During a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, advertising executive Donny Deutsch ripped into Republican National Convention keynote speaker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "I'm gonna talk about the Christie brand. Bullying will never be accepted across this country....If you're a woman, if you're a minority...they don't want somebody up there going, 'This is the way it is.' His brand will never sell to the country." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to present a different perspective: "It's interesting you say that, because one man's bullying is another man's straight talk." Deutsch immediately dismissed any such point of view: "No, it's not...no, this is a bully....This guy will never, ever get elected President of the United States. Remember I told you that....this brand will never sell."
All three morning shows, Wednesday, pounded Marco Rubio, forcing him to defend a supposedly anti-Hispanic Republican Party and explain that the GOP won't destroy Medicare. CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose lectured, "...Many people worry that people who are Hispanic, African-American and other minorities don't have a place in this party." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He continued, "[Your party is] becoming something that is more narrow rather than outreaching." On ABC's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos pushed the same liberal talking point. He quoted Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, parroting "He [Villaraigosa] said you can't just trot out a brown face or as Spanish surname and expect people to vote for your candidate. He was referring to you tomorrow night."
In an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer was aghast at an off-the-cuff joke by Mitt Romney on Friday: "...he said, 'No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate,' an obvious reference to the birther debate. Is it – he says it was a joke. Is it funny to kind of pay attention to a fringe group and question the very legitimacy of the President of the United States's citizenship?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Christie replied: "Yeah, but he hasn't. I mean, he has been the clearest, the most affirmative of all the Republican candidates who are running for this nomination, in saying that he didn't think that was an issue." Lauer ignored the fact that President Obama himself has joked about his birth certificate on more than one occasion and that the Obama campaign actually raised money off the issue, selling mugs and t-shirts mocking the conspiracy theory.
Former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday hit Chris Christie, the Republican National Convention's keynote speaker, with liberal talking points about his state. Reading off a sheet of paper, the Good Morning America host recited, "You know, the Democrats are already ready for you to talk about the New Jersey experience. They're pointing out, ahead of your speech, that New Jersey is near the bottom of states in unemployment." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Stephanopoulos parroted, "Forty eight in unemployment. Forty seven in economic growth." Christie shot back, pointing out that in the last 12 months "we're ranked fourth in the country in terms of the number of private sector jobs that have been created, according to CNBC. That we've had 90,000 new private sector jobs created since I've been governor."
The hosts and reporters on Monday's Good Morning America downplayed a new ABC News/Washington Postpoll showing Mitt Romney taking the lead over Barack Obama. It wasn't until the 8am hour that news anchor Josh Elliott specifically revealed the numbers: "When it comes to the economy, 50 percent trust Romney to handle it, while just 43 percent favor the President."
The poll has the presumptive Republican nominee at 47 points, Obama at 46 percent. As Hot Air pointed out, "This is the first time that Obama has lost the lead since a brief polling burst for Romney in January." Yet, Diane Sawyer simply told co-anchor George Stephanopoulos that the race was "virtually tied." She vaguely referred to the economic numbers, but spun, "More people trust Romney on the economy, but they think he favors the wealthy over the middle class."
The media obsession with a gaffe by Congressman Todd Akin continued on Wednesday and Thursday morning. The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts and morning shows offered five additional segments, bringing the amount of coverage to a massive 96 minutes (and 45 segments) over three and a half days. The disparity between Akin and gaffe-prone Vice President Biden's "chains" controversy from last week is now five-to-one.
The massive amount of coverage is obviously favorable to the Democrats, a point Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos underlined: "Mitt Romney hoping to shake off those controversial comments from Congressman Todd Akin about abortion and rape. President Obama and his team doing everything they can to make it stick."
"A grand jury indicted Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va., on a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, and two District of Columbia offenses: assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a handgun during a crime of violence," reported CBS News and the Associated Press yesterday shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern. CBSNews.com carried the story in the "daily blotter" section of its Crimesider feature. "Corkins' parents told investigators that he was a supporter of gay rights, and he said he didn't agree with the FRC's politics before the shooting, according to the documents," the article added.
Yet last night's CBS Evening News completely ignored the story, as did ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News. The August 23 editions of those networks' morning shows also ignored the story. A search of our DVR recordings also found no mention of the indictment on the ultra-liberal, fervently pro-gay rights MSNBC network. John Berman of CNN's Starting Point did briefly touch on the story in the 7:00 a.m. news brief:
A week after giving relatively light coverage to Joe Biden's "chains" smear, the broadcast networks eagerly dove into the Todd Akin controversy, giving over four times more coverage to an uproar involving a statewide (conservative) politician than a controversy involving a national (liberal) politician. NBC, CBS and ABC's evening and morning shows have devoted an astonishing 88 minutes (or 40 segments) of coverage to Congressman Akin's "legitimate rape" remark. Over a similar three day period, the networks allowed a scant 19 minutes (or ten segments) to a racially charged gaffe by the Vice President of the United States.
