Potential presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose controversial stance on President Obama's birth certificate has made waves in the mainstream media during the past weeks, for one reason or another, has avoided interviews on CBS's morning and evening news programs so far in 2011. In fact, Trump hasn't done an interview on either The Early Show or CBS Evening News in over two years.
On April 20, 2010, a horrific oil spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico on British Petroleum's (BP) Deepwater Horizon rig. Since that day, gas prices have risen nearly $1-a-gallon to $3.83 per gallon. President Barack Obama's anti-oil policies, including a drilling moratorium are at least part of the reason for that dramatic spike. But you will rarely hear that from the mainstream media.
It certainly isn't the story the network evening news shows have told their viewers since the oil spill. Out of 280 oil price stories since the disastrous pill, just 1 percent (3 out of 280) mentioned any connection between Obama's anti-oil efforts, such as the drilling moratorium, and rapidly rising gas prices.
Easter is the quintessential Christian holiday - the celebration of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. Although it has been celebrated by billions of people around the world for nearly 2,000 years, the mainstream media would rather celebrate the liberal holiday known as "Earth Day" and connect Easter to the abuse scandal that surrounded the Roman Catholic Church. Some major Findings:
A day after a CBS News Sunday Morning story fretted that the wealthy aren’t paying a high-enough income tax rate without bothering to note how a significant portion of the population avoids paying anything, on Monday’s CBS Evening News reporter Bill Plante pointed out: “The day of reckoning with Uncle Sam is less painful for some than for others” since “45 percent of Americans don't owe the government anything today, but they're not the super-rich.”
Plante, however, repeated the usual media mantra about how the wealthy are paying less without noting how they pay a disproportionate share. Plante asserted: “The very rich do pay, but they pay a lot less than they used to: 17 percent in 2007, down from 26 percent in 1992.”
“Critics say it’s about time” for President Barack Obama to offer his plan to reduce the deficit, CBS’s Chip Reid acknowledged Tuesday night before he proceeded to rationalize Obama’s disengagement, validated by CBS’s in-house political analyst. Reid asserted: “Political analysts say the President had good reason to wait. He wanted the Republicans to go first and they did last week when influential Congressman Paul Ryan released his controversial plan.” CBS News political analyst John Dickerson proposed:
The President needed Paul Ryan's House budget plan to use as a foil for his own argument about what government should do, what government priorities are. He will say that the Ryan plan does not match up with American values.
Indeed, Reid contended the White House saw “an irresistible opportunity to portray Republicans as callous and extreme.”
Prior to this week, President Obama had been so detached from the budget debate that some in his own party have openly criticized him. Obama, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin declared in early March, has “failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for.”
Yet when the President chose to parachute into the budget talks earlier this week, most of the mainstream media neglected to remember his long absence, but instead acted like White House stenographers in praising his “adult” and “grown-up” approach — conveying the obvious implication that House Republicans and/or the Tea Party have been acting like children.
A video compilation of some of the more noteworthy these comments appears below the fold; a link to audio of remarks by CBS’s Chip Reid, CNN’s Gloria Borger and CNN’s Eliot Spitzer, all from April 5, is here.
As a potential government shutdown looms the liberal media are filling their programs with stories about dire consequences of deep cuts that will lead to troops not getting paid, closed national parks, and late tax refunds. However, a review of MRC's coverage of the 1995 budget fight reveals the media are simply rerunning their tired old arguments from the last shutdown.
On this Wednesday's edition of ABC's Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl tallied the services that could be at risk this time around, as he warned: "If they don't reach a deal and get it passed by then, American troops, including those on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, may not get their paychecks. And smack in the middle of tax season, that refund you've been counting on, well, you may have to wait." Karl went on to alert travelers that: "Treasures like Old Faithful and Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Yosemite's half dome, will be closed to visitors. And if you don't already have a passport, don't even think about leaving the country. Last time the government shut down, 200,000 passport applications were stopped in their tracks."
However Karl and others, as quotes from 1995 show, are simply dusting off the old media playbook to blame Republicans, not Democrats, for a shutdown, as they focus on high profile federal projects like national parks in an attempt to frighten the American people into opposing prudent fiscal decision-making.
Old media is nothing, if not oblivious to its consistently declining popularity among the public at large. This tired, but time-tested pattern of misplacing causes of failure was borne out once again via the recent musings of none other than the soon-to-be-former CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
In a Q & A published Monday in the New York Times, interviewer Adam Goldman questioned Couric about why the show she has hosted since September 2006 remains in third place, despite effusive initial plaudits and wall-to-wall marketing. Couric replied (emphasis mine):
I believe we were in third place for 13 years before I got here, and I think habits, particularly with an evening news broadcast, move at a glacial pace. And I think that local news stations have something to do with it.
The news leaked out Monday that Katie Couric is stepping down from her failed experiment as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News.” People inside the news business greeted the news as shocking. But what’s shocking is that Couric didn’t get the boot years ago. CBS’s ratings cratered while she earned $15 million annually.
Couric was once projected as the Great White Female Hope after Dan Rather’s involuntary retirement in 2005. His numbers in his last week had dropped to a last place 8.1 million nightly audience. But what did Couric deliver?
Over two programs totaling two and half hours of air time, ABC allowed only 65 seconds of coverage for Barack Obama's decision to break a campaign promise and try 9/11 terror suspects at Guantanamo and not in a civilian court. In contrast, all the other network evening shows on Monday and morning shows on Tuesday provided full reports.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America on ABC, Juju Chang mildly explained in a news read, "Well, we begin with a legal turnaround for the Obama administration." On Monday's World News, Diane Sawyer delicately described it as a "switch in positions." Reporter Jake Tapper noted the President has "blinked" in the face of criticism and pointed out this was a breaking of a campaign promise. (This brief mention came during a larger story about the 2012 campaign.)
In contrast, CBS's Katie Couric actually provided much stronger language. She began by asserting, "In other news, a lot of people thought it was a terrible idea to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men on trial here in New York City for the 9/11 attacks." Reporter Bob Orr, unlike Chang, labeled it a "stunning reversal" to try suspects at Guantanamo.
AP’s Dave Bauder reported this morning that CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric would be leaving that post. An exact departure date was not announced, but Couric’s contract with CBS News is set to expire on June 4, 2011, although Bauder suggested that if Couric strikes a deal with CBS for a syndicated daytime talk show, she might stay on temporarily if there was “an extended search for her successor.”
The Media Research Center has just updated our “Profile in Bias” recounting the liberal slant that Couric promoted as CBS Evening News anchor. (An earlier report covered the bias she conveyed as a longtime co-host of NBC’s Today). Here are some of the choicer examples from her disastrous tenure at CBS:
Tea Party = “Moderate Republicans” an “Endangered Species”
“The party crashers. Big primary victories by fringe candidates open a rift in the GOP....After big victories this week by candidates of the Tea Party, the Grand Old Party is in turmoil....Does this mean moderate Republicans are becoming an endangered species?”
— Katie Couric on the September 16, 2010 CBS Evening News.
Since Japan's earthquake and following nuclear crisis, the CBS Evening News has done two reports on the Obama administration blocking use of the Yucca Mountain storage facility in Nevada to safely dispose of U.S. nuclear waste. Meanwhile, NBC and ABC have ignored the controversy.
The first CBS report on the issue came on March 22, when Evening News anchor Katie Couric declared: "The crisis in Japan has renewed the debate over nuclear power in this country. Today a federal appeals court heard arguments in a lawsuit over what to do with spent fuel rods." Correspondent Jim Axelrod explained: "An estimated 66,000 metric tons of spent fuel are stored at 77 sites around the country. That's more than 145 million pounds....Plans to make Yucca Mountain in Nevada a long-term storage site were scuttled by the Obama administration a year ago, after 20 years of planning costing $14 billion."
The latest presidential approval poll shows Barack Obama's ratings at his lowest point of his tenure: 42 percent. But the three major broadcast networks took no notice whatsoever on their Wednesday evening newscasts.
Neither CBS, NBC, nor ABC reported the Quinnipiac poll results on their respective evening news broadcasts. The results, released Wednesday, recorded 42 percent of respondents approving of the job President Obama is doing, and 48 percent disapproving.
As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad defiantly refused to implement democratic reforms and his security forces fired on protesters on Wednesday, the networks continued to ignore Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Sunday comments labeling the dictator as a "reformer."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News fill-in anchor Erica Hill read a news brief on the latest crackdown by the Syrian government: "There's more turmoil in Syria today after a hard-line speech by President Bashar al-Assad. Instead of announcing reforms, as expected, Assad blamed recent protests on a foreign conspiracy....In the port city of Latakia, witnesses say Syrian troops opened fire during an anti-government protest." Despite Clinton having made her gaffe on CBS's Face the Nation, Hill did not mention it.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer was caught on tape Tuesday instructing his Democratic colleagues on how to spin the media with regard to “extreme” Republicans and their budget cuts. "I always use extreme...That is what the caucus instructed me to use,” Schumer blurted.
The liberal senator was apparently unaware his comments were being recorded (The remarks were made moments before a conference call with reporters began.) Tuesday’s nightly newscasts on NBC, ABC and CBS all skipped the story. On Wednesday, Good Morning America, Today and Early Show did the same.
