, and the damage it caused....Weiner describes the shame and the guilt." A sound bite was featured of NYT magazine interviewer Jonathan Van Meter sympathetically recalling: "[Weiner's] still wracked with a sort of shame and pain and guilt about it, and – and he cried, I think every time I interviewed him, at some point."
On Tuesday's World News and Wednesday's Good Morning Ameica, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Jim Avila ballyhooed far-left magazine Mother Jones's secretly-recorded audio recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy meeting with political advisers about potential opponent Ashley Judd. Stephanopoulos touted the "startling secret tape revealing how the Senate's top Republican was planning to go after...Judd if she ran against him."
Avila played up McConnell's apparent "cutthroat attack on a Hollywood opponent" and the Republican's "private and politically-embarrassing strategy session", all the while omitting left-of-center ideology of the publication that released the audio clip and minimizing the possible illegality of its recording.
ABC is really proud of its hoax "exclusive." Tuesday's Nightline and Wednesday's Good Morning America hyped an interview with the man who allegedly perpetrated an elaborate fiction, smearing Pastor Joel Osteen as renouncing his Christian faith. GMA's Elizabeth Vargas touted, "...The hoaxer is explaining why he did it in an exclusive interview with ABC's David Wright." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "Revealing overnight, why he went after Joel Osteen. An ABC news exclusive." The odd, sometimes bizarre answers of alleged hoaxer, Justin Tribble, didn't stop the network from airing the story. After David Wright wondered how "we know you're Justin and how do we know this is not a hoax," Tribble weirdly responded, "Well, you don't. No, I'm kidding. You do."
The journalists at Good Morning America on Wednesday could barely contain themselves, hailing the compromise over gun control legislation as a "major," "big, significant breakthrough." Guest host Elizabeth Vargas marveled, "Boy, is that big news."
Yet, the reporters on NBC offered less effusive coverage. Today's Kristen Welker conceded, "Democrats had been hoping for background checks to be universal. They didn't get that. This is going to be a pared down, watered down version of background checks." She asserted, "The deal is far less than the President was hoping for." In contrast, ABC's Jon Karl promoted, "And it is a big, significant breakthrough. It doesn't get you all the way there, but it gets you a long way there." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "Looks like a major breakthrough."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its public statement on bisphenol A, a chemical commonly found in some plastics as well as can linings, in March 2013. The FDA’s “current perspective on BPA” is that the chemical is “safe” at the exposure levels from product packaging.
The March 29 “Today” show aired a segment about healthy and natural groceries with Miranda Van Gelder of Prevention magazine.Van Gelder said people should avoid BPA coatings and cans because of BPA. Neither Hoda Kotb, nor Kathie Lee Gifford told viewers that the FDA has said such packaging is safe.
Lapdog journalist Josh Elliott on Tuesday offered no skepticism about a controversial trip Beyonce and Jay-Z took to Cuba. The Good Morning America news reader insisted that there was nothing troubling about the fact that the music power couple, who raised over $4 million dollars for Barack Obama's reelection, received special permission to visit the communist country of Cuba. (American tourists are barred from traveling there.)
Elliott reassured, "Meanwhile, an uproar over Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba may be much ado about nothing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] After noting that the visit drew "criticism," he insisted that no laws were violated and added, "The trip was reportedly approved by the Treasury Department as a cultural visit." Elliott never mentioned the financial help Beyonce and Jay Z provided Obama, nor did he ask why the vacation was approved. In contrast, Hoda Kotb on NBC's Today deemed the trip "controversial." NBC reporter Natalie Morales offered far more skepticism: "New questions and outrage from lawmakers this morning following Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba."
All three network newscasts on Monday and the morning shows on Tuesday promoted Barack Obama's "urgent plea" for gun control. These programs pushed the emotional angles, focusing on the Newtown families. Opposition to new restrictions on the Second Amendment was mostly ignored. On World News, guest host George Stephanopoulos hyped, "Tonight, urgent plea. The President goes all out in the fight over guns in America. Calling in the families of the children slain in Newtown." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reporter Jon Karl parroted administration talking points: "The President portrayed his gun plan as a moral imperative." The ABC reporter then played two clips of Obama, including one where he lectured, "This is not about me. This is not about politics." (How can journalists allow a politician promoting legislation to get away with saying something "isn't about politics"?) Karl also highlighted Gabby Giffords's husband arguing for more restrictions, but no pro-Second Amendment voices. On the CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley introduced three segments on gun control.
