Tuesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to cover the latest development in the controversy surrounding the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Gayle King gave a 26-second news brief to Secretary of State John Kerry clearing four mid-level diplomats to return to duty, after they were placed on leave by his predecessor, Hillary Clinton [audio available here; video below the jump].
Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today devoted any air time to Kerry's move. Instead, the two programs set aside full reports to Sunny, the new dog adopted by the Obama family.
Rather than focus on the myriad of problems plaguing the implementation of ObamaCare, on Tuesday, all three network morning shows instead provided coverage of the First Family getting a second dog. On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander happily announced: "Move over Bo, there's a new dog in town, Sunny. And for her inaugural play date, the White House released it's own music video. A pair of presidential pets frolicking on the South Lawn, that'll get tails wagging." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news reader Elizabeth Vargas reported: "The one-year-old female Portuguese water dog is described as full of energy and very affectionate. First Lady Michelle Obama took to Instagram to make the announcement, tweeting, 'So excited to introduce the newest member of the Obama family – our puppy, Sunny!'" On CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose declared: "That is the same breed as Obama's other dog, Bo....The two dogs appear to be getting along just fine."
ABC was the only network on both Monday night and Tuesday morning to highlight New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signing a bill banning gay conversion treatment. On Tuesday's Good Morning America, ABC News political director Rick Klein touted, "The Chris Christie brand is all about independence, a non-partisan person who leads the state of New Jersey in the best way he knows how."
An ABC graphic added an editorial, placing quote marks around the word therapy: "Chris Christie and Gay Conversion: Bans 'Therapy,' Angers Conservatives." Regarding Christie's 2013 reelection bid and his potential 2016 presidential campaign, Klein understandingly noted, "Chris Christie understands something very important in politics. 2013 comes before 2016."
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Sunday parroted Barack Obama's talking points, insisting that a shutdown of the government would wound a "weak" Republican Party for a "generation." On Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos touted the President for "cutting his vacation short" due to unrest in Egypt.
After allowing that Obama has "little leverage" over House Republicans, he narrated that the White House believes "the Republican Party is in an even weaker position, that if they shut down the government, say, over their calls to defund Obamacare, they will relegate themselves to minority status for a generation." Playing the role of administration cheerleader, the journalist pointed out that Obama has a big autumn coming up, "which is why he cut his vacation short. He only went eight days this year instead of the normal two weeks." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Network morning “news” shows are aimed directly at women aged 25 to 54. ABC’s “Good Morning America” is routinely winning the ratings race by skipping the boring “hard news” and focusing heavily on real-life soap operas like the Jodi Arias murder trial or the Ariel Castro kidnapping outrage. It isn’t news at all. It’s infotainment.
But what really caused jaws to drop recently was ABC promoting its latest sex-drenched Sunday night soap opera to those women. Viewers saw a naked man and woman in bed, with a side breast shot and the man's hand grasping the top of the woman's thigh -- on TV at breakfast time [screen capture shown below break]. As usual, this eye-grabbing sex scene wasn’t between spouses. That’s never scandalous enough.
NBC hasn't covered the ongoing Bob Filner sexual harassment scandal an almost a week, despite a fifteenth woman – a 67-year-old great grandmother – coming forward on Thursday, accusing the former congressman of making lurid comments to her. The last time that NBC's morning and evening newscasts covered the Filner story was on August 10, 2013.
On Friday, ABC and CBS's morning newscasts aired news briefs on the latest development in the Filner controversy, but both failed to identify him as a Democrat. Mere seconds before reporting on the San Diego mayor, CBS This Morning pointed out the Democratic party affiliation of Filner's former congressional colleague, Jackie Speier, who blasted the Defense Department on their handling of sexual assaults in the military. [audio available here; video below the jump]
Here's another name to add to the "name that party" file: Michael Thornsbury. The Mingo County, West Virginia circuit court judge was the subject of a federal indictment on Wednesday "after federal authorities allege he targeted his ex-lover's husband and used his position on the bench to manipulate criminal charges against the man," Kate White of the Charleston [W.V.] Gazette reported yesterday.
The Mountain State has partisan judicial elections and Thornsbury is a Democrat. Both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today covered the bizarre story on their August 16 programs, but both neglected to mention Thornsbury's party affiliation.
On Thursday morning, neither ABC nor CBS labeled former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. a Democrat as they reported on his 30 month jail sentence. NBC's Today did not report Jackson's sentence on Thursday, but on Wednesday they covered it without identifying him as a Democrat.