The broadcast evening news anchors all got ten minutes with President Barack Obama on Tuesday afternoon in New York City to press him about contradictions in his Libya policy, ceding authority for foreign entities and how he’s a hypocrite after his criticism of President Bush for unilateral actions and not getting congressional approval, but instead they simply prodded him to provide arms to the rebels and pushed him to take action in Syria.
But ABC’s Diane Sawyer stood out for her obsequiousness as the Kentucky native ended by giddily bringing up the college basketball tournament: “How much do you think Kentucky will win by?” Before that, she cued him up to agree he’s as burdened as Abraham Lincoln:
What about the famous quote from another beleaguered President, Abraham Lincoln, who said he had been driven many times to his knees because his own wisdom and that around him “was insufficient for the day”?
Wednesday’s CBS Evening News celebrated the one-year anniversary of ObamaCare by touting its benefits before Katie Couric, who devoted half her newscast to Elizabeth Taylor’s passing, fretted: “What about the legal battles? Could they actually derail health care reform altogether?”
Neither ABC nor NBC touched ObamaCare on Wednesday night but, in contrast to CBS, on FNC’s Special Report Carl Cameron noted “the latest Gallup poll suggests it’s less popular than a year ago” and raised how Obama allies are trying to escape it, citing “requests for over a thousand waivers, half of which went to labor unions letting them and some other organizations and businesses opt out of the plan until at least 2014.”
Couric began by asking Jan Crawford “what changes has the law made in the health care system so far?” Crawford recited:
The Obama administration launched its air war against Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya after a vote of the UN Security Council, but without any congressional authorization — and apparently not even very much consultation with congressional leaders. A review of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from Friday night through Monday night finds virtually no network interest in Obama’s bypassing of Congress — an attitude in stark contrast to their approach to the Bush administration during the run-up to the Iraq war in late 2002. (Video montage below jump.)
With Libya, only the NBC Nightly News has even mentioned the controversy over the Obama administration’s decision to cut Congress out of the decision-making. On the March 20 Nightly News, White House correspondent Chuck Todd offered one sentence taking note of John Boehner’s objections in a laundry list of other congressional complaints:
In a report for the Associated Press on Sunday, Jim Kuhnhenn fawned over President Obama's tour of Rio De Janeiro during a trip to Brazil: "Obama played grand tourist....The president's sightseeing Sunday was sure to endear him even more to a diverse and multicultural country where his personal story already makes him popular."
The article described how Obama, while visiting a community center in one of Rio's poorest slums, "shed his coat and tie, rolled up his sleeves and dribbled one-on-one soccer with one surprised boy." And noted: "The president walked out into the streets and waved to throngs of residents who cheered him from rooftops and balconies. Dozens of young children pressed up against a chainlink fence trying to get a look."
Following the March 8 release of an undercover sting video of NPR executive Ron Schiller calling Tea Party members "racist," CBS initially gave no coverage to the ensuing scandal and resignations of him and NPR President Vivian Schiller. However, it turns out that the controversy was covered by a CBS News broadcast, the barely-watched 4 A.M. Morning News.
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric did a news brief on House Republicans voting to de-fund NPR: "Republicans say NPR does well enough to fund itself, but Democrats say a cutoff of federal money would cripple some 600 public radio stations." She failed to make any mention of the scandal that preceded the vote.
Reporting on the passage of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposal to curb public union benefits and bargaining power, on Thursday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Cynthia Bowers referred to the union protestors in the state capital and declared: "After three weeks of relative restraint, passions ran over today."
That "restraint" has included threats against Republican state lawmakers (with an angry mob surrounding one of them), protestors storming the state capitol building, and signs comparing Governor Walker to Adolf Hitler. As a Media Research Center Media Reality Check detailed, the networks have failed to report on the most extreme actions of the protestors, while they were eager to condemn the "incivility" of the Tea Party.
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, following a report that portrayed congressional hearings on radical Islam as bigoted political theater, correspondent Seth Doane profiled a Muslim family in Tennessee and suggested they were indirect victims of the testimony on Capitol Hill: "The Sbenaty family is getting tired of defending their religion."
Anchor Katie Couric introduced Doane's report this way: "...most of the more than two and a half million Muslims living in this country want it known they are patriotic Americans." As if the hearings somehow accused all American Muslims of being unpatriotic. Doane began by proclaiming: "Every morning at his Murfreesboro, Tennessee, middle school 14-year-old Salim Sbenaty honors his country [by saying the Pledge of Allegiance]. But today, while he was taking his English exam, lawmakers on Capitol Hill were examining extremists within his religion, Islam."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes implied that the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims was simply a political show put on by committee chairman Peter King: "Ignoring calls from Democrats to cancel his hearing...King embarked on the inquiry in a room newly decorated with fiery images from 9/11."