For the past couple of weeks there has been a steady drip of bad news for ObamaCare, but you wouldn't know it if you only get your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks. From a Society of Actuaries report that determined premium costs will shoot up thanks to a thirty-three percent average increase in claims; to thirty-three Senate Democrats joining Republicans in voting to repeal an ObamaCare tax on medical devices; to a Quinnipiac University poll showing even two-thirds of self-identified Democrats saying the law will either hurt them or have no effect, the recent news has been bad for the President's chief legislative victory. However, not one of these trouble spots for ObamaCare has been mentioned on ABC, CBS or NBC's evening or morning show broadcasts.
The following setbacks for ObamaCare haven't received a single second of air time on the Big Three networks:
ABC's Good Morning America on Monday broke into live coverage to report that the "controversial" "titan" Margaret Thatcher had died. The morning show's reporters highlighted both her conservative beliefs, for which she was "vilified," and compared her to Winston Churchill.
Guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas announced that the late Prime Minister's "belief in herself and her policies" led to her being "both adored and vilified even to this day in Great Britain. A very controversial, but very, very important figure, undoubtedly." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Later in the show, George Stephanopoulos returned to announce: "A titan has fallen."
The Big Three networks' Friday morning newscasts all highlighted the "backlash" over President Obama's "best-looking attorney general in the country" compliment of California's Kamala Harris. But in addition to ignoring First Lady Michelle Obama's recent "single mother" gaffe, as of Saturday morning, ABC, CBS, and NBC have yet to report on the President's erroneous claim about the use of an automatic firearm at the Sandy Hook massacre.
The Democrat made the false statement at a Wednesday fundraiser in California. Mr. Obama asserted, "It is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country...but also make sure that we don't have another 20 children...gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon – by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's Friday morning shows all devoted air time to President Obama labeling California Attorney General Kamala Harris "the best-looking attorney general in the country" at a fundraiser on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, a panel on NBC's Today tried to explain away the remark. Willie Geist asserted, "I think he [Obama] was making a joke." CBS This Morning's Norah O'Donnell was tougher on the President: "Maybe, [it] was not the right thing to say."
However, the Big Three newscasts didn't report that Mrs. Obama also got caught in a verbal misstep on Thursday. ABCNews.com's Arlette Saenz devoted a Friday morning item to how Michelle Obama mistakenly referred to herself as a "single mother" during an interview with WCAX, a CBS affiliate in Vermont.
Oops. Good Morning America on Friday preemptively announced "expected" job creation for the month of March totaling 190,000. In reality, 88,000 jobs were created. The ABC morning show was only off by 102,000 jobs. At 7:10am, about 75 minutes before the release of the actual numbers, reporter Linzie Janis insited, "The government's jobs report is out this morning. It's expected to show that 190,000 jobs were created last month." The accompanying graphic included the number and a tiny asterisk, presumably representing the tentative nature of the numbers. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This is a monthly practice on the ABC morning show. The anchors will announce the hypothetical, possible results and then cover the real result later in the day on the network. Janis allowed that the new report might not be great. She added, "Why the slowdown? Well, those $85 billion in government spending cuts." Just a month ago, however, GMA's Bianna Golodryga lamented the fact that investors were shrugging off the sequester.
All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."
New EPA regulations could increase the price of gas by nine cents or more when they take effect in the next four years, American Petroleum Institute (API) scientists say. However, ABC, CBS and NBC news programs gave little credence to those concerns, and hyped EPA’s claims of “significant health benefits” instead.
ABC was the worst of the three. Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila on the March 29 “World News” spoke of alleged benefits of the new environmental regulations which would further reduce sulfur emissions. Meanwhile, “World News” not only failed to give equal time to opponents of the regulations, they portrayed them as greedy.
Longtime Hillary Clinton fan Claire Shipman isn't waiting for the 2016 push. The Good Morning America reporter on Wednesday launched "Hillary Watch" and regurgitated talking points about a potential presidential bid. She breathlessly related, "But with the launch of an independent super PAC, the question is everywhere. Is Hillary ready to run?"
Shipman also featured a Clinton supporter outside a rally. The man oddly enthused, " I think she'll run and she's got to save the country, right?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] She's got to save the country? From who? Fellow Democrat Barack Obama? The journalist added that it's "unrealistic" for the former Secretary of State to have a normal life. Shipman gushed, "Hillary Watch is officially under way. Just a few months into retirement, Hillary Clinton is back on stage." Despite the reporter's enthusiasm for the ex-First Lady, Shipman could not get her the nomination in 2008.
