As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, late night comedians make fun of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney more than twice as much as they do Barack Obama.
CNN's Howard Kurtz defended this on Sunday's Reliable Sources saying, "Obama is just not that easy to ridicule... Whereas jokes about a rich guy with a 1950s lingo -- well, gosh, golly, gee whiz, isn't that hard to make people laugh" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Nightline correspondent Dan Harris on Thursday profiled an organization fighting voter fraud, suggesting that the non-partisan group might have a racial motive for targeting certain neighborhoods. Talking to True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrect, Harris offered this loaded question: "Is your goal really to end voter fraud or is your goal really to intimidate voters who disagree with you politically and scare them away from the polls?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Harris followed up, "You are not in any way directly targeting these communities?" Except for Engelbrect, everyone the correspondent talked to backed up this notion. Harris highlighted Teresa Sharp, a woman who had her right to vote challenged: "But Teresa and other Democrats say it's not about voter integrity but about voter suppression, specifically, trying to intimidate low-income people, minorities and students who might vote for President Obama."
As the Big Three's evening newscasts ignored the latest in the controversy over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya for seven straight days, their morning shows aren't doing much better. On Friday, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning together devoted less than two minutes of air time - 1 minute, 50 seconds - to the ambush that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American military veterans.
NBC's Today show mentioned the Libya attack only in passing, when Tom Brokaw noted it as one of a "series" of supposed October surprises in the presidential race, including "the President not showing up for the first debate, Benghazi", and Hurricane Sandy.
Good Morning America's Matt Dowd, who is often billed as a down-the-line analyst, again predicted doom for Mitt Romney, agreeing with George Stephanopoulos's question that the presidential race is "breaking for [Barack] Obama." Appearing on Friday's program, Dowd touted, "I think the trajectory of this race has now slowly moved to the President over the last few days, especially how he's handled [Hurricane] Sandy." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
According to a November 1 Rasmussen national poll, however, the race is deadlocked at 48-48. The political operative, who has worked for Democrats and Republicans, also dismissed Romney's push into Pennsylvania, oddly suggesting it was a "Hail Mary pass for him, because he knows the map has shrunk." Despite a Rasmussen poll showing the former governor up two in Ohio, Dowd deemed it "very difficult" for Romney to win the state.
Americans of all political stripes were distressed by the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador. But the reaction of the national broadcast networks has been demonstrably and shamefully partisan from the beginning of this story.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack, all three broadcast networks touted the political angle that the events would bolster President Obama — “reminding voters of his power as commander-in-chief,” as NBC’s Peter Alexander asserted on the September 14 edition of Today — while Mitt Romney would be damaged by his supposedly flubbed initial reaction.
But as the story progressed and reports indicated that the Obama administration knowingly misrepresented the nature of the attack, failed to provide adequate security, and refused to authorize a potential rescue mission to save those under fire, those same journalists have been either slow to report those developments, or altogether silent.
Up or down, the media often hype changing gas prices, in spite of a long track record of incorrect predictions. But the most recent forecast stands to benefit media favorite: President Barack Obama.
In recent months, all three broadcast news networks and the USA Today have offered predictions ahead of the presidential election, saying prices would be much lower by late November: after the election.
Earlier today, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell accurately noted that the Big Three TV news networks are "as guilty in ... (the Benghazi) cover-up as is the administration." He did so based on the fact that "For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11."
Not that it mitigates the legitimacy of Mr. Bozell's outrage, but one can take some comfort in the fact that fewer people are tuning in to the three nightly news broadcasts than were doing so a year ago, and that their ratings in the 25-54 demographic in the past five weeks are down by almost 20 percent from the same five-week period during the 2008 presidential cycle. A table containing individual results from the past two weeks and the average results from the past five is after the jump (a previous NewsBusters post on the first three weeks is here).
A day after he touted Barack Obama's "presidential leadership" in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Good Morning America's Jon Karl hyped how "cooperation on disaster relief works. It also plays well politically." Karl touted a new ABC poll finding "78 percent of likely voters said the President has done a good or excellent job handling the storm." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday, Karl praised that Hurricane Sandy has "given [Obama] a chance to show some presidential leadership." On Thursday's GMA Karl misleadingly told viewers, "In all eight of the states where the candidates are campaigning the hardest, the President is either tied or winning." Except the ones where he isn't.
For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11. According to a Media Research Center analysis, ABC, CBS, and NBC have failed to cover this devastating story - not to confirm it, not to knock it down, and never mind do their own investigation. The story broke last Friday, long before Hurricane Sandy swamped the news cycle. Further, neither The Washington Post nor The New York Times has committed a single inch of their newspapers to a news story about this report.
According to Fox News, “sources claim officers at the nearby CIA annex in Benghazi were twice told to stand down when they requested to help those at the consulate. They later ignored those orders. Fox News was also told that a subsequent request for back-up when the annex came under attack was denied as well.”
NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell reacts:
Al Gore is concerned about Mother Nature. In a statement he released on his blog on Oct. 30 2012, he hyped the imminent doom of global warming. “Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come,” the Goricle stated. No big surprise that Gore would immediately link Sandy to global warming. After all, he’s gotten very rich claiming the sky is falling. Unfortunately, Gore wasn’t the only one.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Wednesday touted Hurricane Sandy as an opportunity for Barack Obama to show "presidential leadership." During the same segment, Karl repeated liberal talking points, using the storm against Mitt Romney. He pointed out that, at an event, Tuesday, the Republican "ignored questions about his views on FEMA funding." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Karl needled, "But during a debate last year, [Romney] suggested he would favor turning over some of FEMA's responsibilities to the states." The journalist then played a primary debate clip of Romney asserting, "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction."
NBC’s David Gregory isn’t always a news reporter. As we're seeing with increasing frequency on that network, he's squashing stories. Call him an unreporter. On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” he showed the extent to which he'll vaporize any suggestion that Team Obama failed to offer adequate protection from terrorists at our consulate in Benghazi.
Businesswoman Carly Fiorina slammed Obama’s Libya response: “That attack went on for seven hours…[with the] Secretary of Defense saying he denied requests for help over that seven hours.” Gregory cut her off: “We’ll get to Libya a little bit later.” Surprise: It never came up again.
ABC News has mostly ignored the blockbuster revelation that the Obama White House knew, within hours, about the terrorist connection to the September 11, 2012 attack in Libya. Instead, shows such as World News and Good Morning America have focused their attention on more pressing subjects, such as yawning dogs, "mystery monkeys" and a woman who only eats three different foods.
On Wednesday Night, World News allowed a scant 20 seconds to e-mails showing that the strike on the Benghazi embassy was, indeed, a pre-planned assault. Yet, on Thursday, Diane Sawyer devoted a minute and 47 seconds to answering this pressing question: "...We know how contagious yawns can be among people, but have you ever wondered if your dog is yawning because you did?" [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
World News on Wednesday night continued to try and link Mitt Romney to the comments of a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana. Anchor Diane Sawyer began the program by hyping, "The Romney campaign wrestles today with a landmine on a big issue for women."
On Tuesday, Richard Mourdock said that life is a "gift from God" and that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen." Reporter David Muir insisted the words "have caused a firestorm." On Wednesday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos warned that "Romney [is] catching some flak for his ties" to Mourdock.
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell badgered former RNC head Haley Barbour on Thursday's CBS This Morning on Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock's strongly pro-life stance, that even children conceived in rape are "God intended." Rose strongly hinted that the media firestorm surrounding Mourdock could affect the presidential race: "Romney may be gaining support among women. And the question arises, could this Mourdock controversy impact that?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
The CBS morning newscast stood out among its Big Three peers in significantly adding to the more than seven and half minutes of coverage from the previous day. The network devoted three minutes, 6 seconds to Mourdock, which is nearly three times the one minutes and 7 seconds that ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today set aside to the story combined.
NBC's Today on Wednesday glossed over the State Department e-mails showing that the Obama administration knew that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was carried out by terrorists. Their colleagues at ABC and CBS also minimized their coverage of this latest development, as they boosted the latest slam on Republicans from David Axelrod and the President's reelection campaign.
But all three network morning shows cordoned off significant amounts of air time to completely frivolous and celebrity-driven news stories. Here are some examples from Good Morning America, the Today Show, and CBS This Morning:
An analysis by the Assocation of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) concludes that by the year 2020, there will be a shortage of more than 90,000 doctors. The organization finds the cause, in part, to be the passage of Barack Obama's health care law. Yet, when Good Morning America briefly covered this story on Wednesday, there was no mention of ObamaCare.
Josh Elliott insisted, "A national medical group says there's currently a shortage of more than 13,000 doctors across the United States. And the group warns that over the next decade, that shortage will grow to be ten-times worse as the population ages and more doctors retire." USA Today, however, explained, "The newly enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will soon require most people to obtain health insurance, leading millions more to seek care."
**UPDATE** At 2:30 p.m. EDT, MSNBC mentioned the damaging emails for the first time, coupling it with breaking news of an arrest in the attack on our Libyan consulate.
Following in the footsteps of its sister broadcast network, MSNBC has continued to ignore the shocking revelation that the White House knew on September 11 that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was under a well-coordinated terrorist attack.
As NewsBusters’ Matthew Balan noted, NBC's Today was the only broadcast network morning show this to ignore the story altogether, with MSNBC following suit by remaining silent as well throughout the day. In contrast, both Fox News and CNN have run numerous stories Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday evening, CBS broke wide open a story on State Department e-mails showing the White House knew on September 11 that the consulate in Benghazi was subjected to a terrorist attack, and that terrorists took credit on Facebook and Twitter. But by Wednesday, the three network morning shows weren't leaping to follow up. ABC and CBS combined devoted just over a minute to the story, while NBC completely ignored it.
By contrast, all three newscasts showed that they were more interested in helping the Democrats in Indiana, aggressively spotlighting Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's faith-based affirmation that he did not support abortion even in the case of rape, that even those are children "God intended." Mourdock's "controversial comments" drew more than seven and a half minutes of coverage.
