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]
The new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows Obama’s approval rating stuck at 43 percent approve, 55 percent disapprove, very close to their last result. The Post headline was “Obama’s approval ratings plummet” – over the year. A year ago, it was 52 percent approve, 44 percent disapprove. Online, it was merely a "year of turmoil." But ABC put a happy spin on it.
The headline on ABCNews.com was “OPPOSITION TO OBAMACARE DECLINES.” Click on it, and the headline on pollster Gary Langer’s report? “A Drop in Opposition to Obamacare Helps Stabilize a Struggling Presidency.” So if you're just grazing on the Web, you might think Obama's poll ratings are on the mend. But that's not in the fine print.
ABC’s Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos together made a rather bizarre statement at the end of a brief Good Morning America segment Thursday about the newly-released 911 call from the friend of the woman who’s accused Heisman Trophy favorite Jameis Winston of raping her.
“They just want this one to go away,” said Stephanopoulos. “Yeah, I think all sides do,” replied Roberts (video follows with transcript and commentary):
All three networks on Wednesday engaged in damage control for the White House following criticism of President Obama's selfie during Tuesday's Mandela memorial service. On CBS This Morning, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante even made this absurd assertion: "The President might have caused a diplomatic incident if he had declined the invitation to be in a photo with two long-time allies." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The cast of NBC's Today also justified the incident, with co-host Savannah Guthrie arguing: "I think some people thought it's not appropriate because it's a funeral. On the other hand, it wasn't a funeral, it was a memorial service." Weatherman Al Roker added: "It was a memorial, it was a celebration." Matt Lauer chimed in: "There were people singing and dancing all around them."
ABC's Good Morning America provided the most positive spin it could from new Obama approval numbers, declaring that "he has stopped the free-fall" and reporting only the two least negative disapproval ratings for the President.
"And meanwhile, the President getting some new polls out this morning that show he may have stopped the bleeding from that botched rollout of the ObamaCare website," reported co-host George Stephanopoulos. ABC failed to mention Obama's 50 percent disapproval, just vaguely noting "his disapproval rating still higher than his approval rating."
All three networks on Monday morning highlighted the appearance of the Obamas at the Kennedy Center Honors, but only ABC fawned over "fashion win" of First Lady. Lara Spencer enthused that " one of the stars of the show was Michelle Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An excited Spencer explained that Mrs. Obama looked "absolutely ravishing in a flowing teal gown as she accompanied President Obama." The co-host declared, "Another big fashion win for the First Lady."
Amid the tributes looking back at the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela following his death on Thursday, Friday's NBC Today and ABC's Good Morning America both managed to take shots at Ronald Reagan for not being supportive of Mandela during Apartheid. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: "The U.S. wasn't always on Mandela's side. In the 1980s, President Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, a cold war ally, even as protests broke out on college campuses across America demanding that the U.S. punish the regime....Finally, Congress, including key Republicans, overrode Reagan's veto, imposing the economic sanctions that helped break the Apartheid regime."
On Thursday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts all spotlighted how "fast food workers across the country are holding strikes to demand higher wages", but failed to point out the involvement of left-leaning groups in organizing the protests. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning featured spokesmen from the "Fast Food Forward" movement, but didn't include their respective involvement in the SEIU and a successor organization to ACORN.
The ABC and CBS morning shows also slanted towards the protesters by a two-to-one margin in the number of soundbites from the protesters and liberal supporters, versus opponents of raising the minimum wage. While NBC's Today didn't feature any of the protest organizers, the show played three clips from a fast food employee and a protest supporter, versus two from opponents. [MP3 audio available here; video clips below the jump]
On Monday Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the Oversight Committee investigating the IRS’s targeting of the Tea Party, made a stunning claim that the FBI was stonewalling his investigation.
Last week, Issa was so frustrated with William Wilkins' testimony, in which he used the phrase “I don’t recall” 80 times, he accused the IRS chief counsel of “either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate” or “gross incompetence.” Number of Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) stories on these stunning allegations? Zero.
Vice President Joe Biden unleashed another gaffe on Tuesday while talking to female employees at an internet company in Japan. According to the Examiner, Biden was "scheduled to address the company's female employees" and "discuss the economic impact of women in the corporate world." Instead, while talking to the women, he blurted, "Do your husbands like you working full time?"
ABC's Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and NBC's Today all ignored the remark. Imagine if a conservative Republican like Rick Santorum had made such a similar comment? The politically correct media would likely trot out the "war on women" theme. Instead, GMA's Josh Elliott strictly focused on the VP's agenda in another Asian country: "Vice President Biden is in Beijing, hoping to ease growing tensions with China...But today, Biden visited with Chinese students at the U.S. embassy there, urging them to challenge their government and not accept the status quo." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
When Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks went ballistic, making the conservative talk show host a centerpiece in their campaign to tarnish Mitt Romney and the GOP as engaging in a “war on women.” However when MSNBC’s Martin Bashir launched his own war on women against Sarah Palin, not a single anchor or reporter from the Big Three said a word about his vile attack.
In the two weeks (February 29, 2012 - March 14, 2012) after Limbaugh made his crude Fluke joke, that he apologized for, the Big Three networks aired a total of 32 stories or interview segments that were full of calls for Limbaugh to apologize to the liberal activist Fluke, to get advertisers to abandon the show and demand that Republicans condemn the talk show host. NBC, who employs Bashir, aired the most Limbaugh stories with 14. ABC and CBS each aired 9 stories a piece. The number of Big Three network stories in the two weeks (November 15, 2013 - November 29, 2013) after Bashir suggested that Palin would be an “outstanding candidate” for excretory punishments? Zero. The hypocrisy from the supposed civility cops in the liberal media is stunning.