News Hour

By Paul Bremmer | April 22, 2014 | 4:17 PM EDT

On Monday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff sat down for a conversation with former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and she tried to get the amiable, elderly jurist to criticize his more conservative former colleagues. Stevens, to his credit, didn’t take the bait.

The interview focused on Stevens’ new book about six amendments he would like to see added to the Constitution. Near the end of the discussion, Woodruff sought to make waves by getting Stevens to charge conservatives on the court with a partisan agenda:

By Tim Graham | April 12, 2014 | 9:13 AM EDT

While HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius was getting a polite shove out the door, PBS NewsHour analyst Mark Shields offered a note of disclosure: “Well, first of all, let me just admit up front, Kathleen Sebelius has been a personal friend. For 46 years, I have known her.” He even oddly said she “stepped up manfully, to use a bad adverb” in taking the blame for Obamacare.

But Shields and his usual echo-chamber David Brooks disagreed. Brooks said she wasn’t a “dynamo” at HHS, which caused Shields to start touting her. Anchor Judy Woodruff had gently asked, like a good feminist, “What’s her legacy?”

By Tim Graham | March 22, 2014 | 10:44 PM EDT

Barack Obama has taken a few soft-soap interviews on the PBS NewsHour, so anchor Judy Woodruff didn't want to say he was sell Obamacare in less than dignified forums -- like prank interviews with the schlub from "The Hangover" movies.

Pseudoconservative analyst David Brooks and liberal Mark Shields typically agreed that Obama has oodles of dignity and cannot be mocked. Brooks said only if Obama's riding "with Miley Cyrus on the wrecking ball" -- where she rode naked in a video -- would it be "going a little too far." That's hardly a visual you'd expect from PBS:

By Paul Bremmer | March 19, 2014 | 5:53 PM EDT

Leave it to PBS to take a local controversy and turn it into a symbol of the class war that is supposedly plaguing this country. On Tuesday’s NewsHour, the taxpayer-subsidized network raised a stink over so-called Google buses that carry San Francisco residents to their jobs at high-tech companies 30 or 40 miles south of the city.

Anchor Judy Woodruff drew the battle lines as she introduced the story:

By Paul Bremmer | March 11, 2014 | 4:55 PM EDT

PBS found a sly new way to promote ObamaCare on Monday’s NewsHour. It came as part of a feature story on nutrition for young mothers and their infants. Anchor Judy Woodruff introduced the story by talking about malnutrition in young children and the importance of proper nutrition for mothers, particularly young ones. This set up her selling point: “Starting in 2010, a program under the health care reform law made that idea more of a possibility in many states.”

The story that followed centered around the Circle of Life program, which essentially helps young, low-income parents in northern Arkansas raise their children. PBS correspondent Hari Sreenivasan, who narrated the package, explained Circle of Life’s connection to ObamaCare:

By Paul Bremmer | January 31, 2014 | 2:32 PM EST

On Thursday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Gwen Ifill fed the tired old stereotype that the Tea Party ruins everything.

During a discussion about the nation’s political outlook for the coming year, Ifill posed this question to The Washington Post’s Michael Gerson:

By Paul Bremmer | January 16, 2014 | 11:52 AM EST

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been facing criticism and scorn from some media members for having the audacity to mildly criticize President Obama and some administration officials while Obama is still in office. On Tuesday, Gates appeared on the PBS NewsHour to face another round of questioning about his newly released memoir.

Midway through the interview, anchor Judy Woodruff suggested that the former defense secretary could lower morale among troops on the ground overseas:

By Paul Bremmer | January 3, 2014 | 5:40 PM EST

On Thursday night’s edition, the PBS NewsHour held a discussion about President Obama’s prospects for making 2014 more successful than 2013. Of course, the panelists defined success as the president enacting more of his left-of-center agenda.

Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal posed a “really interesting strategic choice” that he thought the White House had to make:

By Paul Bremmer | December 4, 2013 | 5:50 PM EST

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. However, PBS’s Judy Woodruff wishes the Obama administration could get another crack at the rollout of ObamaCare.

While moderating an ObamaCare discussion on Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, Woodruff posed this question to Ron Bonjean, a former Republican spokesman:

By Noel Sheppard | November 23, 2013 | 7:09 PM EST

In the weeks leading up to the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination, media members across the fruited plain have largely gushed and fawned over the former president's legacy and grandeur.

New York Times columnist David Brooks offered a rather unique take on PBS's News Hour Friday saying that Kennedy's utopian vision of what a president can do, along with his subsequent martyrdom, diminished the office because "politics can't live up to that sort of mirage of sort of religiosity" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Paul Bremmer | November 20, 2013 | 5:48 PM EST

Last week, NewsBusters reported that PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff failed to ask about the “Fast & Furious” Mexican gun-running scandal during an interview with B. Todd Jones, the new head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. But on Monday’s NewsHour, Woodruff played a previously unannounced Part Two of her taped interview with Jones, and this time she asked a question about “Fast & Furious.”

That’s not to say Woodruff suddenly turned into a hard-hitting journalist. In fact, she didn’t get to “Fast & Furious” until her very last question. Even then, she brought up the topic very gently:

By Paul Bremmer | November 13, 2013 | 6:00 PM EST

On Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Gwen Ifill interviewed former Vice President Dick Cheney about his notorious heart troubles as documented in his new book, Heart: An American Medical Odyssey. Apparently unwilling to let a good conversation about healthcare go to waste, Ifill spent the latter half of the interview trying to use Cheney’s experience as an infomercial for why America needs ObamaCare.

Ifill began to steer the conversation in ObamaCare’s direction in a subtle manner: