Bob Schieffer trumpeted "some of the best polling news that the President has seen in quite a while" on Friday's CBS Evening News, a day after NBC's Brian Williams played up poll numbers that were supposedly "ahead of the wildest dreams" of Democrats. Schieffer claimed that "the President's message that he is the one who can best help the middle class does seem to be getting through," even though one poll result is unchanged since July.
The veteran journalist gave these statements just moments after anchor Scott Pelley noted that "a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows just how close the presidential race is. Of the people who told us they were likely to vote, 49 percent said they favor President Obama, 46 percent Mitt Romney; and that three-point spread is well within the poll's margin of error."
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) Wednesday evening newscasts devoted more than 9 minutes (9 minutes, 28 seconds) to the flap over Mitt Romney's statement criticizing the administration's handling of the Libyan crisis but spent just 25 seconds on questions regarding Barack Obama's Middle-East policy, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity.
NBC's Brian Williams opened the Nightly News telling viewers: "Romney is taking fire tonight for the way he went on the attack politically...somehow [Romney] wanted today to be about America apologizing for its values, even after it became clear today was about the death of an American ambassador and others." CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley dutifully noted: "Democrats said the governor had injected politics into a tragedy." Over on ABC's World News Diane Sawyer announced: "Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney under fire for comments he made about the upheaval as it was unfolding." (video after the jump)
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC's World News on Tuesday failed to mention Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism of the Obama administration for not being aggressive in preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons. The CBS Evening News included a plug in its opening teaser and then devoted a full report to the story.
If journalists were interested in fairness, there's nothing more basic than giving a similar amount of airtime to each major party convention. An MRC analysis finds that's exactly what CBS and ABC did, giving virtually identical airtime to the Republican and Democratic conventions on their morning and evening news shows.
But NBC skewed in favor of the Democrats, donating 25 percent more coverage to the Democratic National Convention (121 minutes) than they did the previous week's Republican convention (97 minutes). Most of the disparity is accounted for by the Today show, which gave 30 percent more coverage to the Democrats (87 minutes vs. 67 minutes), although the NBC Nightly News also favored the Democrats, albeit by a slighter margin (34 to 30 minutes).
For the past week, NewsBusters has been showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala September 27. (Click here for ticket information.)
If you’ve missed our recounting of the worst quotes from 1988 through 1994, you can find those here). Today, the worst bias of 1995, when Time magazine blamed the Oklahoma City bombing on “hot talk on the radio” even as NPR’s Nina Totenberg wished one of Jesse Helms’ grandchildren would get AIDS. [Quotes and video below the jump.]
In an interview for Sunday's Parade magazine, Katie Couric tried to sell her failed reign at CBS as proving she's a risk-taker. "If I had been offered a traditional newscast, I probably wouldn’t have gone, because it didn’t necessarily play to my strengths. I like interacting with people, having conversations."
Couric is still proud of her political coverage, including the one liberals have honored her most for, the Palin-roasting one in 2008: "I did the best job I could, and I think our political coverage was unparalleled. I started in third place [in the ratings]. We stayed in third place. And CBS still is in third place. It was tough, but it was character-building." Then Parade's Dotson Rader suggested sexism might have ruined Couric at CBS:
Once a day for 25 days, NewsBusters is showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on September 27. (Click here for ticket information)
So far, we’ve published the worst quotes from 1988 through 1992 (you can check those out here). Today, the worst bias of 1993, including the Washington Post smearing Christian conservatives as "poor, uneducated and easy to command," Dan Rather fawning over Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Helen Thomas disavowing any tilt, saying she does not “know what a liberal bias is.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Last week in Tampa, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, both hit Ann Romney with a pointed political contention from the left, but tonight (Thursday) in Charlotte, neither challenged Michelle Obama with any political argument forwarded by conservatives.
