Mark Twain once said, "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress."
Today's Hollywood TV executives would beg to differ. To them there's no distinctly native criminal class except American businessmen.
The Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute is out with our latest study, the first of a three-part series looking at the media's bias against businessmen.
Almost 10 years ago, the Media Research Center’s
Business & Media Institute published “Businessmen Behaving Badly,”
which found that businessmen on TV committed more crimes than any
other demographic. In this new study, BMI looked at 129 episodes
from 12 top-rated dramas on the four networks: ABC, CBS, FOX and
NBC. These broadcasts were picked from two “sweeps” months in 2005 –
May and November – when networks try to attract the largest
audiences to maximize ad dollars.
In this look at primetime, BMI found:
Negative toward Business: Negative plots about business and
businessmen outnumbered positive ones by almost 4-to-1. Of the 39
episodes that included business-related plots or characters, 30
(77 percent) cast businessmen and commerce in a negative light.
You know the media are overreaching when they start to portray teenagers hunkered over schoolbooks while downing iced lattes at a coffee shop as an alarming thing:
For my full story, click here. For a similar item on the biased coverage ABC brewed up just two days earlier, click here.
The kids aren’t alright. An epidemic is sweeping the nation as teenagers down the addictive brew by the pint. Underage alcohol consumption? No, coffee.
As anti-food industry advocacy groups like Center for Science in the Public Interest sharpen their legal knives against Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX), the media are brewing up alarmist reports on teenage caffeine consumption.
Predictably, following what I suggested yesterday, ABC's "World News Tonight" hailed the election of the new female Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA as a "milestone" and a "significant advance for women in religion." To the media elite, it is a political victory for feminism, and the religious angle is barely worth mentioning.
ABC reporter Dan Harris hailed Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori for denting the "stained glass ceiling," but said nothing about her theological beliefs, including her expressing the liberal view on CNN that homosexuality "is not a sin." The battle over gay clergy and "marriage," not female leaders, is the real battle in the Anglican Communion.
Two weeks certainly aren’t a large sampling, but since the much-heralded – and over-celebrated – departure of the perky Katie Couric, NBC’s “Today” show actually widened its average daily viewing margin over second-place rival ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
As reported by the Associated Press (hat tip to Drudge): “‘Today’ beat second-place ‘Good Morning America’ of ABC by an average of 1.3 million viewers in the two weeks following Couric's last show on May 31, according to Nielsen Media Research. The NBC show's margin of victory (5.85 million to 4.92 million) was tighter during Couric's last full week on the air.”
Yikes. And, generating advertising dollars without Couric hasn’t been a problem either: “NBC also says it has earned about $25 million more in ‘upfront’ advertising sales for ‘Today’ in the fall than it did last year at this time, when the morning show was facing a stiffer challenge from ABC.”
Double yikes. Finally, one of NBC’s top brass might have added a bit of a parting shot at Katie to drive the point home:
The three broadcast networks have focused growing attention on inflation recently – 42 stories since early May. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer declared on June 14 “Well, it is back, inflation, that is.” The following day, ABC’s Bill Ritter cautioned, “everything from mowing the lawn to joining a gym could cost you more money.”
Yet, when positive inflation news was announced just hours later by the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, ABC didn’t even bother reporting it on its evening news program. Meanwhile, the other two broadcast networks paid inflation relatively little notice compared to their other stories that night.
On June 15, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke told Chicago’s Economic Club that higher energy costs haven’t had a big impact on other prices, and there are even signs that such pressures may be waning. The stock market exploded on the announcement with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising by almost 200 points, or 1.83 percent – its best one day showing since April 2005.
Rather than welcome the news after focusing on the evils of inflation, the networks paid little attention. ABC’s “World News Tonight” didn’t even report Bernanke’s statement about inflation. This was particularly odd as “Good Morning America” just hours a few earlier did a rather lengthy segment on the issue.
Yesterday Lee Cowan, of CBS News, may have exaggerated the size of the protests in Baghdad by people loyal to cleric Muqtada al Sadr, in response to President Bush’s surprise visit. But today, he made up for it. Cowan, reporting from Baghdad for "The Early Show" on CBS, was the only reporter on the 3 major network morning shows to quote from al Qaeda documents found after the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
While "Good Morning America" on ABC and "Today" on NBC gave only cursory mention of the documents, "The Early Show" led the program with the story. Co-host Julie Chen noted the significance of the documents and what they could mean when she introduced Cowan’s piece:
ABC political reporter Liz Marlantes covered the coming House debate on Iraq for "Good Morning America" Thursday, but something seemed seriously missing: conservative Republicans who support the war. They seem to be the ones who have organized the resolution being debated, but they're not in ABC's story anywhere. Marlantes began:
Today the House of Representatives will debate a resolution that honors U.S. servicemen and women and declares the U.S. is committed to completing the mission in Iraq. Democrats are already calling it a political trap. Despite a positive turn of events in Iraq, the debate in Washington is all about an exit strategy.
Earlier this week, the Media Research Center released a new study documenting the fairly heavy coverage ABC, CBS and NBC have provided of yet-unproved claims that U.S. Marines engaged in a “massacre” in Haditha, Iraq last year. The study found those same networks have provided relatively paltry coverage of the select group of American heroes who’ve been given the military’s highest honors: the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, the Air Force and the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Today’s Washington Times (Jennifer Harper) has a nice summary of our study’s key findings, plus some reaction from the multi-national force in Iraq. Excerpts from her article, “‘Bad News’ Rife in military coverage”:
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Charles Gibson interviewed Rep. John Murtha, the perfect opportunity to press him hard on how Zarqawi might not have been defeated if our troops had gone "over the horizon," as CNN’s Carol Lin suggested the other day. But that didn’t happen. MRC's Brian Boyd reports Gibson calmly set him up to turn the entire good news around into more grist for getting out of Iraq ASAP. It began with Charlie playing up Murtha’s military credentials (oops, left out those controversial medals):
"We're going to turn now to Congressman John Murtha, who has been a very outspoken critic of the war in Iraq. A combat veteran; spent 37 years in the Marine Corps, himself; and he's joining us this morning from Johnstown, Pennsylvania."
Meredith Vieira departed ABC's The View (registration required) today and she certainly went out with, uh, a bang. At 11:36AM EDT, co-host Joy Behar toasted Vieira, who will join the Today show in September. She remarked, "I’m so upset....And I just don’t know how to express it, you know? I thought to myself, what would Rosie O’Donnell do?"
Then Behar took Vieira in her arms and the two engaged in a long kiss. In case you missed it, ABC replayed it in slow-motion a few seconds later as they went to commercial.
A silly moment on an unserious show? Perhaps. But opponents of gay rights probably shouldn’t expect the new host of the Today show to give their arguments much credence.
If Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and all of al Qaeda’s leaders in Iraq and throughout the world laid down their arms and surrendered to American forces, would the media report it as good news?
Judging from the initial press reaction to the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq by the American military on Wednesday, the answer appears to be no.
In fact, this tepid response to the death of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq – a man who has at times in the past couple of years been depicted as more vital to this terrorist network than the currently in-hiding bin Laden – suggests quite disturbingly that America’s media are fighting a different war than America’s soldiers.
According to NewsBusters, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs Octavia Nasr said the following about Zarqawi’s death on “American Morning” Thursday:
"Some people say it will enrage the insurgency, others say it will hurt it pretty bad. But if you think about the different groups in Iraq, you have to think that Zarqawi's death is not going to be a big deal for them."
However, CNN didn’t always feel that Zarqawi’s death or capture would be so inconsequential. Just days after Saddam Hussein was found in his spider hole, Paula Zahn brought CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher on to discuss a new threat in Iraq. Zahn began the December 15, 2003 segment:
In March, I blogged about how some journalists who live in Chevy Chase, Maryland, were taking legal action to force their neighbors, Marc and Marianne Duffy, to tear down their home for violating zoning laws.
Washington Post editor William Hamilton, his wife Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, and former ABC correspondent Jackie Judd had complained about the Duffy renovations, which were erroneously approved by county bureaucrats.
Well, the Duffy's plight is back in the news as they lost another fight in their struggle to save their home.
On June 7, an appeals board affirmed the order issued in March to the Duffys. Buried in Miranda Spivack's article in the June 8 Washington Post is a factoid that goes to show how petty the complaint by Hamilton, Mayer, and Judd was:
It's sad that within minutes of announcing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death, the network morning shows were already carrying criticism of the Bush administration. Not only did NBC invite Sen. Joe Biden to attack Bush incompetence (funny day for that!), ABC's Bill Weir reminded the audience that Zarqawi beheaded American Nicholas Berg, and then replayed Berg's left-wing dad saying at the time that he had no desire for his son's killers to be killed. Weir then reported that he spoke to Berg's father this morning, and he condemned the Zarqawi killing as part of an endless cycle of retribution.
UPDATE: MRC's Brian Boyd has the transcript, and it should be noted that Weir also found a more traditional victim's relative response:
As noted by Tim Graham and Mark Finkelstein, the Today show has already portrayed the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment as nothing more then pandering to conservatives. Liberals will be comforted to know that incoming Today host Meredith Vieira concurs. The View, which Ms. Vieira leaves at the end of the week, featured a same-sex marriage discussion during the June 5 edition of the ABC program. Vieira introduced the segment by snidely stating, "President Bush is getting involved in someone’s marriage other then his own." She then referenced a Newsweek piece that quoted an anonymous Bush ‘friend’ as saying, "...He really doesn't care about this. He's just pushing it because he want to pander to conservatives." At one point she derided President Bush’s motives, saying, "So then it is just pandering." Later on she added, "It’s a response to a base falling out, I think." As Mr. Graham pointed out, liberals like Nancy Pelosi support repealing the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" ban on gays serving in the military. This is also an attempt at mollifying a political base, but don’t expect Katie Couric’s replacement to mention it.
While NBC interviewed Joe Scarborough on the "gay marriage" front (and CBS stayed out of the fray), ABC followed up their Claire Shipman report on "Good Morning America" with an interview with very liberal San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Typically, co-host Charles Gibson asked about whether this issue is pandering and good politics for Republicans, but not whether it's been pandering or good politics for Democrats.
Gibson began: "We're going to turn next to Gavin Newsom. He's the Democratic mayor of San Francisco, and as you'll recall, a couple of years ago, he ordered city officials to marry gay couples, and he touched off this debate to some extent. And Mayor Newsom is joining us from our San Francisco bureau. It's good to have you back with us, Mr. Mayor...Your opinion on this? Do you think there's any chance, snowball's chance in you know where, that this will become part of the Constitution, or is this just politics?"
While NBC's David Gregory described the marriage-amendment battle as a move to placate conservatives on Monday morning, ABC's Claire Shipman's story on "Good Morning America" highlighted opposition to the amendment within the White House. MRC's Brian Boyd found the labeling imbalance was here, too:
Shipman: "He's wading into one of the nation's most divisive social issues again today...Restating his position in the hopes of driving his conservative base to the polls in November." Liberals were unlabeled: "Both pro- and anti-gay marriage forces have been pushing their agendas in state legislatures and courts. Thirteen states have passed bans on gay marriage. Only Massachusetts has made gay marriage legal. The public is divided. Half of Americans, 51 percent, oppose legalizing gay marriage.
New York Times columnist and best-selling foreign-policy author/guru Thomas Friedman appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday, mostly to address the administration's Iran initiative. But MRC's Brian Boyd also noticed Diane Sawyer turned to Friedman's harsh but very green Wednesday column beginning with the sentence: "Is there a company more dangerous to America's future than General Motors?"
Sawyer: "[B]oy, did you cause a stir yesterday with your column saying that it's time for Toyota to take over General Motors because General Motors has offered what to subsidize gas for people who in effect buy gas-guzzlers?"
The National Organization for Women doesn't seem to be the powerhouse it used to be. Paul Farhi reports in Monday's Washington Post that the old group is sending a letter (along with other feminist groups) protest the demotion of Elizabeth Vargas as anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight." Question: does it take a week to get a letter together?
Feminists protesting the demotion as pregnancy discrimination -- and not the ABC newscast's drop in the ratings picture -- is entirely predictable. But why so slow? It's also entirely predictable that the Post reporter only called the feminists "women's groups" as he rolled out their complaints:
"It seems unlikely to me, having survived and thrived through her first pregnancy, that she would logically give up the top job in TV a few months out, anticipating she couldn't handle it," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "It just doesn't strike me as a logical explanation. I don't think there are too many men who would be happy to be removed from the anchor chair."
Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz demonstrated on Friday how isolated ABC is on their embarrassing assertion that Speaker Dennis Hastert is "in the mix" of a federal corruption probe, called "potentially seismic" by former Clinton toady George Stephanopoulos:
Reporters for NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and other news organizations checked out ABC's report but were waved off by law enforcement officials. "Within 15 minutes, we had three or four basic denials saying in effect this was a complete overreach, and we chose not to run it," said John Reiss, executive producer of "NBC Nightly News."
Friday night, Kurtz appeared on Washington Post Radio (WTWP) in D.C. at about 6:15 with host Bob Kur, the former NBC reporter. When ABC's Brian Ross stressed that any Hastert investigation was in its "very beginning" stages and could amount to nothing, Kurtz said it "made me question why" ABC would make it the lead story. Kur replied: "Exactly."
As we wait for ABC to retract its strange Wednesday night leadoff story asserting Speaker Dennis Hastert was "included" in a federal bribery probe (and ex-Clinton flack George Stephanopoulos called it "potentially seismic"), it is quite obvious there is some serious liberal bias by placement here. The Hastert claims led "World News Tonight" on Wednesday. But what about Monday night, when ABC's Jake Tapper had the story on the FBI finding $90,000 in a Democratic congressman's freezer?
Monday night's broadcast didn't get to Congressman William Jefferson until 20 minutes into the show, with no promotion at the show's beginning. The program began with anchor Elizabeth Vargas promoting four other stories: identity theft against veterans, hurricane forecasts, the health of race horse Barbaro, and a segment on back pain.
As MRC’s Brent Baker pointed out Thursday, there appear to be some serious holes in a story reported by ABC’s Brian Ross on Wednesday’s “World News Tonight.” For those with short memory spans, Ross alleged that House Speaker Dennis Hastert is involved in a congressional bribery investigation. Though this has been fervently denied by the justice department, as well as Hastert's office which is demanding a retraction, ABC is standing by its report.
Well, radio host Laura Ingraham (hat tip to Expose the Left with audio link to follow) reported on Thursday that she received an e-mail message from somebody high up in ABC claiming that Ross’s report was “totally bogus” and “reporters in the press gallery were laughing out loud as the story aired on ABC last night.” Ingraham declared: “This is an example of an agenda driven story without fact-checking, and with shoddy sourcing.”
The e-mail message concluded (alluding to CBS’s embarrassing Memogate in 2004): “Maybe this will be Brian Ross’s Dan Rather moment.”
What follows is a partial transcript of this segment, along with an audio link, both courtesy of Expose the Left.
If you want a sense of the priorities of Meredith Vieira, the future host of the Today show, look no further then the distinction she makes between the lives of unborn children and those of rodents. On May 25, Vieira and her fellow co-hosts were discussing the terrible case of the climber who died on Mount Everest after being ignored by other mountaineers. Star Jones decried the actions as callous and inhumane. Vieira stopped the conversation cold with a complete subject shift. She compared the Everest case to her personal use of humane mouse traps. (It should be pointed out that nobody had been discussing mouse traps on the show. So this was perhaps a reference to a conversation on an earlier program or an off-air conversation.):
Vieira: "Then why did you give me a hard time for saving a mouse?"
Jones incredulously replied, "Saving a mouse?" Vieira immediately became defensive and retorted:
Vieira: "What’s the difference between that, really? It’s a life. You save a life if you see a life in danger."
Today's ABC News: The Note suggests viewers of this evening's televised joint news conference of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, "watch closely the nuance, the body language, the bonhomie, and the sheer homo-eroticism."
The next sentence is: "(We are sort of kidding about that last one, Mr. President.)"
Thank heaven they're only "sort of kidding about that last one." It would have been a terrific shock to their wives.
Still, it would have been more politically correct to have added that, if there were any homo-eroticism between the two leaders, there'd be nothing wrong with it.
On Wednesday night's "World News Tonight," ABC reporter Brian Ross claimed House Speaker Dennis Hastert was under investigation by the Justice Department in relation to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. In response, the Justice Department quickly put out a statement saying Hastert was not under investigation. This morning, MRC's Brian Boyd found ABC's "Good Morning America" wasn't backing down an inch, as Brian Ross reported:
"Despite flat and repeated denials from the Department of Justice, federal law enforcement officials insist to ABC News the FBI investigation of Capitol Hill corruption has widened to include potentially Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Officials describe the 64 year old Illinois Republican as very much in the mix of the corruption investigation, something the Speaker told ABC News he was unaware of."
The women of The View are angry with the Dixie Chicks. Because of the group’s exploitative liberal politics? Because of their hollow claims of being censored? No. Apparently, it’s because the Dixie Chicks don’t think the ABC talk show is very hip. According to a Fox News report, band member Emily Robison said the following in the current issue of Time magazine:
"Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines' new motto is, 'What would Bruce Springsteen do?' says Robison. ‘Not that we're of that caliber, but would Bruce Springsteen do The View?’"
Unsurprisingly, this angered the stars of the show in question. On the May 23 edition, co-host and future anchor of the Today show, Meredith Vieira described the situation this way:
Vieira: "First, you know, they alienate their fan base by going after President Bush. Now they have gone too far in Time magazine. We are furious! Furious!"
In 2004, the networks showed hostility to a more orthodox vision of Jesus in the movie The Passion of the Christ. So MRC analysts compared coverage of the year before The Passion (March 2003 through February 2004) and the year before The DaVinci Code movie (May 19, 2005 through May 18, 2006) on the morning, evening, prime-time and late-night news programs of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Some key findings were:
Former Democratic vice presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen has died. The ex-Senator from Texas was Secretary of the Treasury (under Bill Clinton), a World War II veteran and, in 1988, the running mate to Michael Dukakis. But take a look at what ABC chose to include in their two-line "Breaking News" headline announcing his death on ABCNews.com (as of today at 11:42AM EDT):
"Former U.S. Senator, Vice Presidential Candidate Lloyd Bentsen–Famous For Telling Dan Quayle ‘You’re No Jack Kennedy’–Has Died"
I guess no matter what you accomplish, if you zing a conservative or a Republican, that’s what the media will always remember. Also, in July of 1992, NBC’s Tom Brokaw noted that Bentsen’s famous verbal body slam may not have been, in the strictest sense, accurate:
"It was Lloyd Bentsen who said to Dan Quayle `I knew John Kennedy, and you're no John Kennedy.' It was one of the electrifying moments of the campaign. At the Kennedy Library, just outside Boston, they went through all the files. They couldn't see much evidence Lloyd Bentsen knew John Kennedy very well. But it certainly was an effective campaign ploy for him." -- Tom Brokaw in convention coverage, July 16, 1992.
AR15.com notices that ABC News used a former Salon.com writer and former employee of Handgun Control Inc. to cover the National Rifle Association
You may have noticed the byline on ABC News recent story covering the NRAs pledge to ask mayors and police chiefs to sign a petition stating they will uphold their legal duties not to confiscate weapons from law-abiding citizens during time of crisis a la Katrina.
New NRA Campaign Asks Lawmakers to Pledge Not to Confiscate Guns in Times of Crisis
Ad Campaign Begins Tomorrow, NRA Reacts to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita
By JAKE TAPPER and AVERY MILLER
Hmmmm, you mean the Jake Tapper who used to write for Salon.com? I wonder what happens if we google his name and the words "NRA"...
In recent months, ABC reporter Bill Blakemore has been a passionate proponent for getting all that harmful objectivity and balance out of reporting on the impending disaster of global warming. (See here, or here, or here.) So it shouldn't be surprising -- it should flow naturally, like a melting glacier -- that Blakemore is using ABC's World Newser blog to plug Al Gore's new documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." The filmmakers could use Blakemore's review here as a promotional blurb. He calls it "96 minutes well spent," says "Regardless of your politics, it's riveting and informative," not to mention "remarkably clear, concise, and informative."