Soon after the House voted to create a special select committe to investigate the Benghazi attacks, ABC ignored the story on Thursday evening. NBC spent just 27 seconds on the development, and CBS focused its report on Democratic disgust with the "partisan" move.
ABC's World News instead spent over two minutes reporting on former teen star Jason Patric's custody battle and another two minutes on how online stores vary their prices for different customers. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Not even a full vote by the House of Representatives to hold Lois Lerner in contempt can shake the networks out of their slumber in covering the IRS scandal. On Wednesday the House voted 231-178 (all Republicans voted yes with six Democrats) to hold Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. Total coverage by ABC, CBS and NBC? Just a 15-second brief on Thursday’s edition of ABC’s Good Morning America.
However the Big Three networks did find the 110x more time this week to tout the “dire” and “alarming” findings from the White House climate change report.
ABC on Thursday morning highlighted more of Robin Roberts’ fawning interview with Hillary Clinton. On the issue of Benghazi and the revelation that the White House had a direct hand in creating false talking points about the 2012 terrorist attack, Roberts could only manage this lame effort: “Benghazi. The new investigation. Are you satisfied with the answers and are you content with what you know what [sic] happened?” [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
That was it. No follow-up. No interrogation about Clinton’s handling of the incident that left four Americans dead, including a U.S. ambassador. Instead, Roberts moved right on to this 2016 gossip: “And the question I took straight from the audience, were you to run for president in 2016, would you consider Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren or San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as a running mate?” Continuing the softball questions, the Good Morning America host wondered, “You're going to be a grandma?”
In an interview that aired on Wednesday's World News, ABC's Robin Roberts flattered Hillary Clinton as she cited Clinton's popularity to ask if she was considering a presidential run.
"When I look at your Twitter page, you – the last thing you list is saying you're a glass ceiling cracker. And no one feels it would be better to crack that glass ceiling than to have a woman as president, and many believe that should be you," Roberts told Clinton. She did mention the House GOP launching a special investigation into the Benghazi attacks that happened while Clinton was secretary of state, but she allowed Clinton to distance herself from any more criticism. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
After enthusiastically promoting an upcoming White House climate change report on Tuesday, all three network morning shows on Wednesday happily touted interviews with President Obama on the subject and continued to hype the "dire" and "alarming" findings. Meanwhile, critics were dismissed as an anti-science minority. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "Millions coping with the first record-breaking heat wave of the season, while the White House issues a dire warning about the nation's climate change." In the report that followed, weatherman Al Roker dutifully parroted White House talking points: "This report has taken years to complete with input from hundreds of scientists and technical experts. The President saying the report's conclusion is clear: If we want to stop climate change, the time to act is now."
After a big promotional push by ABC and NBC, Democratic House candidate Clay Aiken leads his primary opponent by 372 votes out of 28,000 cast on Tuesday. According to Good Morning America on Wednesday, the "American Idol congressional candidate" may pull out a razor thin victory. Co-host Lara Spencer enthused, "Clay Aiken in the public eye for almost a decade, making headlines for his songs, his personal life and now a run at the United States Congress." [MP3 audio here.]
Spencer stated the obvious, noting, "He was considered by many the underdog. [Primary opponent Keith] Crisco outspent him by nearly a half million dollars." However, the liberal candidate has had a lot of help from journalists. On February 6, Mara Schiavocampo enthused, "Well, simply put, he is a long shot but that hasn't stopped Aiken from throwing his hat in the ring."
Summary: After a partisan report last June absurdly suggested that progressive groups were just as likely to be scrutinized as conservative ones, ABC, CBS and NBC essentially abandoned their coverage of the IRS targeting scandal which broke one year ago this week. After producing 136 stories on their morning and evening news show during the first seven weeks of the scandal, broadcast news coverage dried up, with just 14 more reports over the next 10 months, as the Big Three ignored numerous damning developments in the case.
In March 2006, CBS News announced that President George W. Bush had stumbled into a “record low” approval rating of 34 percent. All the other networks jumped on the poll. CNN was reporting the number every hour on the hour. The survey confirmed their suspicions. The wheels on the Bush presidency had come off.
