NewsBusters previously reported that the AP, NBC's "Today," and ABC's "Good Morning America" reported as a curiosity some Mayan priests who complain that President Bush brought evil spirits with him to Guatemala.
Well, CBS's Peter Maer didn't want to be left out apparently. He wrote up a little something at "Couric & Co.," Katie Couric's e-sandbox on CBS's Web site.
Maer's account, like the others mentioned, seems to leave out two key facts for their readers.
[Updated 5:20pm EDT] For the second time in a week, a media organization has seriously reported on the "evil spirits" that President Bush’s trip to Latin America will bring. During a 7am news brief on the Monday edition of "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo noted that Bush’s visit to a sacred Mayan ruin has resulted in protests. According to Cuomo:
Chris Cuomo: " President Bush's tour of Latin America stops in Guatemala today where he'll meet with that country's president. President Bush will also visit a sacred Mayan ruin today, making some protesters angry. They say President Bush will only bring, quote, 'evil spirits' to the site. On Sunday, during the President's nearly seven hours in Colombia, demonstrators clashed with police. The situation was so dangerous, a decoy motorcade was used on the way back to the airport."
Liberal Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) entered friendly territory as he appeared on the March 12th edition of The View to promote his new book Positively American. Rosie once again called for impeaching the president and pressed Senator Schumer to agree. Rosie’s nutty charge of "treason" was too much even for fringe liberal Joy Behar.
O’Donnell: "Do you think that anyone will call for the impeachment of George Bush in Congress?"
Schumer: "Probably not. Because usually impeachment is when you've committed a crime."
While I'm traipsing about in the Notable Quotables archive, let's bring some context to the media's enjoyment of Mayan priests purging the "bad spirits" of Bush on his Latin America trip. If the president meets with public opposition on his trips, that can be newsworthy. But plucking out colorful anti-Bush anecdotes can demonstrate that the "news" is sometimes what the reporter is eager to find, and not the whole picture. Ten years ago, the networks were not always eager to find anti-Clinton angles on Latin America trips. Instead, in this case they used a Clinton trip to make the case that America was too obsessed with Whitewater:
If I were a rich man, the media would likely bash me. But if I were a female billionaire, I would become "good news" according to ABC and NBC.
While both ABC and NBC have called very successful CEOs examples of "runaway pay," there was no animosity to be found toward extremely high-earning women during the March 8 "World News with Charles Gibson" or "Nightly News."
In fact, after CNBC's Maria Bartiromo stated that 83 women made Forbes magazine's billionaires list on NBC "Nightly News," anchor Campbell Brown chimed: "All right, that's good news."
ABC's "World News" lauded the 1 percent club: "self-made members of the fairer sex," but left out Forbes statement that 60 percent of those on the billionaires list all made their fortunes from scratch.
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," veteran journalist Ted Koppel talked with co-host Diane Sawyer about his new Discovery Channel special on the war against terror, "Our Children’s Children’s War." Koppel used the appearance to suggest that America stop calling the conflict a war, rely more on negotiations and he also blamed the U.S. for actually making things worse, asserting that " we turned al Qaeda into the biggest franchise since McDonalds."
Throughout the interview, Koppel discussed the need to take the long view. A plan that apparently means pulling out of Iraq:
Back in the '70s, an exchange of ping pong players between the United States and China began a thawing of relations between the two countries that paved the way for Richard Nixon's famous trip to Beijing. Could we be entering a similar stage with Iran that could come to be known as "orange juice diplomacy"? Diane Sawyer certainly seems to hope so, judging by the way she pressed US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad on Good Morning America today. Along the way, Sawyer seemed to willfully downplay the degree of Iran's responsibility for the Shia insurgency in Iraq.
Sawyer spoke from New York with Ambassador Khalilzad in Baghdad on the eve of a regional conference on security issues organized by the Iraqi government that will bring representatives of the United States into the same room with those from Iran and Syria. Sawyer quoted to the ambassador the recent remarks of David Satterfield, the State Department's Iraq coordinator: "If we are approached over orange juice by the Syrians or the Iranians we're not going to turn and walk away."