"Jesse Jackson, Jr. will spend two and a half years in prison. The former Illinois congressman was sentenced Wednesday," reported Charlie Rose, co-host of CBS This Morning. ABC's Josh Elliot said on Good Morning America that "former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for misusing campaign funds, spending $750,000 on things such as a gold Rolex and 500 dollar dinners."
On Tuesday morning, The New York Times reported the Obama administration had delayed a “significant consumer protection” in the Affordable Care Act, a provision that limits how much individuals and families can pay out-of-pocket for health care, until 2015. Under ObamaCare, the limit on out-of-pocket health care costs was set at $6,350 per year for individuals and $12,700 per year for families.
The Times suggested the delay “underscore[s] the difficulties the Obama administration is facing as it rolls out the health care law” – yet, the development was ignored by both ABC and NBC on their nightly and morning news programs. CBS This Morning also failed to report the delay, while CBS Evening News offered up a short segment on the story.
CBS This Morning and NBC's Today couldn't be bothered to give Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s political affiliation as they devoted just 35 seconds of air time on Wednesday to his upcoming sentencing. Both morning newscasts merely identified the onetime Democratic politician as a former congressman.
The same morning, ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story about Jackson, who pled guilty in February 2013 to misusing campaign funds to buy big ticket items, such as a $43,000 Rolex watch, and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
President Obama held a press conference Friday in which he called for stricter controls over the government’s domestic surveillance system and commented on his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But to ABC’s Good Morning America, those developments were not the primary news. Their main takeaway was that the president showed personality.
Seriously, that was the angle that Saturday's GMA took on this story. Anchor Dan Harris set ABC's premise right at the top: “Switching gears now to all the chatter this morning about President Obama showing a different and very interesting side of his personality in a high-profile moment in front of the assembled White House press corps on Friday afternoon.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC's Jonathan Karl admitted "it's hard to take Trump seriously," yet he spent almost a minute of his report on Monday's Good Morning America playing up Donald Trump's possible 2016 candidacy amidst Trump's birther questions. He also hyped Hillary Clinton's potential candiacy.
In contrast Karl gave just 7 seconds to 2012 GOP candidate Rick Santorum, who appeared at the Iowa State Fair over the weekend and roused speculation of a 2016 run. Almost a whole minute of Karl's report focused on Trump. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Liberal Jane Fonda plays Nancy Reagan in a very brief appearance in the film "The Butler," but ABC's Good Morning America hyped the cameo as "very impactful" and "remarkable" in a flatter-fest on Monday.
"It's remarkable. It's not a big role, but it's very impactful," co-host Lara Spencer said. "It's a 20-second appearance in the movie. But it was jam-packed with excitement," Fonda admitted. ABC's puffery for the liberal activist led to a vulgar chat about her Newsroom character's bedroom escapades. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Over 1000 Iraqis were killed in July, victims of bombings and shootings marking that country's deadliest month since April of 2008. According to the Washington Times, Iraq is sliding into "chaos" with al Qaeda militants stoking terror. Yet, the three networks provided only scant coverage of the escalating death toll. From July 1 to July 31, the ABC, NBC and CBS evening and morning shows allowed only four minutes and 49 seconds to highlighting the unraveling situation.
In contrast, the networks in 2005 aggressively reported bad news and a pessimistic outlook for the country when a Republican was in the White House. Obviously, there's a difference between the two situations, given the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops. However, it seems as though NBC, CBS and ABC have effectively decided that the stability of Iraq is no longer a concern for George W. Bush's Democratic replacement.
ABC and NBC on Wednesday continued to pretend that one of Barack Obama's gaffes on the Tonight Show wasn't a mistake. World News's Jon Karl and Nightly News's Chuck Todd uncritically repeated the President's claim that Vladimir Putin "headed up the KGB." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In fact, he did not. The highest rank the now-Russian President obtained was Lieutenant Colonel in 1991.
Karl introduced the clip of Obama talking to host Jay Leno, insisting, "The President vented about it all last night with Jay Leno." But he made no mention of the error. Todd used the snippet as a way of demonstrating the difference between "famously flamboyant" Putin and "buttoned down and measured Obama."
Barack Obama delivered one gaffe after another in his August 6 interview with Jay Leno, but the networks that usually mock every mistake or slip of the tongue made by Republicans ignored the President's verbal mishaps.
ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning and NBC's Today show, on Wednesday morning, all bypassed the chance to criticize Obama for: downplaying the threat of terrorism; falsely claiming Vladimir Putin once ran the KGB; placing the Atlantic coast cities of Savannah, Charleston and Jacksonville on the Gulf of Mexico; confusing the Winter Olympics with the Summer Olympics. (video after the jump)
ABC's Good Morning America, which first covered the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal by ignoring that the politician was a Democrat, did grow to embrace the tawdry aspects of the story. Yet, the morning show on Wednesday avoided he mayoral candidate's latest gaffe: Calling his Republican opponent "grandpa" at an AARP candidate forum. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both managed to highlight the story.
CBS guest anchor Anthony Mason recounted, "Weiner slammed his opponent over age and did so, of all places, at an event sponsored by the AARP." A graphic mocked it as a "senior moment." Mason dismissed Weiner's campaign as a "circus." In the video, Weiner can be seen heatedly talking to George McDonald. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Some comments are so unbelievable, one would think even liberal journalists would be forced to challenge them. However, even though all three morning shows on Wednesday covered Barack Obama's appearance on the August 6 Tonight Show, none of them noticed his claim to be a supporter of small government.
Talking to Jay Leno, Obama discussed the sequester and spending. He seriously insisted, "One of the things I've been trying to get across here is that we don't need a huge government. " He added, "But we need government doing some basic things and we should all agree on a sensible mechanism to go ahead and pay for it. Make sure we don't waste money." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Keep in mind, "in just one term President Obama will have increased the national debt as much as all prior Presidents, from George Washington to George Bush, combined," according to Forbes. He also pushed through Obamacare. Yet, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning all skipped this cynical assertion.
Good Morning America's Claire Shipman on Tuesday made no effort to hide her bias, mocking Republicans who object to planned Hillary Clinton TV movies. On CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford insisted that actress Diane Lane, who will be playing Clinton in a NBC miniseries, brings "the glitz and glamour of Hollywood" to the portrayal of the former Secretary of State. The Today show described the projects as a "boost" for the Democrat.
But it was ABC's Shipman who thrilled that "even as the uncandidate, Hillary Clinton dominates the air waves with her every move." Describing the GOP response, Shipman derided, "Enough, say rattled Republicans, who call the projects political ads." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC and NBC on Thursday continued to fret over the implications the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal will have on Hillary Clinton. Today's Matt Lauer worried, "By association, does this do damage to Hillary Clinton?" Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton campaign operative, pointed out that Weiner refused to leave the race "even as another supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton come forward, urging him to drop out."
Who was the "supporter" that Stephanopoulos mentioned? The host's friend and fellow Clinton aide, James Carville. In a clip, Carville lectured, "If I were working [the Weiner] campaign, would I probably say, 'look, I just can't take this anymore and resign?' Yes." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The fact that Stephanopoulos and Carville defended Clinton through multiple sex scandals went unmentioned.
ABC and CBS both failed to point out San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's Democratic party affiliation on their Wednesday morning newscasts. Good Morning America devoted just one 17-second news brief to the ongoing Filner scandal. CBS This Morning didn't do much better, with two news briefs on the former congressman. NBC's Today didn't set aside any air time to the controversy.
The NBC morning show did one-up its Big Three competitors in identifying Anthony Weiner as a Democrat. Stephanie Gosk underlined the "Democratic drums are beating loudly for Anthony Weiner to step out of race for New York mayor", and noted the scandal-plagued politician's fourth-place standing among "likely Democratic primary voters". CBS This Morning and GMA merely labeled Weiner a "former congressman".
Although most of the evening newscasts on Tuesday and morning shows on Wednesday ignored Barack Obama's plan for a "grand bargain," ABC's Good Morning America covered the latest budget move and wondered why Republicans would "reject a tax cut for corporations."
Reporter Jim Avila offered an incomplete description of the President's latest plan, citing personal animus on the part of the Republicans: "When would Republicans reject a tax cut for corporations? Answer, when it's proposed by this man, the President, who says he wants to break the capital logjam, by agreeing to lower taxes for businesses." Obama's proposal would lower the corporate income rate from 35 percent to 28 percent. Yet, as the Business Insider and the Wall Street Journal pointed out, it's not much of a deal.
All three major networks ran full-length stories on their Saturday morning shows on the sex scandals involving San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. However, none of the networks directly identified either politician as a Democrat.
ABC’s Saturday edition of Good Morning America ran separate stories on each of the two men. Their two-and-a-half minute package on Filner made no mention of the mayor’s party affiliation, while the two-and-a-half minute story on Weiner merely hinted that the former congressman was a Democrat. There was a sound bite halfway through the story in which an angry female New Yorker exclaimed, “I’m suggesting wholeheartedly he ought to withdraw, and I am a Democrat.” Yet nobody from ABC ever referred to Weiner as a Democrat.
