On April 15, 2013, one year ago, two Muslim extremists planted bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 264 others. This tragic event was sadly exploited by some in the media who quickly speculated that "extreme right" and "anti-government" individuals could be responsible for the mayhem.[See below for a round-up, including video, of the worst examples of journalistic malpractice.]
The morning after the attack, Good Morning America's Pierre Thomas narrated a segment with an on-screen graphic wondering, "Could this be homegrown terror?" Thomas noted that April 15th was only four days before the anniversaries of the bloody end of the Branch Davidian standoff and the Oklahoma City bombing. Regarding the date the attack occurred, GMA guest Mark Potok linked, "The real Patriots Day is April 19th. That is the date that counts for people on the extreme right in the United States." [MP3 audio here.]
At this point it might take a dead body to get the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks to give the IRS-Tea Party scandal any sort of real coverage. Huge developments in the last week – like IRS official Lois Lerner receiving a criminal referral from the House Ways and Means Committee and e-mails proving she fed tax information on a targeted group to the staff of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) – were completely censored by ABC and NBC news. Only a 90 second report on Thursday’s CBS This Morning kept last week’s revelations from being totally blacked out on the Big Three networks.
In the last seven days the following IRS scandal developments have emerged:
View co-host Jenny McCarthy is now attempting to backtrack on her anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. The former Playboy model has repeatedly promoted the danger of vaccines and asserted, despite a total lack of evidence, that they can cause autism. In an op-ed for the Chicago Sun Times on Sunday, she proclaimed, "I am not 'anti-vaccine.' This is not a change in my stance nor is it a new position that I have recently adopted."
However, in 2009, she claimed of her own son's condition: "Without a doubt in my mind, I believe that vaccinations triggered Evan's autism." She is also on record as saying, "So, you ask any mother in the autism community if we'll take the flu, the measles over autism any frickin' day of the week -- So, I think they [pro-vaccine doctors] need to wake up and stop hurting our kids." As noted by the National Geographicin 2013, "In April, researchers published a study that looked at nearly 1,000 children and concluded that exposure to vaccines during the first two years of life was not associated with an increased risk of developing autism."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts on Monday all omitted the arrest of a Utah woman, after the bodies of seven newborn babies were discovered in her house on Saturday. The Big Three morning shows did understandably devote a significant amount of air time to a white supremacist's shooting rampage at two Jewish community centers near Kansas City.
However, the networks also set aside over two minutes each to a bear mauling in central Florida, and CBS This Morning and NBC's Today also covered the so-called "blood moon" lunar eclipse. CBS's lack of coverage of the murders in Utah is even more puzzling, given how CBS Morning News aired a news brief to the story: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On the heels of The Washington Post Magazine’s glowing profile of U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, ABC’s Terry Moran gushed over the Democrat during her recent visit to Rwanda to pay respects to the genocide that happened there 20 years ago.
The segment aired during This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday April 13 and Stephanopoulos began the segment by beaming how “As a journalist, Samantha Power uncovered how America and the U.N. failed in Rwanda. Now, as America's U.N. Ambassador she was in Africa this week to make sure that doesn't happen again. ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran traveled with her.” [See video below.]
The journalists at NBC's Today on Friday rhapsodized over a liberal economic policy coming out of France. Regarding new rules that would bar some employers from e-mailing workers after hours, co-host Matt Lauer enthused, "[The French] get some things very right over there!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie praised, "Vive la France!" Al Roker deemed the concept "fantastic." At no time did any of the hosts ponder whether this kind of problem could best be decided between businesses and their employees. Nor did they note the disastrous election results the country's socialistic government just endured. Instead, the on-screen graphic declared "Freedom in France."
On Monday, all three network morning shows found time to worry about IRS budget cuts meaning fewer audits and longer wait times for taxpayer assistance, but not one mentioned the ongoing scandal embroiling the agency, including Congress issuing a criminal referral for former IRS official Lois Lerner. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news anchor Amy Robach warned: "More tax evaders could slip through the cracks this year....we are learning the IRS will have the fewest agents auditing returns since the 1980s due to budget cuts and new IRS responsibilities." On Friday, ABC's World News covered the same story – while ignoring the House Ways and Means Committee calling for Lerner's prosecution.
Over the last seven days, three major revelations have emerged surrounding the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups. Despite the new stories, on Sunday April 13, three of the four Sunday shows, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week, all ignored them, whereas Fox News Sunday was the only program to mention the IRS at all.
On Wednesday April 9, The Washington Times revealed that a Dallas IRS office was covered with Vote for Obama stickers and engaging in campaign cheerleading. On the same day, The Hill broke a story revealing that Lois Lerner fed tax information to Elijah Cummings (D-MD) who sits on the committee in charge of overseeing the IRS investigation. And finally, the House Ways and Means Committee voted last week to refer Lois Lerner for criminal charges, yet the big three didn’t mention any of these stories on Sunday.
On Friday's World News, ABC's David Kerley pressed I.R.S. Commissioner John Koskinen about taxpayers who are unable to "get an answer as to how much they're supposed to pay," due to long wait times on the agency' help line. However, Kerley didn't bother to ask Koskinen about the House Ways and Means Committee's Wednesday vote to refer former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution, over alleged targeting of Tea Party groups for auditing.
In fact, as of Friday, none of the Big Three evening newscasts have covered the House committee's criminal referral, nor the House Oversight Committee voting on Thursday to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. Instead, the ABC correspondent zeroed in on taxpayers' complaints about the IRS help line, as well as the commissioner's YouTube video warning about how to deal with the poor service there: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC News Vice President Jeffrey Schneider has apologized for a story on his network that connected a CEO who supports traditional marriage to the Westboro Baptist Church and their offensive "God hates fags" signs. Mr. Schneider contacted the Media Research Center on Thursday after our social media department requested members call and complain about the comparison.
Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was ousted earlier this month when it was revealed that he donated $1000 in 2008 to Proposition 8. As Good Morning America reporter Linzie Janis explained the story on April 4, footage of the completely unrelated Westboro protesters holding "soldiers died 4 fag marriage" signs appeared onscreen. ABCNews.com offered this apology:
On Friday, all three network morning shows fretted over a woman throwing a shoe at Hillary Clinton during a speaking event in Las Vegas. NBC Today co-host Tamron Hall was particularly melodramatic: "I mean, but how scary is that?...Had it hit her, that would have been awful. It would have been awful." Weatherman Al Roker added: "Jeez, that's frightening." Hall declared: "It's hard for me to watch, actually." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The shoe was on the other foot in 2008, when an Iraqi journalist threw two shoes at then-President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference. At that time, ABC and CBS referred to the shoe-thrower as a "celebrity" and "folk hero" who "thrilled the Arab world." In 2009, then-MSNBC host David Shuster actually cheered the release of the footwear assailant from prison. Tamron Hall happened to be on the show at the time and observed that people would have been "more outraged" if someone threw a shoe at President Obama.
All three network morning shows on Friday highlighted the departure of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Good Morning America's Jon Karl insisted that the exit was a "chance for her to leave on a relatively high note." CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford claimed that "Sebelius made clear the decision to leave was hers." Over on NBC's Today, Chuck Todd dished dirt, explaining, "In addition to the management issues, the White House also lost confidence in her ability to sell the product publicly."
He gossiped, "Senior aides were not happy with how she struggled in what should have been a friendly interview with Jon Stewart." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] However, if Sebelius struggled, Today viewers didn't know about it for weeks after the October 7th Daily Showappearance. It wasn't until October 31, 2013 that the botched interview was mentioned on Today. Back then, Todd briefly conceded, "When she went in front of Jon Stewart at the Daily Show, that became a big problem. It became another PR problem." Despite this "PR problem," Today viewers didn't see an actual clip until Friday.
On Thursday evening, both ABC and CBS relayed news that a manuscript claiming Jesus had a wife was found to be an "ancient" document and "not a modern forgery." They ignored skeptics of the document, however.
"We have the results of scientific testing on a controversial scrap of papyrus that some call the 'gospel of Jesus' wife'," touted CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley. He added that "scholars say that doesn't prove that Jesus had a wife but that early Christians debated whether he did."
The big issue for Obamacare has long been how many people would enroll. When the deadline finally hit, broadcast news networks parroted the administration’s claims and raised few concerns about heavily spun results.
Breaking from a long silence over Obamacare, ABC, CBS and NBC declared “victory” for the now “unrepealable” Affordable Care Act but ignored problems with enrollment numbers 90 percent of the time. In fact, a Rand Corporation survey found that 1.4 million previously uninsured people gained insurance and that didn’t even factor in who had actually paid for their plans.
On Wednesday April 9, the House Oversight Committee voted to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former IRS official Lois Lerner. Despite the severity of this most recent revelations into the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party organizations, ABC and NBC continue to ignore the story.
After all three networks failed to cover the story on their nightly news broadcasts on Wednesday, only CBS This Morning bothered to mention the revelations on Thursday April 10. Co-host Norah O’Donnell described the events as such: “The House Oversight Committee today is expected to hold a retired IRS official in contempt of Congress. Republicans say Lois Lerner led an effort to investigate Tea Party organizations. She's refused to testify at two committee hearings claiming her Fifth Amendment rights.” [See video below.]
In a major new development in the IRS scandal, House Republicans voted on Wednesday to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former IRS chief Lois Lerner. FNC's Special Report with Bret Baier devoted a full story to the vote by the committee chaired by Congressman Dave Camp, but none of the three broadcast network evening newscasts covered the vote.
The letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder stated that "findings" from the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Republican Camp, "suggest that Lerner may have violated multiple criminal statutes." The letter went on to add that "the Committee asks that you pursue this evidence." The three networks ignored this letter, however, although CBS and ABC talked about Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations.
View co-host Barbara Walters, who admitted in 2009 that she had an affair with a married politician, weighed in on the scandal engulfing Republican Congressman Vance McAllister, caught on tape kissing a staffer. Co-host and former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy joked about the surveillance footage: "You're in a government building. That's what a Motel 6 is for."
This caused Walters to lecture on privacy: "Even when you're on the street, when you think, 'I can do whatever I want,' there are cameras everywhere now...It's a different world." In the 1970s, Walters had an affair with Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts.
For the second day in a row, Good Morning America on Wednesday devoted a full report to investigating Vance McAllister, the married "Louisiana Republican" who was caught on camera kissing a staffer. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] On Tuesday, the show's reporters made sure to remind viewers that the Congressman involved in the alleged affair is a "conservative" and "Republican." Yet, Democratic controversies have largely been ignored or downplayed by the network.
Despite the news that a House committee plans to ask the Justice Department to charge former top IRS official Lois Lerner, ABC skipped the development and hasn't mentioned the scandal-plagued bureaucrat since March 5, 2014. (That occasion was only to highlight Democrat Elijah Cummings complaining about the unfairness of the hearings. Excluding this incident, Lerner's name was last uttered on May 24, 2013.)
On Tuesday evening, the networks all dutifully touted President Obama's call for equal pay for women in the workplace. NBC and CBS ignored Obama's hypocrisy – the pay gap that exists among his own White House staff.
ABC's Diane Sawyer put a dramatic spin on the news, saying Obama called for "action" on the "explosive issue of equal pay for equal work." The World News did note the GOP response that women in the White House earn 88 percent of the men's salaries, but relegated that important fact to the very end of the report. Neither NBC nor CBS reported it.
Good Morning America reporters on Tuesday reminded viewers that a Congressman who has been caught in an alleged affair with a staffer is a "conservative Republican." GMA, which is co-hosted by former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos, also included a network graphic that hyped: "Conservative Asks for Forgiveness." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC routinely downplays the political ID for Democrats involved in scandals, but correspondent Jeff Zeleny informed viewers about Vance McAllister of Louisiana, noting, "Just one month earlier, the conservative Republican was sworn into office, surrounded by his wife and five children."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, White House correspondent Major Garrett completely dismantled President Obama's left-wing talking points on the supposed gender pay gap of women making 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, reporting: "The White House is getting...roughed up by hits own pay equity rhetoric." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Garrett used the administration's hypocrisy on the issue to fact check the false claims: "An analysis of White House salaries, which nobody here disputes, shows that the median income of female staffers is 88% of that of male staffers....Now, the White House said it's gender pay gap is tied to job experience, education, and hours worked, among other factors. This matters because those explanations, according to the Labor Department, explain a good deal of the gender pay gap nationally."
According to the New York Post, Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos is unhappy with his show's tabloid obsession. Stephanie Smith of Page Six on Monday wrote that Stephanopoulos "is concerned about the softer direction of 'GMA' — and the addition of yet more entertainment personalities."
Smith added, "insiders told us Stephanopoulos has already made clear that he wants to do more serious news programming and take over for Diane Sawyer on 'World News' when she eventually steps down." If the former Democratic operative turned journalist is frustrated with the changes at GMA, he's been more than willing to go along with the increasingly superficial tone of the program. On Monday, he got on stage to dance along with singer Pharrell.
Twice in just 24 hours, Good Morning America on ABC hailed a graham cracker company for supporting gay rights in an ad and standing up against "hate" and "bigots" who called for a boycott. Yet, it was just last week that the same program touted the "game changing" firing of a tech company CEO who supported traditional marriage. The network even used video footage to compare the executive to the hateful Westboro Baptist Church.
On Monday, Paula Faris showcased a Honey Maid commercial featuring gay families. Reporter Paula Faris explained that "the right-wing conservative group One Million Moms calling the ad, quote, 'an attempt to normalize sin." She praised, "but this morning, the graham cracker company is refusing to crumble." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] According to Faris, the company is "rolling messages of hate into one of love." GMA Sunday anchor Bianna Golodryga lectured that "the graham cracker's clever statement against bigotry going viral."
On Monday morning, NBC, ABC, and CBS all found an excuse to cover Obama's selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz one more time, expressing their collective fear that the White House may ban selfies with the commander-in-chief. On NBC's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted: "Has David Ortiz ruined the presidential selfie for the rest of us?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After the networks initially promoted the photo-op as a "good day in Washington" last week, they were chagrined when word came that Ortiz may have staged the supposedly spontaneous moment in order to promote cell phone maker Samsung, with whom he had an endorsement deal.
ABC’s Jonathan Karl did his best to get Bill Kristol to admit ObamaCare is working on ABC’s “This Week” but the “Weekly Standard” editor refused to give into the fill-in host’s demands. Karl attempted to persuade Kristol to “Give the president a little credit here right? 7.1 million sign-ups after that disastrous start. They hit their number; they went past their number.”
Appearing on Sunday April 6, Kristol shot down Karl’s assertion and argued, “It’s like saying you’ve got to give the Soviet Union a lot of credit. 200 million people bought bread in their grocery stores. If it’s the only place you can buy health insurance, they’re going to get people to buy health insurance there.” [See video below.]
As of April 3, 2014, it's been 140 days since the once-vaunted Nightline covered ObamaCare or any of the problems associated with it. Instead, the ABC News program has mostly avoided hard news, focusing on tabloid-heavy topics such as a city in Brazil that has become known as the "model factory." [See below for a video montage of the frivolous topics covered instead. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday, the open enrollment for ObamaCare ended, the website had more problems and the administration announced seven million sign-ups. Rather then discuss this or question how many of those previously had health care and lost it, Nightline skipped these stories. It was way back on November 14, 2013 that journalists on the show covered ObamaCare. Twenty weeks of silence followed.
On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that NBC, ABC, and CBS turned down a White House request for primetime coverage of a presidential address on Tuesday to spike the football on ObamaCare reaching the seven million enrollment mark. Instead, the President was forced to settle for an afternoon pep rally in the Rose Garden which only ABC and NBC covered live.
These were the same networks that fretted over Republicans not agreeing to let Obama give a primetime campaign speech to Congress at the same time as a Republican presidential primary debate in 2011.
[UPDATE: After the MRC's story on this, ABC News has apologized and pledged not to use the footage again.] According to Good Morning America's Linzie Janis, a CEO who made a donation in opposition to gay marriage is the same as the hateful members of the Westboro Baptist Church. On Friday, Janis reported on Brendan Eich, the former head of the tech company Mozilla. Eich was ousted after liberal groups found out that in 2008 he made a $1000 donation to support Proposition 8 in California.
As Janis spoke about the six-year-old donation, video footage of Westboro Baptist protesters with "God hates fags" and "soldiers die 4 fag marriage" signs appeared on-screen. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
A day late to the game, ABC joined the outrage on Thursday over Wednesday's Supreme Court decision that struck down the limit on political donations.
Investigative correspondent Brian Ross decried the "fancy dinners and luxury yachts...where the super rich decide which politicians get their money, and therefore who has a chance to be elected." He interviewed Democrat consultant Bill Burton who admitted "It's absolutely about the money."
Despite a tragic shooting at Fort Hood, a major Supreme Court ruling and developments on Benghazi, all three morning shows on Thursday devoted time to Bill Clinton's discussion of aliens on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Yet, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning ignored a profoundly dumb question from the comic regarding Clinton running for vice president. [See video of the question below. MP3 audio here.]
Instead, GMA's Amy Robach enthused, "And finally, former President Bill Clinton isn't ruling out a possible alien invasion here on Earth. He visited Jimmy Kimmel last night and revealed that he did, in fact, look into the possibility when he was president." Talking to co-host and former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos, she wondered, "George, was it the common topic of conversation in the Clinton administration?"