Sawyer seized on Satterfield's statement: "Are we talking to the Syrians and the Iranians, or are we dependent on orange juice?"
Khalilzad: "As you know, for some time Diane, we have said that we are willing to talk to the Iranians if we think it will be useful to the situation in Iraq."
While members of "mainstream media" have eagerly covered Ann Coulter’s use of an vulgar term at a conservative conference, HBO host Bill Maher’s obnoxious comment about the Vice President, that "more people would live" if Dick Cheney had been assassinated, drew only sparse attention from the press.
Commenting on the diversity of the 2008 Democratic contenders, MSNBC host Contessa Brewer remarked of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, "It’s sort of like we’re rooting for everybody all at once."
NBC had some "horror stories" to share with its audience on March 7, according to "Nightly News" anchor Campbell Brown. Brown introduced the report by Lisa Myers that told the story of Wesley Wannemacher, a man who's $3,200 credit card debt ballooned to $10,700 after interest and penalties.
Wannemacher's plight also featured prominently in similar segments on ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" and CBS "Evening News" for the same day. [continued after jump]
Like the Tuesday evening shows, Wednesday’s network morning shows leaned heavily on the Democratic narrative toward the Scooter Libby convictions, highlighting the high dudgeon against the Bush administration by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Joe Wilson, and former reporter/juror Denis Collins, while ignoring any angle that would balance the story with any critique of Fitzgerald, the Wilsons, or State Department official Richard Armitage, who withheld the fact that he leaked to Robert Novak, which started the whole scandal train.
Reporters made no reference to how Fitzgerald, knowing Armitage was the leaker, could have cut his investigation short; or how the Wilsons, far from victims, have made two book deals and a movie deal, and how Joe Wilson shamelessly campaigned for a job with President-to-be John Kerry; or how the trial made the media look bad, since the memories of reporters were as bad or worse than Libby’s memory. Here’s how the three networks summed it all up:
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Diane Sawyer framed of the conviction of Lewis "Scooter" Libby through the perspective of anti-Bush liberals, continuing a tradition that began with the previous day’s evening news programs. An ABC graphic described Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Cheney, as the "fall guy" and Sawyer wondered if he was "a scapegoat."
And nowhere in the segment did the GMA co-host find time to mention some very pertinent points, such as the fact that CIA Agent Valerie Plame, wife of ex-Ambassador Joe Wilson, had her identity revealed to reporter Bob Novak by an administration critic, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Sawyer interviewed Denis Collins, a juror from the trial, and a sampling of her questions seems to reveal who she thinks is responsible:
Diane Sawyer: "Do you think that Scooter Libby got in trouble because he was trimming the truth to protect his boss?"
Sawyer: "You said the Vice President had clearly tasked [Libby] to talk to reporters about CIA agent Valerie Plame. How do you think the Vice President should feel this morning?"
Sawyer: "At the end of the day, what's the big message sent by this jury and this verdict?"
The ABC anchor also failed to mentioned the apparent conflict of interests shared by juror Collins, including his friendships with reporter Bob Woodward and the fact that he was a former neighbor of Tim Russert.
The very first topic on the March 7 edition of The View, was about the conviction of ‘Scooter’ Libby on perjury and obstruction of justice. So what do Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar have to say? They convict the vice president of "treason." Behar exclaimed that it is a "delight" for her that Dick Cheney is "in trouble"and Rosie O’Donnell agreed. Behar, known for her conspiracy theories, suspected the timing of Vice President Cheney’s blood clot.
At that point, Barbara Walters sought to play Pontius Pilate washing her hands free of Joy and Rosie. In standard disclaimer format she stated:
"I would like to point out, which Rosie and I talk about, that the opinions expressed in this program are the opinions of the individual people."
Has Ann Coulter gone too far? “Good Morning America” reporter Jake Tapper posed that question on Tuesday’s program. Commenting on Coulter’s use of a slur at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, he used the words “vicious” and “mean spirited” to describe the author. An ABC graphic described the speech as “nasty.”
And yet, the ABC program has not aired a single story on prominent liberal HBO personality Bill Maher (he calls himself libertarian) and his March 2 comment regarding the attempted assassination of Vice President Cheney. On his “Real Time” program, Maher remarked, “I’m just saying, if he did die, other people, more people would live. That’s a fact.” In comparison, NBC’s “Today” did manage at least a small mention of the HBO host’s statement. Mr. Tapper began the piece by insinuating that conservatives are drawn to Coulter because of her “vicious” disposition, and not because of an attraction to the conservative views the author expresses:
The Associated Press is reporting Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards responded harshly Ann Coulter’s "faggot" remark. At an appearance in Berkeley, California, he said:
"I think it is important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention. I also believe it is important for all of us to speak out against language of this kind; it is the place where hatred gets its foothold, and we can’t stand silently by and allow this kind of language to be used."
If only the former Senator would follow his own advice. Didn’t he reward "hateful, selfish, childish behavior" by hiring two harsh feminist, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian bloggers and then refusing to fire them? On the February 16 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer asked him about his staffers (unlike the evasive anchors Meredith Vieira at NBC, Terry Moran at ABC, and Bob Schieffer at CBS). Edwards passively said that he "rejected" their statements and he "strongly disagrees with them." He stated that their resignations were "a personal decision" and dismissed the criticism as coming "particularly from people on the far right of the political spectrum." The transcript from The Situation Room is below.
The double standard of Leftists who are ignoring the outrage of Bill Maher -- who alluded to his wish that Vice President Dick Cheney was assassinated – while at the same time are wildly fanning themselves in mock outrage as if they had the vapors over Ann Coulter -- for calling Democrat John Edwards a bad name -- was on full display in the MSM over the weekend.
If you are a conservative who stays up on the "happenings" in conservative news, you'd have by now heard that firebrand Columnist Ann Coulter called Democratic Candidate John Edwards a "faggot" at the CPAC convention the other day. You are also probably aware of all the lefty types wading into the waters of high dudgeon over her typically button-pushing remark and you'll have seen Democrats and their supporters coming out of the woodwork to claim astonishment at Coulter's comment, demanding that conservatives distance themselves from her.
The ABC News web site currently features a dramatic picture of a nuclear bomb blast (a cropped version of which appears at right) along with a story blurb that matches Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim that the U.S. is hypocritical to seek to prevent nations like Iran and North Korea from getting the bomb while we still preserve our nuclear arsenal.
The headline: "You Can't Build Nukes. But We Can" followed by this short story tease: "A decision has been made to update and redesign America's aging stockpile of nuclear weapons, even as the U.S. demands that Iran and North Korea not build up their own arsenals."
When you click on the actual AP report, written by Scott Lindlaw, readers see a much more neutral headline, "Bush Administration Picks Lawrence Livermore Warhead Design," and the story mainly focuses on the technical reasons for updating the country's nuclear technology. Deep in the story, however, Lindlaw cited critics who thought the U.S. was sending the "wrong signal" to the world's rogue regimes.
After some very controversial remarks on Wednesday’s edition of The View comedian and neoconservative Dennis Miller appeared on Thursday. After discussing John McCain’s announcement and the recent feud between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Miller joked about Nancy Pelosi’s rapidly blinking eyes, leading Barbara Walters to defend her as "terrific." Miller also debated Rosie O’Donnell on the finer points of the Patriot Act. The exchanges are below.
Joy Behar: "How about Nancy Pelosi, what do you think of her?"
Dennis Miller: "Well, listen. If they pick her as the VP, I’m not going to be able to watch State of the Unions. Because if she is back there like, with the blink- it looks like she was signaling the Carpathia that she hit an iceberg or something."
Washington Post reporter Lyndsey Layton reported Thursday that House Republicans will move for an unusual vote protesting the new committee assignment of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, the congressman still under investigation for the $90,000 in bribe money found in his home freezer. After removing Jefferson from the powerful Ways and Means Committee last year as the Democrats ran against a "culture of corruption," Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi now wants to place him on the Homeland Security Committee.
Layton's story highlights Jefferson's role as a "vocal critic of FEMA's performance" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as a rationale for his Homeland Security appointment. But the Post left out Jake Tapper's September 2005 scoop on Jefferson using the government to check on his personal property in the hurricane aftermath: "Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned."
Left wing inflammatory comments continue on The View. On the February 28th edition, co-host Joy Behar lashed out calling the American people "to really wake up and understand that they [the Bush administration] are liars and they are murderers."
Token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck tried to insert some common sense and stated that "some fringe liberals are taking this to a place to where we’re losing sight on the issue here." Behar, who just called the Bush administration, "liars" and "murderers" adamantly denied she’s a "fringe liberal" and said it’s "name calling."
The ladies discussed the Bob Woodruff special, To Iraq and Back, and shifted to the policy of not filming the arrival of coffins at Dover Air Force Base. The transcript is below.
It's a tried and true tactic of interest groups seeking to influence public opinion -- and legislative policy -- on a controversial issue. Find the most sympathetic individual case you can, and get the media to focus on that, rather than on the broaders merits of the matter. A prime example of the phenomenon was on display today at Good Morning America. Congressman Marty Meehan [D-MA] has introduced legislation that would repeal the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell policy, with the result that gays would be able to serve openly in the military. Hearings are scheduled to begin soon.
ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper narrated a segment on Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva [ret], described as the first member of the US military seriously injured in the Iraq invasion, losing a leg and part of a hand. In conjunction with the debate on the bill, Sergeant Alva publicly announced, apparently for the first time today, that he is gay.
Tapper interviewed Sergeant Alva at the offices of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. Later in the segment, we heard from Dixon Osburn of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, another gay rights group that focuses specifically on gays in the military. It seems likely that one or both of these groups have identified Alva as a spokesman, then took his story to ABC, which ran with it.
As noted in NewsBusters on Monday, NBC’s "Today" show breathlessly reported the claims, articulated by filmmaker James Cameron in a new Discovery Channel documentary, that the tomb of Jesus, with Christ buried inside, has been located. Co-anchor Matt Lauer hyped the network’s exclusive interview with Cameron by credulously repeating the documentary’s assertions and stating the film could "rock Christianity to its core."
In contrast, the other networks provided a more skeptical interpretation. On the February 26 edition of ABC’s "Nightline," anchor Terry Moran repeatedly noted that many archaeologists are skeptical of the claims that the tomb of Jesus and a reported family have been found. On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," reporter Dan Harris prefaced a segment on the subject by observing, "If the claims in this new documentary are true, and many people doubt that they are, they would challenge some of Christianity's central articles of faith..." Over on CBS, "Early Show" anchor Hannah Storm peppered the film’s director, Simcha Jacobovici, with a number of tough questions:
Hannah Storm: "Simcha, are you attacking the basic tenets of Christianity that Jesus indeed rose from the dead?"
Hannah Storm: "What about people who say this is nothing more than a publicity stunt, Simcha?"
ABC Nightline co-host Terry Moran helped expose the anti-Christian prejudice of John Edwards’ official campaign bloggers (who’ve since quit the campaign), asking three weeks ago on his ABCNews.com blog whether Edwards condoned “hate speech” by refusing to fire the pair. But Moran himself failed to mention the controversy in a two-segment profile of Edwards on Monday’s Nightline.
Back on February 6, Moran listed some examples of the hostile anti-Christian views espoused by Edwards’ campaign blogger Amanda Marcotte on her own personal site and suggested the issue reflected poorly on Edwards himself:
Questions: What, if anything, does it tell us about Edwards that he's joined up with this blogger? Is Edwards' association with a person who has written these things a legitimate issue for voters, as they wonder--among other things--whom he might appoint to high office if he's elected?
On the February 23rd edition of The View, co-host Joy Behar continued to call for more politics in the Oscars. This time, Behar cited Michael Moore’s Oscar winning speech in 2003 when he shouted out "shame on you" to President Bush. Behar then implied Moore was vindicated for his speech and the hostile response. "He was right and they booed him," Behar exclaimed.
Token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck predictably disagreed, but even guest co-host Sherri Shephard felt uncomfortable with political speeches stating, "I don’t want to hear that at the Oscars. I want them to accept the award." Behar felt that would be "boring." The exchange is below.
There’s little secret about the media desire to see Al Gore win an Oscar Sunday. Over at ABC, they’ve given up any pretense of neutrality. Just two days before the awards, reporter Jonathan Karl quizzed Vice President Dick Cheney about the film.
In an “exclusive interview” that will likely be broadcast during regular newscasts, Karl asked Cheney about global warming, by beginning with Gore. “Did you get a chance to see Al Gore's movie?” asked Karl.
That was just part of Karl’s timely interview. According to the ABC.com piece on it, Cheney’s view that there is a debate about whether mankind causes warming or not is “a position that puts the administration at odds with the vast majority of climate scientists.”
Are the "Clinton haters" mellowing? That’s the not-so-benign question NBC reporter David Gregory asked on the subject of whether conservative ire for Hillary Clinton has lessened. (Can you imagine a segment on "Bush haters?")
Fellow NBC alum Chris Matthews, perhaps offering an explanation for the media’s fawning over Barack Obama, explained that the Illinois Senator appeals to the "young at heart."
This week, CNN provided yet another example as to why "fair and balanced" wouldn’t be a good promotional phrase for them. Correspondent Bill Schneider asserted that African Americans don’t vote for the GOP because of a "perception of racism."
It's interesting how some network TV reporter blogs show more interest in examining liberals than the network news product does. In his Media Reality Check yesterday, Rich Noyes reported that the networks have yet to touch the controversy over the anti-religious bloggers John Edwards hired for his presidential campaign website, and yet ABC Nightline anchor Terry Moran really got the ball rolling in the blogosphere on the story when he asked if a Republican would be ignored with smash-mouth bloggers like that.
Moran's blog now features a post on the liberalism of Hollywood. Moran says what Jake Tapper didn't quite say in his report on the political importance of Tinseltown...as a Democratic power center: "Hollywood money is a crucial factor for any Democrat who seriously wants to be president. You simply cannot get the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party--and you cannot win the White House as a Democrat--without the money-raising muscle of Hollywood." Do the top producers snip lines like this, lines of simple common sense?
You know, with all the focus on Barack Obama, you really can’t blame a liberal for making this mistake. However, it doesn’t make it any less funny when it happens.
On Thursday’s “The View,” the ladies were having a discussion about Britney Spears, and where she could go to escape all the paparazzi and attention. Co-host Joy Behar proudly exclaimed: “She needs to go wherever Obama bin Laden is hiding, because we can’t find him!” (video available here courtesy of our friend Ms Underestimated).
"Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion continued his promotion of left-wing environmental causes on Thursday. Champion, who has previously hosted a segment on whether "billions" will die from global warming, reported from Los Angeles to preview the upcoming Oscars.
He also highlighted a party being held by the climate change organization Global Green USA a group founded by the former Russian General Secretary, and noted Communist, Mikhail Gorbachev. And this isn’t the first time Champion has touted Global Green:
Sam Champion: "We are, again, inside the Academy headquarters, right where it all happens in Hollywood. And we wanted to tell you that it’s not just gold and red, the colors of Oscar this week, but there's another big color, and that's green. It’s eco-friendly green, environmental friendly green that's highlighted this week. Some celebrities are driving eco-friendly cars to the Oscars instead of limos, and by the way, there’s also a green carpet at the environmental group Global Green’s party last night. A lot of celebrities were there, and so were we."
Penelope Cruz: "It's something that where everyone can contribute."
Champion: "Oscar nominee Penelope Cruz is just one of the stars trading in the Oscar gold for a little green, to highlight one of Hollywood's hottest issues, global warming."
Celebrity #1 (not identified): "If there's no nature, there's no us."
If you make more money than I do is that anyone’s problem?
The news media made a big deal out of “income inequality” especially “out of control” CEO pay as NBC’s Carl Quintanilla called it on Oct. 20, 2006 during the “Today” show. Robin Roberts took aim at the same topic: “Now to the golden parachute that has a lot of people seeing red,” during “Good Morning America” on January 4.
But the reports on the income gap missed two alternative perspectives from economists: that the widening income gap is an illusion and that in either case the gap really doesn’t matter. Read the full Business & Media Institute report here.