Tuesday's Good Morning America, just as NBC did on Monday, offered concern about how the Weiner scandal would impact the real victims, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Reporter Linsey Davis breathlessly explained that for the power couple, "...Patience has run out." An ABC graphic worried, "Clintons Put Pressure on Candidate: Upset at 'Comparisons' With Weiner."
Davis informed viewers that, pending a possible 2016 run by Mrs. Clinton, "...Several former Clinton aides and advisers tell ABC News the Clintons increasingly see Weiner's mayoral campaign as an embarrassment and potential liability." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The same networks that have been minimizing and ignoring the growing scandal at the Internal Revenue Service all found time to fawn over 50-year-old footage of President Kennedy vacationing with family. A World News graphic on Sunday night thrilled, "Return to Camelot."
Anchor David Muir breathlessly narrated the video to cloying, emotional music provided by ABC: "President Kennedy teeing off. The 46-year-old President putting and, well, missing the shot. The camera trained on him though for the entire round of golf and with the next putt there is more success." Muir gushed over footage of a young Caroline Kennedy on "the lap of her father as they finished their sun-splashed weekend fifty years ago tonight." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
It's now been a week since Detroit filed for bankruptcy and yet ABC, CBS and NBC have resisted considering what caused the financial failure, details such as the city's massively high tax rate, failed educational system and the total Democratic dominance for over 50 years. On Sunday's Meet the Press, anchor David Gregory bluntly asked Chuck Todd, a former Democratic operative, who was responsible for Detroit's collapse: "...Who let Detroit down? Which politicians let them down?"
Rather than point out that Democrats have controlled the city for 51 years, that Republicans haven't held the mayor's office since 1962, Todd evasively responded, "I think there was poor governance in Detroit for a very long time. This turned into a machine political town." Who was responsible for the poor governance? Which machine in particular? Todd didn't say. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell zeroed in on her network's latest poll that found that "more Americans than ever want the health care law repealed". However, she tried to explain it away by asserting that the public just needed to be educated: "This is the same problem the White House has faced from the very beginning about a lack of understanding about what is involved in ObamaCare." In the CBS News poll, 54 percent disapprove of ObamaCare.
NBC's Chuck Todd also briefly noted at an end of a report that an "all-time record low of people in our poll thinks his health care law is a good idea – just 34 percent" on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News. However, ABC has yet to report on their latest poll on ObamaCare on their morning and evening newscasts.
Now that former Democratic Congressman and current mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has been caught, again, sending sexually explicit texts to women, the hosts of ABC's Good Morning America decided to ask the important question: What is cheating?
Regarding the extremely graphic messages Weiner sent, reporter Linsey Davis wondered, "Is texting really cheating?...Do explicit E-mails, texts and tweets, like the ones Weiner sent even count as cheating?" GMA weatherman Sam Champion saw this question as a type of public service, lecturing, "It's a good conversation. I think a lot of people have had that talk lately." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a mere three days, the Big Three network morning shows have devoted more coverage to the birth of the British royal baby then they gave to news of the IRS scandal since that story broke 74 days ago.
Since Monday morning, ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today show and CBS This Morning deluged American viewers with 187 minutes worth of hype about another country's monarchy. In contrast, the same programs provided only 157 minutes, over ten and a half weeks, for a serious political scandal.
NBC, ABC and CBS began reporting on the IRS harassment of Tea Party groups back on May 11 and have averaged two minutes and six seconds of coverage per day (two hours and 36 minutes total). Since the Duchess went into labor Monday morning, those same shows cranked out about three hours, eight minutes of coverage, or an average of 62 minutes, 35 seconds per day (for all three networks).. That translates to a rate of coverage 34 times more intensive for the royal baby than for the royal mess in Obama's IRS. [See graph below.]
The three network morning shows on Tuesday predictably lost all perspective over the birth of the royal baby, devoting a staggering 85 minutes of coverage to Britain's new prince. Yet, ABC, NBC and CBS still declined to offer any update on a political story important to America, the widening Internal Revenue Service scandal.
Over four hours, the Today show obsessed over the royal birth for 41 minutes and 19 seconds (or 16 segments). Good Morning America, half the length of its NBC counterpart, almost equaled Today with 33 minutes and 16 seconds (13 segments). Just as on Monday, CBS This Morning showed the most restraint. The journalists there allowed a mere five segments over ten minutes and 43 seconds. Over two days, the three networks deluged America with 64 segments or 158 minutes.