CBS This Morning reporter Norah O'Donnell on Tuesday pronounced, "If Akin is still running for the United States Senate, everybody is going to be asking about Akin, abortion rights, women's rights, etc., during the Republican convention." CBS journalists certainly did their best to make sure "everybody" would be talking about the Republican. The network hyped the story the most, pushing the controversy for 13 segments and 37 minutes.
The network morning shows on Tuesday devoted an enormous 20 minutes and 53 seconds to obsessing over a gaffe by a Republican congressman, hyping Todd Akin's comments for nine separate segments. NBC, CBS and ABC touted Democratic efforts to link the gaffe-prone representative to the GOP presidential ticket.
Former Democratic operative turned Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos zeroed in on Akin's comments what constitutes a "legitimate rape." He breathlessly wondered, "We saw the President pounce in the White House briefing room yesterday. How are the Democrats going to try to capitalize on this today?"
After Paul Ryan released his last two years of tax returns late Friday, reporters on ABC and CBS not only made sure to point out that Ryan paid a higher federal tax rate than the wealthier Mitt Romney, but also noted that he had supplied more than two years to the Romney campaign as part of the vetting process, as if to put additional pressure on Romney and Ryan that they should make more than two years public.
All three morning shows on Monday highlighted gaffes involving two Republican congressmen, touting the "firestorm" that followed a GOP senatorial candidate who discussed "legitimate rape." Both NBC and CBS attempted to link that incident (and one of a congressman swimming naked in the Sea of Galilee) to the Republican presidential ticket.
On CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted "comments made by Missouri Republican Todd Akin [that] have caused a firestorm" and added, "...National Democrats are already seizing on his comments as they try to push the notion that Republicans are out of touch when it comes to women's health." Talking to Chuck Todd, Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie giddily hyped, "But let me ask you the larger question, do you think this will have an effect on the Republican race for president, where the female vote is so important?"
Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Friday yet again hyped the issue of Mitt Romney's taxes. Guest anchor Elliott touted, "And Mitt Romney finally ready to address that question about his taxes." Amy Robach thrilled, "Mitt Romney, for the first time revealing new information about his tax returns...But why now?"
The candidate on Thursday asserted that he had "never" paid lower than a 13 percent tax rate. Reporter David Muir played up ABC's own role in this supposed new revelation: "Romney went back and checked after our sit down with him two weeks ago. At the time, we asked him about the tax rate he paid and the one completed tax return he has released." Muir then played a clip of him asking the Republican whether or not he had "ever" paid less than 13.9 percent.
Over eight hours of broadcast time, Thursday, the network morning shows devoted a scant two minutes and 57 seconds to Wednesday's shooting at the conservative Family Research Council (FRC). Good Morning America on ABC offered the most time, a still tiny two minutes and 22 seconds. But at least guest anchor Josh Elliott revealed key details about the alleged shooter's possible motive, such as the fact that Floyd Corkins "was a volunteer at a local LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] center." CBS This Morning totally skipped the story.
ABC reporter Pierre Thomas added, "Sources say [Corkins] had items from fast food giant Chick-fil-A in his bag, but it was unclear whether Wednesday's incident had any ties to the recent controversy on gay marriage." Thomas then gratuitously noted, "The company's owner recently set off a political firestorm, suggesting he opposed gay marriage." (CEO Dan Cathy created a "firestorm" by simply giving his opinion on an issue? Wouldn't it be fair to say that liberal groups whipped up the anger?)
Of the three morning shows on Wednesday, only CBS acknowledged the racial tinge of Vice President Joe Biden telling a mostly black crowd that Republicans will "put y'all back in chains." ABC's Good Morning America, instead, tried to explain away and provide context for the Democrat. NBC's Today vaguely alluded to GOP concerns about the remark, but didn't mention race. (On Tuesday, the CBS Evening News was alone in making this point.)
Regarding the Vice President's assertion that Mitt Romney wants to "unchain Wall Street," CBS This Morning guest anchor Anthony Mason explained that Biden "seemed to suggest that Republicans want to put black Americans back in bondage." Correspondent Nancy Cordes hinted the Vice President was implying that the GOP "wants to put black Americans back in bondage." In contrast, GMA's David Muir simply told viewers that Biden is now "trying to explain the chains remark."
Former Democratic operative turned TV host George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday immediately set to work on the job of parroting Democratic talking points about the new Republican presidential ticket. The network anchor teased the program by hyping, "Mitt Romney and his new running mate under attack from the White House. President Obama says they will end Medicare as we know it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Stephanopoulos also used social media to parrot liberal attacks: "President Obama put out a tweet last night to his 18 and a half million followers, saying Romney and Ryan want to end Medicare as we know it, while giving millionaires a tax cut."
Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos on Monday kicked off the program by tagging Paul Ryan as "the former prom king that once drove the Weinermobile." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The ex-Democratic operative turned TV host also authoritatively declared that "the White House is actually pretty pleased by the choice of Paul Ryan because they do see him as a target." (What else would they say? Would the campaign admit to being scared of the Republican?)
Reporter David Muir continued the false narrative about the Ryan plan: "Ryan is known in the political world for his controversial budget plan that would call for steep cuts and the Obama campaign said it would change Medicare as we know it." On Sunday, GMA's Bianna Golodryga warned of "budget slasher" Paul Ryan.
Previewing the choice of Paul Ryan as the GOP vice presidential candidate, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows all used Democratic framing to describe the House GOP budget plan that Ryan championed as a plan to, as CBS’s Bob Schieffer put it, “cut more than $5 trillion over the next ten years.” ABC’s Bianna Golodryga passed along the demagogic rhetoric of liberals: “Democrats, meantime, contest that it will destroy Medicare and Social Security.”
But Ryan’s plan would actually increase federal spending over the next ten years, from about $3.6 trillion this year to just under $4.9 trillion in 2022. The $5 trillion in “cuts” are merely reductions from the much-higher spending anticipated by President Obama’s budget. (See tables starting on page 88.)
Breaking the news this morning that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, ABC’s Good Morning America in a single hour employed no fewer than seven “conservative” labels to label Ryan and his supporters. But four years ago as Barack Obama tapped Joe Biden, there wasn’t a single “liberal” label to be found on GMA’s coverage that Saturday morning.
Ryan, ABC’s team accurately pointed out, is as fill-in co-host David Muir put it, “a favorite among conservatives;” a candidate who “rallies the conservative base,” as George Stephanopoulos later opined. According to the American Conservative Union, Ryan has a solid 91.69 conservative rating (100% being a perfect conservative score).
ABC on Thursday night finally broke the network's silence about a dishonest Obama super PAC ad that, essentially, accuses Mitt Romney of killing a woman. On Friday, Good Morning America's hosts and reporters vaguely, but haughtily, chided "both sides" for negative ads, as if they had been covering Obama's commercial all week. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the very end of a segment on Romney's possible VP choices, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos lectured, "It really seems to be, watching this time around, that both sides are willing to take all kinds of heat for getting accused of running misleading ads, but they're going to keep pumping them out there." What was Obama's ad? He didn't say. Karl, who on Thursday night became the first ABC reporter to note the misleading Obama spot, huffed about both campaigns: "You know, it's almost like they're not trying to be factual."
All three evening newscasts on Tuesday and the morning shows on Wednesday skipped a new Super PAC ad (run by former Obama spokesman Bill Burton) that blames Mitt Romney for a woman's death from cancer. While ignoring that, NBC, ABC and CBS made sure to highlight negative news for Romney or White House complaints about the Republican's new campaign spots.
By contrast, CNN on Tuesday demolished the Obama super PAC ad as "not accurate." Anchor Wolf Blitzer asserted it was "full of falsehoods." The spot misleadingly claims that Ranae Soptic passed away from cancer shortly after Bain Capital closed down the steel plant her husband worked at. In reality, she died five years later. Instead of investigating this, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Wednesday alerted, "Our new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds [Romney's] personal popularity sinking to a new low, the lowest of any presumptive nominee since 1984."
On Tuesday, ABC and NBC's morning shows omitted covering President Obama Monday night attack on Mitt Romney at a fundraiser in Connecticut, that the GOP presidential candidate is "like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood." However, Good Morning America and Today both reported on the "security scare" for the President, after two small planes flew into restricted airspace.
The same day, CBS This Morning played the clip of Obama's "Romney Hood" attack not once, but twice. Correspondent Nancy Cordes did note that the Democrat headlined a $500-a-plate fundraising dinner and how "the President headed to an even pricier fundraiser at the Connecticut home of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein."
ABC journalist Brian Ross, who on July 20 smeared the Tea Party as connected to a mass killing in Colorado, on Tuesday described the racist views of another shooter and his connection to Nazi, "right-wing" groups.
After explaining Wade Page's links to violent, bigoted groups, Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos wondered how this murderer could have purchased a gun, Ross insisted that the FBI did not have "enough evidence to open a full field investigation because of his links to these right-wing, neo-Nazi groups." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The broadcast networks promoted gay activists’ protest of the fast food company Chick-fil-A, but when that protest fizzled, they did little to cover the failure.
ABC’s Steve Osunsami hyped the protests ahead of time, saying “nearly 100,000 friends and family have been invited online.” After the apparent lack of turnout at the kiss-in, however, the networks stopped reporting on the protest. Only ABC briefly mentioned the results of the kiss-in, after all three networks talked about the protests on the morning of Aug. 3.
The three networks have, thus far, ignored the revelation that American taxpayers will only recover a mere $24 million of the $527 million lost on Solyndra, a new report by the Dow Jones newswire revealed last week. The evening newscasts and morning shows have skipped the announcement.
The Washington Examiner explained on Thursday, "In a little-noticed move, Solyndra LLC officially released it bankruptcy plan this week. The official word from it is that taxpayers will recover only $24 million of the about $527 million." The only utterance of Solyndra last week came when Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus brought it up on Sunday's This Week.
On Saturday's Good Morning America on ABC, co-host Bianna Golodryga seemed to admire Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for making an unsubstantiated charge that Mitt Romney had not paid taxes in 10 years, as she ended a short discussion of the smear by gushing: "Harry Reid, always one to speak his mind," inspiring a chuckle from correspondent David Kerley.
The Big Three networks largely yawned at Majority Leader Harry Reid's wild charge on the Senate floor on Thursday that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney hasn't paid taxes in 10 years. ABC, CBS, and NBC failed to mention it on the evening newscasts on Thursday. On Friday morning, CBS This Morning was the lone broadcast morning show to report on Reid's "explosive accusation," as correspondent Nancy Cordes put it.
By contrast, all three networks covered Rep. Joe Wilson's 2009 "you lie" shout at President Obama at the State of the Union within 24 hours and were unanimously scandalized at the "stunning moment" in the House chamber, as then-anchor Charles Gibson labeled it on ABC's World News. Both ABC and CBS trumpeted Wilson's outburst as the "shout heard 'round the world."
All three networks on Friday continued to highlight the controversy over Chick-fil-A, but Good Morning America's Steve Osunsami adopted the most confrontational tone, insisting that "for years," Chick-fil-A has "donated millions" to "fight against gay Americans." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Fill-in host Laura Spencer simplified the debate: "How the battle over gay marriage is now all about a chicken sandwich."
Osunsami promoted Friday's counter protest by homosexuals who are outraged over Chick-fil-A founder Dan Cathy's public support for traditional marriage. Of the proposed "kiss-in," he promised, "At Chick-fil-A restaurants today, customers will get an eyeful, along with their nuggets and waffle fries."
The CBS and NBC morning shows on Thursday both highlighted a massive show of support for Chick-fil-A, but failed to explain one of the underlying reasons for the protest: An expression of solidarity by many Americans for free speech against government bullying.
While ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the sizable effort that saw long lines at Chick-fil-As around the country, CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose simplified, "For many religious conservatives, Chick-fil-A was the place to be Wednesday. Thousands went there to eat and to make a statement - a statement against same sex marriage." Many Americans did go as a show of support for traditional marriage, but some went to protest mayors in Chicago, Boston and San Francisco who threatened or bullied the conservative chain.
On its Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts, CBS didn't file one report or news brief on the controversial federal abortifacient/contraception mandate going into effect. Even worse, the only mention of religious liberty scandal over the regulation was CBS This Morning playing a clip of liberal comedian Stephen Colbert making fun of it.
ABC's Diane Sawyer heralded the mandate taking effect as "an important day for women's health" on Wednesday's World News, and forwarded the White House's talking points on the regulation: "Religious employers, like Catholic charities and hospitals, do not have to directly include free birth control under their health plans." On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams lamented that "simply by taking effect, it started up the health care fight all over again."
The Big Three networks enthusiastically paid tribute to leftist author Gore Vidal on their Wednesday morning newscasts, but not one mentioned his political ideology. NBC's Today devoted two briefs to the "sardonically witty" Vidal, who died late Tuesday. The morning show also labeled him a "cultural icon." ABC's Good Morning America played up his "outsized personality and scathing wit."
However, CBS This Morning surpassed its competitors, with anchor Charlie Rose's retrospective on the "brilliant essayist and a commentator on America."