Last week, ABC and The Washington Post found Barack Obama is "facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency,” with an approval rating of 41 percent, and 52 percent disapproving. It's another administration on political life support. ABC offered its own survey a mere 18 seconds of attention from “Good Morning America” on April 29, and nothing on its own news that night. The others said nothing.
The broadcast networks all took a climate change study released by the White House and ran with it on Tuesday evening, advancing the administration's narrative by hyping the threats of climate change while barely quoting any critics.
ABC's coverage was so soft that correspondent Ginger Zee bragged like a groupie that President Obama asked a question of her: "And then something interesting happened, Diane. The President actually asked me a question. He wanted to know which storm was the worst that I had ever covered." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In another example of censoring a Barack Obama scandal, NBC has ignored the brewing controversy impacting American veterans and a shocking lack of access to hospital care. Though the news of up to 40 patients dying in Arizona has been going on for months, ABC finally covered the story on Tuesday's Good Morning America, offering a scant 29 seconds. Reporter Amy Robach informed that the President is "standing by his Secretary of Veterans Affairs," despite a call by the American Legion on Monday for his ouster. CBS This Morning gave it 18 seconds.
Robach explained that the nation's largest veterans group has accused "Secretary Eric Shinseki and his top aides of, quote, 'poor oversight and failed leadership,' after reports that as many as 40 patients in Phoenix may have died because of delays in care and allegations that hospitals have tried to cover up other delays." Despite the controversy, this was the first time Shinseki's name has been uttered on ABC since his nomination on December 6, 2008. Fox News and CNN have both covered the scandal, but NBC has avoided it. [See video of CNN's coverage below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday, the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows all seized on a new climate change report being released by the White House ahead of a slate of interviews with President Obama conducted by network meteorologists. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, weatherman Al Roker stood in front of the White House holding up a draft copy of the report and proclaimed: "This is why we're here. This document, the National Climate Assessment Report, it comes out later this morning, and once it does, there are going to be administration officials, scientists around, we'll be talking with them. And then this afternoon we interview the President of the United States about this report."
On Monday, the three network morning shows provided 12 minutes 24 seconds to Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner but only CBS This Morning reported House Speaker John Boehner on Friday announcing a new investigation into Benghazi – a news brief that totaled a mere 47 seconds. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose noted: "Both parties on Capitol Hill are sniping over new a investigation of the deadly Benghazi attack." After a soundbite of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham discussing the scandal on Sunday's Face the Nation, Rose added: "House Speaker John Boehner is calling for a new investigation based on a White House memo released last week. Republicans say the document proves the Obama administration tried to spin the attacks for political gain." NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story on Monday.
During a discussion about the merits of the death penalty on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, conservative commentator Laura Ingraham had some strong words about the “culture of death” in America surrounding abortion in this country.
Agreeing with PBS’ Cokie Roberts, Ingraham remarked “But my heart is with the victims of abortion and of the death penalty. Because Cokie is right. A culture of life must be respected, but across the board.” [See video below.]
ABC’s This Week hosted Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) For his first Sunday show interview and used the opportunity to promote his 2014 reelection for Senate yet provided no critics for his reelection bid.
Being interviewed by ABC’s Jeff Zeleny, Franken was hyped as having “the most famous laugh in politics. But these days, Al Franken is delivering a different kind of punch line.” [See video below.]
On Friday, CBS Evening News caught up with its Big Three competitors and reported on the latest developments on the controversy surrounding the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya. CBS also finally mentioned its own president's family connection to a White House official involved in the Obama administration's handling of the immediate aftermath of the attack.
Nancy Cordes gave a full report on how the "the White House released previously unseen e-mails" about the federal government's response to the terrorist strike, which led to House Speaker John Boehner forming a new select committee to investigate the attack. Scott Pelley also disclosed that "Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor mentioned in Nancy's story, is the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
House Republicans determined that just two-thirds of ObamaCare enrollees paid their first month's premium in the federal marketplace, but the broadcast networks ignored their finding on Thursday evening, while FNC's Special Report with Bret Baier devoted a full story. If true, the report would drastically undercut the White House's number of ObamaCare enrollees.