Cordes later declared that "King's own past assertion that most U.S. mosques are run by radicals" resulted in "poisoning the atmosphere" of the hearing. She remarked on how King's "relations with Muslim leaders there [in his Long Island, NY district] deteriorated after 9/11." A sound bite was then featured of Dr. Faroque Kahn of the Islamic Center of Long Island, who labeled King a "Muslim-basher."
Since an undercover sting video was released on Tuesday showing National Public Radio executive Ron Schiller calling conservatives "seriously racist people" – for which he resigned – CBS News has failed to utter a single word about the controversy on its broadcasts. That despite NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron) also being forced out on Wednesday.
In contrast, ABC had a full story on Wednesday's Good Morning America and it led World News that night. On NBC Wednesday, Today only featured a news brief on the scandal, but a full story was featured on the Nightly News.
The three evening newscasts on Monday and the morning shows on Tuesday mostly ignored Barack Obama's abandonment of a campaign pledge to close Guantanamo Bay and end trials of detainees there. NBC's Today, CBS's Early Show and ABC's Good Morning America all covered the story only in news briefs. Yet, when President Bush was in the White House, the networks obsessed over the issue.
Today's Ann Curry called the move to resume military trials there a "stunning reversal," but the network allowed just two brief anchor reads during the four hour program. ABC almost completely ignored the development. Monday's World News skipped the topic entirely.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Juju Chang offered a single mention, explaining, "And an about-face from President Obama on Guantanamo Bay. He is resuming military trials for terrorism suspects held in Cuba, two years after he pledged to close the prison."
If they ever take a break from publicizing Charlie Sheen’s cocaine dos and dont's, or detailing the power politics within his Beverly Hills harem, the networks should grab a copy of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. And they may want to pay special attention to this entry: “Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.”
From Feb. 1 through March 6, the three networks distinguished themselves by devoting 20 times more broadcast time to Charlie Sheen’s porn stars and drug issues than to the Planned Parenthood video scandal and the subsequent vote in the House of Representatives to defund the organization.
For the second consecutive day, the CBS and NBC evening newscasts failed to devote more than fleeting news briefs to the fatal terror attack against a bus full of US airmen in Germany. ABC, which covered the story in more detail on Wednesday, did not even mention the tragic attack on the Thursday "World News."
Arid Uka, described as a 21-year-old "radical Muslim," opened fire Wednesday on US airmen at Frankfurt Airport, killing two and injuring others, but CBS anchor Katie Couric and NBC anchor Brian Williams spent a scant 30 seconds each on the story during last night's newscasts.
The night of the shooting, neither the CBS "Evening News" nor the NBC "Nightly News" thought the slaying of American servicemen was worthy of more than terse news briefs, although ABC's Diane Sawyer covered the story more thoroughly on "World News."
Discussing the possibility of Newt Gingrich running for president in 2012, on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge touted "big negatives" for the former House speaker: "...baggage that he brings with him...the government shutdowns back in the '90s, to being forced out as speaker, to the fact that he's on his third marriage, which is probably going to alienate some social conservatives."
Political analyst John Dickerson agreed with Wragge's assessment: "Well, some of that baggage, they're trophies. He can say, 'I fought for these principles harder than anyone else.' But as you say, the personal baggage is considerable. He's not only had multiple marriages but he is an admitted adulterer. That matters in Republican primaries, where religious voters care about that kind of thing."
Two US airmen were killed by a Muslim terrorist in Germany yesterday, but neither CBS nor NBC thought it worthy of more than 30 seconds of coverage on their evening newscasts Wednesday night.
While ABC devoted a full segment of the March 2 "World News" to the issue, the CBS "Evening News" and the NBC "Nightly News" offered only scant news briefs and buried the story deep into their broadcasts.
"Troops under attack in Germany, targeted by a gunman shouting in Arabic about jihad," intoned ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, introducing the segment.
ABC and NBC touted the Obama administration's new report on women by leading their evening news shows with it on Tuesday. Diane Sawyer gushed over the "huge new report," while NBC's Savannah Guthrie trumpeted the "first comprehensive White House report on women since...Kennedy asked Eleanor Roosevelt to lead a study." CBS also highlighted the report on Evening News and on The Early Show the next day.
NBC's Brian Williams, during his introduction to correspondent Savannah Guthrie's report, proclaimed how "the White House reported some new numbers today about women in this country, and while, in many ways, women continue to pass men by, an old problem is just as bad, just as serious, and it continues to hold women back economically." After noting the gains by women in terms of college attendance, Williams continued that the problem was "the pay gap in the workplace, and that hasn't changed."
Guthrie began with her Eleanor Roosevelt line, and continued that the report "paints a portrait of a modern woman- less June Cleaver, more Liz Lemon" (Tina Fey's character from "30 Rock"). She then spouted some of the figures from the Obama administration document: