Both ABC and NBC ignored the latest delay for ObamaCare on Wednesday evening's news casts, and CBS whitewashed any controversy until the end of its report.
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it would extend ObamaCare's enrollment deadline until mid-April for anyone who would have trouble signing up at the last minute. Not only was the administration changing its long-established deadline, but it would only use the "honor system" to verify those who had legitimate problems enrolling. CBS was the only network to report this big delay on Wednesday evening.
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows repeated the White House line that the reason for delaying the March 31 ObamaCare enrollment deadline was due to a last-minute "surge" of people signing up. In a 20-second news brief on NBC's Today, fill-in news reader Tamron Hall announced "a reprieve this morning for people who've been trying to sign up for ObamaCare," before noting that "the Health and Human Services Department says there has been a last-minute surge in demand." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a 17-second news brief on ABC's Good Morning America, fill-in news reader Amy Robach gently described the law's new setback as a sign-up "grace period" and declared: "...the White House predicts a crush of applicants in the final hours could cause a computer traffic jam."
While on Tuesday evening the networks hyped President Obama "talking tough" to Russia and "belittling" them, only ABC pressed him on whether he was wrong about Russia during the 2012 campaign.
ABC's White House correspondent Jonathan Karl asked the President, "In the light of recent developments, do you think Mitt Romney had a point when he said that Russia is America's biggest geopolitical foe?" The World News aired the clip, as well as Obama's response that Russia is only a "regional power."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King adopted liberal spin on the ObamaCare contraception mandate being challenged in the Supreme Court: "It pits the rights of a woman's access to contraception against a company's religious freedom." That description of the case was nearly identical to the false framing of the issue in Monday's New York Times. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed on This Morning, correspondent Jan Crawford teed up the faulty argument: "Women's rights groups and doctors say the cases are about women's health." A clip ran of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists president Jeanne Conry ranting: "As a physician, I need a number of ways to treat women, and treat them appropriately. And I don't need an employer coming into my exam room and telling me how to treat a patient."
Unquestionably, ObamaCare is the central political issue of 2014. As the midterm election campaign moves forward, liberal politicians will have to justify their support for a program that has cost millions of individuals their insurance; will raise premiums for most small businesses; imposes hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes; and will cost, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the equivalent of two million jobs over the next three years.
But so far this year, the three network evening newscasts have minimized, spun or ignored every negative development about ObamaCare, while at the same time touting staged pro-ObamaCare publicity stunts, such as the President’s appearance on a Web-based comedy show in March.
With only a week to go before ObamaCare's sign-up deadline, the networks ignored the law entirely on Monday evening even though the latest estimate has the administration one million sign-ups short of its revised goal.
As NewsBusters reported, the networks skipped the story on Monday morning as well. That continues their trend of shelving bad news for ObamaCare, including the low enrollment numbers among young people and the administration's latest delay that let many keep their current insurance plans that the White House once called "shoddy."
The journalists at ABC's World News on Sunday enthusiastically touted a fawning question from a Democratic activist to Hillary Clinton. After anchor David Muir insisted that "it didn't take long for a student there to ask a pointed question," college student Vrinda Agrawal wondered, "If you don't represent women in politics in America as a future president, who will?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This is a tough question? The event was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and held at Arizona State University. Agrawal followed-up by enthusing, "I will proudly run your campaign." At no time did Muir or reporter Susan Saulny inform viewers that the student was a policy intern for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer or that her Facebook page includes pictures of her and Bill Clinton.
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to students at Peking University in China over the weekend and spoke of the need for China to limit its censorship of information and controlling access to the Internet.
Despite both ABC and NBC hyping Mrs. Obama’s “strong message” about the need for an open Internet in China, both networks skipped the irony of the White House not allowing American press to travel with the First Lady to China. Instead, ABC promoted how Obama decided to tackle “hot-button issues” as “she’s making headlines over what she said about the Internet.”
ABC Family has killed its program “Alice in Arabia” before it began after complaints that it relied on stereotypes of Muslims, a network spokesperson told BuzzFeed Friday night. The show's pick-up had been announced on Monday.
The pilot followed an American teen who is kidnapped by her Saudi Arabian extended family and must “find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.” The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) hated it. In a letter to ABC executives, ADC President Samer Khalaf complained:
Friday's CBS Evening News and ABC's World News both glowingly harkened back to a prominent past example of bilateral exchange between the U.S. and China, as they reported on Michelle Obama's trip to the East Asian country. But they continued their blackout on covering the White House's ban of journalists accompanying the First Lady. During a news brief, CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "education is the focus of her [Mrs. Obama's] week-long trip, but there was also time for a little bit of ping-pong diplomacy."
The ABC evening newscast surpassed their competitor, however, with David Muir touting "the images making headlines out of China... the Chinese president unexpectedly coming out to meet her – the whole thing reminiscent of those iconic shots of President Nixon in his groundbreaking trip to China." Jonathan Karl also raised the air of "ping-pong diplomacy," but noted the current First Lady's departure from her predecessors in her approach to the communist regime: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
While the networks swooned over President Obama's mock interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis, only ABC noted Obama's appearance on Thursday's Ellen DeGeneres Show where he plugged ObamaCare.
And ABC focused only on the shallow, touting Obama's exchange with DeGeneres over her "selfie" at the Oscars. Interestingly, they left out the President plugging his health care law. Neither NBC nor CBS even mentioned the interview after all three networks touted Obama's interview with Galifianakis where he pushed for ObamaCare.
When lives are lost due to a faulty product the media point fingers all the way up to the top of the company. Just not when the government owns the company.
The broadcast networks have aired 42 reports on the GM safety recall of faulty ignitions; malfunctions that resulted in more than 300 deaths. But in the course of their reporting, ABC, CBS and NBC only once said something that could remind viewers that GM was, for a time, Government Motors. More than half of fatalities occurred during the period of federal ownership of GM.
In a full report for Friday's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "This trip is really focused on building good will. White House aides are confident that the First Lady's personal story will also resonate with the Chinese people....It's a highly anticipated visit to a country whose relationship with the U.S. is complicated at best." All the more reason to allow American journalists to go along. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bill Plante acted as a stenographer for the Obama administration on Thursday's CBS This Morning, as he spotlighted the "multi-tiered state and national effort to get young people enrolled" in ObamaCare before the end of March. Plante touted the "supportive celebrity Tweets and videos....and a tongue-in-cheek tool kit that teaches parents how to get on social media and 'nag' their children 'mercilessly.'"
The correspondent again noted Zach Galifianikis' mock interview of President Obama, which the Big Three networks spent 100 times more coverage on than the low enrollment the previous week. However, CBS This Morning at least mentioned how the administration fell millions short of its original seven million goal. ABC nor NBC have yet to mention the new enrollment figures on their morning and evening newscasts. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Supposedly neutral journalist Barbara Walters dropped all pretense of objectivity on Wednesday, praising guest Anita Hill as her "heroine." The View co-host gushed over how "honored" she was to meet the woman who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991. Walters allowed no tough questions of Hill, just queries about the "cost" of speaking out.
The veteran journalist introduced her guest as though she were speaking of a world leader: "I would just like to say that I'm honored to be meeting you. I watched those hearings, as did so many other people. And to so many of us, you were our heroine." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Network journalists on Wednesday fawned over the fact that Barack Obama is again making NCAA basketball picks. On ABC, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott touted, "And finally, the bracketologist-in-chief is at it again. President Obama, as he does every March, making his predictions..."
Elliott played a clip of the President insisting he would use big bracket winnings to "pay down the debt" and buy his wife shoes. The news reader then enthused, "Smart man. Constituents and wife. Keep them all happy." [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
This winter the networks have seized on all sorts of extreme weather, making it appear new, exciting or unusual. In the case of the California drought the broadcast networks have been hot and bothered claiming it is “historic.”
ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows hyped the California drought, describing it as unprecedented and the “worst drought on record.” But Dr. Martin Hoerling, a federal climate researcher, disagrees with that assessment. He said that the drought was consistent with previous California droughts.
On Tuesday, all three broadcast network evening newscasts devoted full reports to President Obama honoring 24 members of the military – only three still living – with the Medal of Honor. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley trumpeted how the President "righted a historic wrong. He presented the nation's highest military award to 24 Americans, after a review determined that they had been passed over because they were Hispanic or African-American or Jewish." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
However, during the fifth year of former President George W. Bush's presidency, the Big Three channels furiously covered the allegations against several U.S. Marines, who were accused of killing civilians in Iraq in November 2005. Between May 17 and June 7, 2006 – a three week period – ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted three and a half hours of air time to the accusations of misconduct. These same networks aired only 52 minutes of reporting on 20 military heroes from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq during a five-year period between September 2001 and June 2006.
With the help of research materials from Newsbusters and the Media Research Center, the National Center for Public Policy Research (disclosure: my employer) today challenged Disney chief Robert Iger over media bias at ABC News at Disney's annual shareholder meeting.
National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof asked Iger why, as revealed by the MRC, ABC News devoted only 128 seconds to coverage of the IRS scandal from July 2013-January 2014, even though 53 percent of Americans believe the IRS broke the law and even Democrats, by a 2-1 margin, believe a special prosecutor should be appointed.
How do the journalists at Nightline define news? On Monday night, co-host Dan Harris and reporter Mariana van Zeller spent an astonishing nine minutes and 33 seconds on the salacious, gossipy phenomenon of "bootleg butt injections." Yet, it's been 123 days, 17 and a half weeks, since the show's hosts have focused on ObamaCare and the problems with the law's implementation.
Harris educated his audience: "In the iconic rap song, Baby Got Back, Sir-Mix-A-Lot professes his love for women with large rear ends." He continued, "Since that song came out in 1992, the world's obsession with plus-size backsides has only intensified..." Yes, the once-prestigious Nightline investigated why some women "are risking it all on bootleg butt injections." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Despite Barack Obama's self-congratulatory claim in 2013 that he is running the "most transparent administration in history," several watchdog groups this week have hit the President for restricting information. Yet, so far, the networks have skipped the bad news. The Associated Press on Sunday reported, "The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act..."
The Washington Post on Tuesday reported, "A separate report this week from the National Security Archives found that 54 percent of all agencies have ignored directives that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder issued in 2009 calling for a 'presumption of disclosure' with FOIA requests." The Center for Effective Government gave failing grades to seven Obama-era agencies, including State, Defense and Labor. Although the networks have avoided this topic, Fox News on highlighted the "spectacular failure." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC News completely ignored the Monday death of heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, who used her wealth to help conceal the mistress of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. CBS and NBC both noted the passing of the 103-year-old and her connection to Edwards, but failed identify Edwards as a Democrat. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell touted how Mellon "was a horticulturist who redesigned the White House Rose Garden at Jackie Kennedy's invitation." However, when it came to her involvement with Edwards, O'Donnell only vaguely mentioned: "In later years, she gave money to help presidential candidate John Edwards."
As of Monday evening, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover North Korea's firing of 25 short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Sunday. NBCNews.com did post an unsigned article from Reuters on Sunday about how the "missiles flew for 45 miles before splashing into the sea," and ABC News' website went with AP's write-up on the development, but neither outlet devoted any air time to the story.
By contrast, CNN's New Day on Monday devoted a 20-second news brief to the Obama administration's reaction to this latest instance of North Korean sabre-rattling: [video below the jump]
The United States government announced on Friday that it would give up control of the internet to a global organization. Fox News extensively covered this development, but the network morning and evening shows ignored the monumental decision.
Former Republican Governor Mike Huckabee appeared on Saturday's Fox and Friends to blast the decision, arguing, "I'm an old fashioned guy that believes in American sovereignty. I think that we don't give up anything in this country. We hang on to what we have. We are a sovereign country." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In the never-ending search to find things to be offended by, part of the feminist left has determined that “bossy,” when applied to girls and women, is inappropriate. Really. There’s a whole campaign with big-name celebrities and liberal partners like Upworthy, Teach for America, La Raza, The Girl Scouts and the AARP. Beyoncé, Condoleezza Rice, Jennifer Garner and Jane Lynch have all signed on.
Apparently, when some girls are called “bossy,” they tend to behave less, well, bossy. That outcome is clearly detrimental to girls’ self esteem and willingness to take leadership roles. To which sensitive, informed Americans can only respond, “Huh?”
St. Patrick’s Day may be a time of revelry and fun, but that didn’t stop ABC and NBC from hitting New York’s parade as anti-gay. Today co-host Natalie Morales on Monday lectured, “And today is St. Patrick's Day, of course, but some controversy hanging over some of the country's biggest celebrations.” [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
Morales added, “New York's mayor Bill de Blasio isn't marching in today's parade because it does not allow gays and lesbians to openly take part.” Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, news reader Josh Elliott remarked, “And New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, the largest in the world, lost a major sponsor overnight.”
ABC's World News named Rico Roman, a member of Team U.S.A. in the Sochi Paralympics, its 'Person of the Week' on Friday. Roman, an Iraq War veteran who lost his left leg after his Humvee struck an IED, is now the "the star forward of the U.S. Paralympic hockey team." Amy Robach spotlighted how the Oregon native "discovered sled hockey – an outlet from the confines of a hospital room."
The correspondent also pointed out how a significant percentage of the American Paralympics team come from the military: [video below the jump]
NBC, ABC, and CBS marked the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis being elected leader of the Catholic Church with positive stories about the Pontiff's personal style while impatiently pleading for him to reject the moral values he swore to uphold. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Anne Thompson summed up a discussion she had with a group of students at Loyola University by proclaiming: "Now, these young Catholics don't expect change on the divisive issues of contraception, gay marriage, or abortion. But they are thrilled that that's not all the Pope talks about." She added that they were happy avoiding such social issues and "getting back to the original message of Jesus Christ."
"The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country's 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day, according to a previously unreported federal analysis," the Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Smith reported on the front page of Thursday's paper. A set of "coordinated attacks in each of the nations' three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse," Smith noted, citing "people familiar with the [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] research."
A development like this is quite newsworthy and a topic that makes for good TV news, yet the broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- completely ignored the item both on the March 13 evening newscasts and the March 14 morning news programs. By contrast, they found air time for rather frivolous stories such as:
The co-hosts of The View brought on Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace, Thursday, to give the Republican view on politics. But instead of offering the loyal opposition, the former top aide to John McCain gushed over the Clintons.
Asked by Jenny McCarthy if Bill Clinton's personal problems will be an issue in 2016, Wallace blurted, "No. That's baked in the cake. I mean, to know Bill is to love Bill, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]