Williams posed a long-winded question about the Obama daughters and cued up the First Lady to assess a New York Times reporter’s take that President Obama is “‘a proud yet humbled President, a confident yet scarred President, a dreamer mugged by reality.’ Does that resemble the man you know?”
Shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern today, it took three attempts for Democrats to reinstate the words "God" and "Jerusalem" into their party platform, drawing some reactions of despondency from the more liberal members of the party. Over on MSNBC, for example, Chris Hayes called it a "craven capitulation."
This shift from the original platform that omitted God and did not explicitly express support of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital wasn’t mentioned once during ABC World News September 5 broadcast. Below is video from C-SPAN of the actual vote on the matter, which, you can tell was unlikely an actual 2/3rd vote for the rule change.
When the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks preview Vice President Joe Biden’s 2012 Democratic National Convention speech, will they fill their programs with a montage of the mental mistakes that have plagued him over the years? If recent coverage is any indication, they will choose to bypass Biden’s bumbling.
While the Big Three networks were quick to make fun of GOP vice presidential selections in the past from Dan Quayle to Sarah Palin for their campaign trail stumbles, they’ve either downplayed or completely ignored Biden’s most embarrassing and offensive moments. From insensitively telling a wheelchair-bound state senator to “Stand up!” to not recognizing how many letters there are in the word “jobs,” the media have let Biden get away with gaffes that would have gotten GOP VP picks pilloried. (Video compilation after the jump)
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams touted the stimulus spending that went to renovating the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC: "Tourists in Washington this holiday weekend will find water in the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool for the first time in two years. It was actually stimulus funding that paid for the major renovation project - $34 million worth."
Scott Pelley also gave a brief on the pool's renovation on Friday's CBS Evening News, but chose not to play up the stimulus detail, only noting that "the pool was closed, so that workers could fix leaks and stop it from sinking."
CBS News has talked quite about their latest poll released Tuesday, especially how Mitt Romney is trailing Barack Obama by 10 points among women voters -- bad news for the Republican, of course. But unstated in the network's on-air coverage is the rest of the story: that Barack Obama trails Mitt Romney among men voters by 9 points, by a 49 to 40 margin.
How come no discussion of how poorly Obama is doing with men? Is it because the Democrats have cooked up a "war on women" theme for this campaign, and talking about the male vote doesn't do anything to further that partisan objective?
“A lot of women look at the Republican platform on abortion, contraception, a number of issues,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley told Ann Romney, “and ask the question whether Republicans have women’s best interests at heart?”
Pelley’s loaded question came just after he held up his smart phone so Mrs. Romney could see how the Obama campaign “is starting a tour called the ‘Romney-Ryan: Wrong for Women’ tour, and that’s the logo.”
“Some Republicans wonder whether Romney is too moderate for the increasingly conservative party,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley refreshingly asked Monday night in veering from the media portrayal of Romney as a far-right ideologue. However, Pelley soon delivered the usual media line that presumed the party is too conservative. “The platform does not allow for exceptions on abortion with regard to the health of the mother or rape or incest,” Pelley told Romney in relaying a Democratic talking point.
Pelley next fretted “this Republican Party that you’re leading is not your father’s Republican Party,” recalling how “he opposed Barry Goldwater in 1964” and was “a passionate advocate for government support for housing for poor people.” Pelley queried: “I wonder how you would explain this Republican Party to your father?”
Last week when President Barack Obama raised the old tale of how Mitt Romney once put his dog in a car top carrier, the NBC Nightly News gave a sentence to how Obama “took a dig at Romney” and the CBS Evening News didn’t mention it, but on Friday night both newscasts pounced on Romney for daring to make a birth certificate joke.
“Was it a joke?” fill-in NBC anchor David Gregory demanded, teasing a full story: “What Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail today that immediately erupted in controversy.” Reporter Peter Alexander recalled Donald Trump’s tie to Romney and highlighted how “the Obama campaign quickly cried foul, insisting ‘Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.’”