A report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee found that, according to data from all insurance providers, "only 67 percent of individuals and families that had selected a health plan in the federally facilitated marketplace had paid their first month’s premium and therefore completed the enrollment process."
On Thursday evening, ABC was the only broadcast network to cover the day's congressional hearing on the Benghazi attacks. Both CBS and NBC ignored the hearing. ABC only covered the story for 46 seconds; they gave twice that amount of coverage to the U.S. Olympic speedskating suits.
World News quoted retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell, at the U.S. Africa Command headquarters during the attacks, telling Congress that the military "should have done more" to respond. ABC also included the White House's response that according to top military brass, no units were close enough to respond. What ABC didn't include was Lovell's implied answer to that excuse: "The point is we should have tried."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to set aside any air time to a mass abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from a school in northern Nigeria on April 16, 2014. Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram raided the government-run institution and forced the students into vehicles. On Thursday, the girls' parents and their supporters led a demonstration to pressure the government into action.
The last time the Big Three networks covered the ongoing insurgency in Nigeria was on the April 14, 2014 edition of NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams gave a 26-second news brief about Boko Haram's bombing in the capital of Abuja, which took place mere hours before the jihadist group kidnapped the students. Nine days later, CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted a full segment on his Wolf program to the school incident with correspondent Vladimir Duthiers: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday evening, ABC and NBC finally reported e-mails suggesting a White House post-Benghazi cover-up, although NBC's report ignored the suggestion of a cover-up. After reporting the story on Wednesday morning, CBS ignored it in the evening.
While the ABC World News covered the e-mails in-depth, the NBC Nightly News only offered a news brief and skirted over key details like the purpose of the e-mails, which, as ABC reported, "suggest the White House blamed the attacks on an anti-Islamic video in order to deflect criticism of the President's policies."
ABC, CBS, and NBC have set aside over 146 minutes of air time on their morning and evening newscasts to the controversy surrounding a racist tirade by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. However, as of Wednesday morning, the Big Three networks have yet to pick up on a Tuesday scoop from Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski, who discovered "shocking racial comments" by a sitting Democratic congressman.
Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson unleashed on Senator Mitch McConnell and Clarence Thomas, and Republicans in general, on a radio program of the New Nation of Islam – a sect that holds that "intermarriage or race mixing should be prohibited" and that blacks should be "allowed to establish a separate state or territory of their own - either on this continent or elsewhere." Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends on Wednesday devoted a full report to Rep. Thompson's bigoted remarks: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Tuesday April 29, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate air pollution from power plants that cross state lines yet NBC and ABC failed to cover the story.
Despite the unprecedented ruling by the court, only CBS bothered to cover it, with Scott Pelley giving it a mere 22 seconds on the CBS Evening News on Tuesday night. Unlike the EPA ruling, all three networks provided extensive coverage of last week’s Supreme Court ruling that voters could decide whether or not they want to limit the use affirmative action in their respective state. [See video of Fox News’ coverage of the ruling below.]
[UPDATE: As of Thursday the total was 165 minutes.] When network journalists decide a story is important, they make sure it dominates the airwaves. Over the course of three and a half days, ABC, CBS and NBC vigorously investigated a racist rant by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, offering 146 minutes and 39 seconds of coverage since Saturday night. CBS devoted the most, a whopping 52 minutes and 13 seconds.
NBC came in second with 48 minutes and 36 seconds. ABC was a close third with 45 minutes and 40 seconds. In contrast, important stories over the same time period that cast Barack Obama (or Democrats in general) in a bad light were buried by the network evening and morning shows. For instance, new White House e-mails released on Tuesday show that the administration played a direct role in creating misleading talking points on the Benghazi scandal. Only CBS This Morning covered the story -- and for a mere two minutes and 50 seconds. NBC and ABC skipped it.
After White House emails released on Tuesday showed the Obama administration had a direct hand in crafting false talking points about the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2012, Wednesday's CBS This Morning was the only network broadcast to cover the latest developments in the ongoing scandal. None of the network evening newscasts covered the story Tuesday night, with NBC and ABC continuing to be out to lunch Wednesday morning.
Introducing a full report on the Benghazi emails, This Morning co-host Charlie Rose announced: "New emails are renewing controversy this morning over the Obama administration's response to Benghazi. The documents were obtained by the conservative organization Judicial Watch. Four Americans died in the 2012 assault, including Ambassador Chris Stevens." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Newly-surfaced e-mails link the White House directly to false talking points that were disseminated days after the Benghazi attacks in September of 2012, but the broadcast networks ignored the story on Tuesday evening.
As Judicial Watch reported, e-mails from the White House to then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice instructed her to "underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy." Rice was roundly criticized for appearing on five Sunday talk shows and blaming the attacks on a protest of an anti-Islam internet video, information that turned out to be false.
Tuesday's World News ignored ABC's own poll showing President Obama's lowest approval rating of his presidency. ABC gave a scant 18 seconds to the numbers on Good Morning America earlier that day.
Voters also preferred a Republican Congress in this year's election. As ABCNews.com reported, "Registered voters by 53-39 percent in the national survey say they'd rather see the Republicans in control of Congress as a counterbalance to Obama’s policies than a Democratic-led Congress to help support him."
Yesterday the Toyota Motor Corporation announced it would move its U.S. headquarters from Torrance, California, to Plano, Texas. Closing his report on the development, Tim Reid of Reuters noted the reaction of a Torrance business owner who doubtless counts many Toyota employees as loyal customers. "The taxes are lower in Texas. There are fewer regulations. It's cheaper for a company there. Why wouldn't they leave California?" shrugged Frank Portillo, the owner of a nearby Mexican restaurant.
While Toyota's forthcoming move is a huge economic and PR development for prospective 2016 presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) and a major embarrassment for liberal Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.), a search of Nexis and our DVR recording system shows the Big Three networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- ignored the story on both their April 28 evening newscasts and their April 29 morning news programs.
Rheana Murray's Saturday article on ABCNews.com omitted key details about how the Catholic Church determines which saints' feast days are observed by Catholic parishes all over the world. Murray noted that the Church "removed 93 saints from the universal calendar and revoked their feast days in 1969," but two out of the four examples she gave still have "optional" feast days on the calendar.
The journalist's write-up, which was also posted on Good Morning America's page on Yahoo!, cited Kean University's Christopher Bellito, who pointed out that these saints "weren't actually de-sainted, just downgraded." Professor Bellito explained that the Church "decided to remove particular feast days of those saints whose origins were shrouded in more mystery than manuscripts."
The news that Barack Obama is "facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency" warranted a mere 18 seconds of attention from Good Morning America on Tuesday. This scant coverage is despite the fact that ABC conducted the poll in question (along with the Washington Post).
Reporter Amy Robach briefly explained, "And President Obama is returning to Washington today, facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency. His approval rating has dropped to 41 percent, mostly because of the economy." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In contrast, when George W. Bush's approval rating dropped to 42 percent on March 7, 2006, GMA offered two segments. Co-host Robin Roberts trumpeted, "President Bush's job approval rating has sunk to a new career low." In another story, Roberts hyped, "We begin with the President's slumping poll numbers."
ABC, CBS and NBC news should sit down and write George Clooney a thank you note for the timing of his engagement rumor. Oh, the networks weren’t ever going to report the horrific news that an Oregon plant burned aborted babies to fuel homes. But now they can credibly say they were busy with real, important news – the kind about celebrities.
The macabre story from Oregon, coming on the heels of a similar report about the fate of aborted babies in the U.K., might have garnered a mention on a slow news week, but we’re talking about George Clooney! And talk they did: for a total 21 minutes and 52 seconds in just three days. Video below.