All three morning shows on Wednesday touted White House talking points linking Mitt Romney to a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana who, while speaking about "the horrible situation of rape," called life a "gift from God." Only one program, CBS This Morning, seemed to notice how closely this story mirrored Democratic spin.
As though he was referencing a connection to a criminal, former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos intoned, "Mitt Romney catching some flak for his ties to a GOP Senate candidate making controversial comments about abortion and rape in a Tuesday debate." Trying to make trouble, reporter David Muir asserted that the GOP campaign is "trying to distance itself from a Senate candidate that Romney endorsed, did a TV ad for." Muir needled, "The [Romney] campaign did not say whether it would ask [Richard] Mourdock to take down this ad." CBS's Norah O'Donnell speculated that the remark could cost Republicans a shot at "control of the Senate." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In their third Presidential debate analysis, the Jurassic Press Media last night and thus far this morning have failed utterly in their role as fact checker and record-corrector - at least when it comes to what President Barack Obama had to say.
As but one glaring example, there were the President’s absurd assertions regarding the auto bailout and China.
“The high point of that debate for Romney is when he devastatingly leveled the charge of Obama going around the world on ‘an apology tour,’” Charles Krauthammer asserted on the Fox News Channel following Monday night’s third presidential debate. But what Krauthammer saw as so powerful for Mitt Romney, ABC and CNN tried to discredit based on the flimsy reasoning that Obama didn’t use the word “apologize.”
ABC’s Jonathan Karl insisted: “The President didn’t apologize for America...there’s no way you could really call it ‘an apology tour.’” With a big “False” on screen, CNN’s John Berman decided: “Our verdict here is it is false to call the President’s speeches ‘an apology tour’ even if he was critical of past U.S. foreign policy. He issued no apologies.”
Martha Raddatz boosted President Obama on ABC after the final presidential debate on Monday evening, just as she did during the earlier vice presidential debate that she moderated. Raddatz asserted that Obama "humanized what he was talking about. He talked a lot about the troops; he talked about the survivors from 9/11; he talked about the people in Israel. So if, in fact, he was going towards the female vote, he probably got their attention with that sort of approach." [audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC analyst Matthew Dowd on Sunday cheered the "laudable" Candy Crowley for propping up Barack Obama with wrong information about Libya during last week's debate. Referring to a contentious exchange between the President and Mitt Romney over when the White House called the attack a terrorist indicent, Dowd enthused, "...What Candy Crowley did, I actually thought, was laudable, because what happens in this whole thing is the truth becomes a casualty." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Dowd, appearing on This Week, lamented a media culture where "we're just supposed to make accusations back and forth to each other and nobody's supposed to correct and say, 'by the way, that's not true.'" Of course, Obama did not initially call the violence in Benghazi a terrorist attack." As the Washington Times explained, he "used the word 'terror' exactly once, late in his [September 12th Rose Garden] address."
In another hit piece on Mitt Romney, ABC News’ Matthew Mosk penned a 1,667-word column on how Romney’s in-laws could be a “problem.” According to Mosk, "Ann Romney's brother Roderick Davies, who filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and nephew Ryan Davies, who oversaw a now-bankrupt green energy venture, have both been out on the campaign trail to offer support for Romney. But back in Utah, the two men have left a trail of unhappy business partners, a number of whom spoke with ABC News to express concern about how the two might try and capitalize on a Romney presidency.” So, in Mosk’s mind, the allegedly unscrupulous activities of two grown men are all Mitt Romney’s fault.
The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) gave the faux furor over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” statement in Tuesday’s debate a whopping 22 mentions through Friday morning. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden, on Thursday, told an audience member that Republican “young guns” like Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had “bullets” aimed at him the networks delivered just a scant two total mentions (on NBC and CBS, ABC skipped the gaffe entirely.)
On the morning after the debate ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, on Good Morning America, singled out the “binders” comment: “You remember the Big Bird line that dominated the conversations online and around the water cooler, in essence, after the first debate? Last night, it was another Romney comment, ‘binders full of women’ that caused the heat to turn on.”
Tim Graham pointed out earlier on Thursday how Whoopi Goldberg forwarded a misunderstanding on ABC's The View during an interview of Ann Romney - that Mormonism "doesn't allow you to go fight" in the military. Mrs. Romney corrected this false statement: "No, that's not correct....We have many, many members of our faith that are serving in the armed services."
Goldberg could have just consulted Wikipedia, as the website lists four Mormon recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award for valor - one from World War I, two from World War II, and one from the Vietnam War.
The reporters and anchors of Good Morning America on Thursday desperately hyped Mitt Romney's assertion that, while governor of Massachusetts, he had "binders full of women" applicants. David Muir played this as a gaffe, labeling it "the binder blunder." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos tried to build the remark into some sort of game changer: "We saw Mitt Romney make huge gains with women after the first debate. Democrats believe this will block that gains he's made." The "huge gains" Stephanopoulos referred to were first reported in a USA Today poll showing Romney and Barack Obama dead even with swing state women, 48-48. However, this is the first time the host actually mentioned the ominous news for the President.