On Friday, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reported on Twitter that Mitt Romney's campaign was "slamming [the] Obama Admin citing reports of sale of Solyndra headquarters for fire sale price of $90-million," and how "US taxpayers lost $500-million underwriting Solyndra loans." Even with this and other developments in the past month, CBS hasn't covered Solyndra since June 1, 2012 on its morning and evening newscasts.
Knoller noted in subsequent Tweets that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had defended the federal loan guarantee for Solyndra as a "merit-based decision" during an August 2, 2012 press gaggle, after a reporter asked about an impending congressional report on the scandal. Carney also stated during the presser that President Obama "firmly believes that it is the right decision to invest in clean energy technologies."
The media obsession with a gaffe by Congressman Todd Akin continued on Wednesday and Thursday morning. The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts and morning shows offered five additional segments, bringing the amount of coverage to a massive 96 minutes (and 45 segments) over three and a half days. The disparity between Akin and gaffe-prone Vice President Biden's "chains" controversy from last week is now five-to-one.
The massive amount of coverage is obviously favorable to the Democrats, a point Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos underlined: "Mitt Romney hoping to shake off those controversial comments from Congressman Todd Akin about abortion and rape. President Obama and his team doing everything they can to make it stick."
"A grand jury indicted Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va., on a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, and two District of Columbia offenses: assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a handgun during a crime of violence," reported CBS News and the Associated Press yesterday shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern. CBSNews.com carried the story in the "daily blotter" section of its Crimesider feature. "Corkins' parents told investigators that he was a supporter of gay rights, and he said he didn't agree with the FRC's politics before the shooting, according to the documents," the article added.
Yet last night's CBS Evening News completely ignored the story, as did ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News. The August 23 editions of those networks' morning shows also ignored the story. A search of our DVR recordings also found no mention of the indictment on the ultra-liberal, fervently pro-gay rights MSNBC network. John Berman of CNN's Starting Point did briefly touch on the story in the 7:00 a.m. news brief:
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King applauded colleague Nancy Cordes for her "great question" to President Obama on Monday about a dishonest ad from a supporting super PAC that blamed Mitt Romney for a woman's cancer death. However, they failed to mention Cordes's earlier question on how Obama's campaign has "suggested that Mr. Romney might be a felon for the way that he handed over power of Bain Capital."
The President falsely claimed that "nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon" in his answer to Cordes, an additional detail that went unnoticed by the CBS on-air personalities. Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, made the felony suggestion on July 12, 2012: "Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people."
After Paul Ryan released his last two years of tax returns late Friday, reporters on ABC and CBS not only made sure to point out that Ryan paid a higher federal tax rate than the wealthier Mitt Romney, but also noted that he had supplied more than two years to the Romney campaign as part of the vetting process, as if to put additional pressure on Romney and Ryan that they should make more than two years public.
On the day after gunman Floyd Corkins attacked the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., ABC's World News on Thursday was the only broadcast network evening newscast to run a followup report which elaborated on Corkins's political opposition to the group's conservative views.
Imagine if, God forbid, this exact same thing had happened at a Planned Parenthood or the Southern Law Poverty Center, which labeled both Chick-fil-A and FRC hate groups. We’d be hearing an endless loop of stories about the danger of militant, hate-filled right wing wackos.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News finally mentioned the controversial ad -- produced by an Obama super PAC -- which blames Mitt Romney for former steel worker Joe Soptic's wife dying of cancer, as CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report recounting negative campaigning from both the GOP and Democratic sides.
But she only vaguely referred to the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, as an "outside group," even though it was founded by former Obama advisors to support the President's reelection. Covering the same inflammatory ad for CBS This Morning on Friday, Cordes had made the group's partisan affiliation clear, describing them as "a top outside group supporting the President."
Wednesday's CBS This Morning did its best to spin Vice President Joe Biden's "he's going to put y'all back in chains" slam of Mitt Romney and even forwarded the Obama campaign's own talking points on the controversial line. Both Anthony Mason and open Obama supporter Gayle King inserted language that the Vice President didn't even use in his original speech on Tuesday.
During an interview of Romney himself, King claimed that Biden "said that Republicans want to unshackle Wall Street and put middle class Americans back in chains." She followed up by asking, "Isn't the metaphor of unshackling...something that Republicans have used, including Paul Ryan?" Earlier, Mason stated that "Vice President Biden says Republicans are going to put lower-income Americans back in chains." (audio available here; video below the jump)
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday gave attention to Vice-President Joseph Biden asserting that Mitt Romney, by "unchaining" Wall Street would effectively "put y'all back in chains," only CBS's Bob Schieffer informed viewers that about half the audience in Danville, Virginia, was African-American, thus suggesting the Vice-President was making an embarrassing pander to black audience members who likely have ancestors who used to be "in chains."
On the CBS Evening News, as he set up a soundbite of Biden, substitute host Schieffer related:
All three broadcast network evening newscasts recounted President Obama's charge that Rep. Paul Ryan is holding up a farm aid bill as the President campaign in Iowa, but only CBS's Nancy Cordes took the time to forward to viewers the Romney campaign's rebuttal that "Ryan voted in favor of a drought relief package that's currently languishing in the Senate."
On ABC's World News, correspondent David Muir set up Obama's complaint:
Chuck Todd has chutzpah. Jake Tapper has some integrity. For decades, journalists have aided liberals by mischaracterizing proposed slight reductions in the rate of spending hikes on a program as a “cut” or “slash” to it, so many trusting people, naively presuming the words have meaning, thus assumed there’d be an actual reduction.
NBC’s Peter Alexander repeated this fallacy on Monday’s Today when he described Paul Ryan as “the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare...” NBC’s chief political correspondent, Chuck Todd, however, had the gall to correct Mitt Romney over a “cut” claim while ignoring Alexander’s falsity.
Still working hard to avoid mentioning an outrageous Obama super-PAC ad that basically accused Mitt Romney of being responsible for the cancer death of a woman, Thursday's NBC Nightly News had the gall to instead promote pro-Obama fluff, as anchor Brian Williams gushed: "Knowing a hot product when he sees one, the President today visited the U.S. Olympic training facility in Colorado."
Williams made sure to inform viewers that Obama "Promptly took his shoes off, got on the mat, and said his grandmother would be proud there were no holes in his socks."
All three evening newscasts on Wednesday continued to ignore a super PAC ad by top Obama supporters that accuses Mitt Romney of, essentially, killing a woman. At the same time, CBS and NBC amplified the Obama administration's "war on women" talking point, playing up attacks from Sandra Fluke, who previously tangled with Rush Limbaugh over contraception. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
NBC and CBS uncritically parroted a vicious new campaign quote from the President: "They [Republicans] want to take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century." NBC's Andrea Mitchell cheered, "Playing a starring role for the first time in the campaign, Sandra Fluke, the former law student who became a lightning rod after Rush Limbaugh denounced her for supporting contraception rights."
All three evening newscasts on Tuesday and the morning shows on Wednesday skipped a new Super PAC ad (run by former Obama spokesman Bill Burton) that blames Mitt Romney for a woman's death from cancer. While ignoring that, NBC, ABC and CBS made sure to highlight negative news for Romney or White House complaints about the Republican's new campaign spots.
By contrast, CNN on Tuesday demolished the Obama super PAC ad as "not accurate." Anchor Wolf Blitzer asserted it was "full of falsehoods." The spot misleadingly claims that Ranae Soptic passed away from cancer shortly after Bain Capital closed down the steel plant her husband worked at. In reality, she died five years later. Instead of investigating this, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Wednesday alerted, "Our new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds [Romney's] personal popularity sinking to a new low, the lowest of any presumptive nominee since 1984."