The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts still haven't covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell as of Monday morning. ABC, CBS, and NBC have maintained their coverage blackout despite the graphic witness testimony and the in-your-face courtroom antics of Dr. Gosnell's defense attorney during the first two weeks of the proceedings. The Philadelphia physician is charged with murdering seven newborn children at his decrepit abortion facility.
This glaring omission by the broadcast networks would have continued, if Peggy Noonan hadn't provided the first mention of the murder trial on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC. The Wall Street Journal columnist spotlighted the "haunting and disturbing story of this doctor", and pointed out how coverage has been "hard to find."
The reporters and hosts of Good Morning America really want you to know something: Don Young is a Republican. The ABC morning show on Saturday featured 11 mentions of the Congressman's party affiliation in a span of just two minutes. Young referred to "wetbacks" in an interview last week. An ABC graphic blared, "Congressman uses racist term."
Co-host Bianna Golodryga insisted that "this comment has created quite the headache for Republicans." Reporter Jeff Zeleny lectured, "The Republican Party's effort to rebuild and rebrand its image is colliding this morning with the party's old guard." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] To make sure everyone was clear on what party Young belonged to, the journalist added, "Republican advisers tell ABC News that they worry that the racial slur from Congressman Young comes at precisely the wrong time, just as the Republicans are trying to expand their appeal to Latino voters." In contrast, when Joe Biden smeared Indian Americans as mostly working at 7-11, ABC ignored the story.
The media are in love – with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. From his soda ban, to his global warming views, to his opinions on gay marriage, journalists and pundits have repeatedly given him a platform to promote whatever he wants … and praised him repeatedly.
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday again offered the most biased coverage on the gay marriage case before the Supreme Court. All three network morning shows skipped specific mention of the multiple thousands who marched for traditional marriage on Tuesday. ABC, however, used loaded terms such as "marriage equality" rather than gay marriage. Reporter Terry Moran gushed over the liberal position: "This is a social movement, a 21st century social movement that arrived with astonishing speed at this court, driven by activists, by Hollywood in part and by young people, especially on social media." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In contrast, he portrayed a skeptical Supreme Court as old and out of touch: "The wave of increasing support for gay marriage in America, especially among the young, is crashing on the Supreme Court and the justices, average age 67, seem downright perplexed." Moran highlighted the case of Edie Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian whose case is before the Supreme Court. He sympathetically related, "when Thea died in 2009, Edie got hit with almost $400,000 in federal estate taxes, a penalty she would not have had to pay if she were married to a man."
Good Morning America's historical coverage is mostly non-existent. Yet, there's one thing the ABC program finds time for every year: Kennedy worship. On Tuesday's GMA, the same program that ignored Harry Reid linking Marine deaths to sequester cuts featured the latest on Kennedy family poetry.
Reporter David Muir gushed, "The indelible images of Caroline Kennedy's childhood: The little girl in the White House hiding under her father's desk, sitting beside her mother in bed. And if you look closely, there is often something else, books." The purpose of the segment was to promote Poems to Learn By Heart, a compilation collected by JFK's daughter. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The reporters of ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a one-sided take on the Supreme Court's "historic hearing on marriage equality." The morning show featured four voices in support of the high court affirming gay marriage and just one against. Correspondent Terry Moran framed the issue in emotional terms: "Outside the Supreme Court overnight a candlelight vigil for proponents of same-sex marriage. It's a debate that touches countless American families." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Moran included a snippet of plaintiff Paul Katami: "Anyone who has ever fallen in love out there knows you don't choose who you fall in love with. You just fall in love." He highlighted a crowd chanting, "No more hate! No more hate!" Same sex marriage supporter Kris Perry insisted, "We're expected to contribute and pay taxes, parent, live up to all the other expectations of everybody else but we're missing this one key fundamental right which is just to be married."
Good Morning America on Monday hyped Michael Bloomberg using his "personal fortune" to promote gun control with new ads. Reporter Jim Avila used three clips of either Bloomberg or the commercials he's now running in 13 states. Just one pro-Second Amendment voice was featured in the segment. In contrast, when the Koch brothers supported the Tea Party with commercials, GMA's journalists warned of the "billionaire boosters."
On Monday, Avila approvingly explained, "Mayor Michael Bloomberg has something many other big city mayors don't, a personal fortune he is willing to spend." Avila then played a clip of Bloomberg's new commercial featuring a man sitting on a pickup truck, holding a shotgun. He insisted, "I believe in the Second Amendment and I'll fight to protect it. But with rights come responsibilities. That's why I support comprehensive background checks."
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."