NBC and ABC in their evening and morning newscasts completely ignored the grilling Eric Holder received on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, over his role in the Fast and Furious scandal. Senate Republicans forced Holder to admit his initial statements to Congress about his department’s role in gunwalking were "inaccurate," and that he never apologized to the family of a Border Agent killed by a Mexican drug cartel that used guns from the Fast and Furious operation. Only Sharyl Attkisson, in two full reports aired on Tuesday’s Evening News and Wednesday’s The Early Show, relayed the testimony that ABC and NBC blacked out on their broadcasts.
Attkisson, who was berated by the Obama White House and even momentarily benched by CBS, for her role in covering the story, ran down the pertinent details in the following story aired on the November 8 edition of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:
In only eight and a half days, NBC, CBS and ABC have devoted a staggering 99 stories to sexual harassment charges against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. In comparison, eight days into Bill Clinton's scandal's with Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick, there were a combined eight reports.
Additionally, the three network newscasts on Monday offered scant information about the fact that Cain's accuser, Sharon Bialek, has hired the extremely liberal lawyer Gloria Allred. On NBC's Nightly News, reporter Kelly O'Donnell described Allred as a "high profile attorney." On CBS's Evening News, Jan Crawford referred to her as a "celebrity lawyer."
ABC, CBS and NBC have continued their overly positive coverage of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestors, devoting a massive number of stories (81 in just the month of October) to the leftist, anti-capitalist movement. This is a far cry from the coverage they initially gave the Tea Party protest, granting them a scant 13 stories all of 2009. More troubling, the radicalism and criminal acts at some of the protests have been virtually ignored by the Big Three networks.
This was bound to happen given the overwhelming disparity in the number of soundbites (19 to 1 ratio) devoted to those who were sympathetic to the OWS cause. A staggering 190 (80%) soundbites were given to those who were in favor of the Occupiers, only 10 (4%) soundbites featured those who were critical of the movement, 38 (16%) were neutral. In addition, nine guests on the morning shows appreciated the OWS crowd, to just one against (Newt Gingrich).
From Friday night through Monday morning, the big three networks devoted an additional 21 stories to the Herman Cain sexual harassment story, bringing the networks' grand total to 84 in one week.
Even as they continued to pile on, these same networks defensively chided Cain for daring to criticize their coverage. On Sunday's Good Morning America, David Kerley hit Cain for "lashing out" at journalists. On Sunday's Today, David Gregory indignantly suggested Cain has "created this alternate universe" where he says to supporters, "You see...this is what the media does..."
ABC's World News this week failed to mention the development that former New Jersey Democratic Senator and former Governor Jon Corzine is mired in a scandal involving $600 million in missing funds from the financial firm MF Global which he headed until today.
The CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News so far have not mentioned Corzine's Democratic Party affiliation as they ran full reports on Tuesday, and on Friday both shows updated viewers after Corzine's resignation.
On Friday, Brian Williams related that a "prominent criminal defense lawyer" had been hired by Corzine as the NBC anchor read a brief item:
The unrelenting network coverage of the Herman Cain sexual harassment story continued on Thursday and Friday with an additional 13 stories. That brings the total number of reports to a staggering 63 stories in just four and a half days.
Good Morning America offered up three stories on Friday, including a Brian Ross report tinged with anonymous allegations and rumor-mongering. Ross speculated, "Former employees tell ABC News, Cain was a regular on Washington's after-work bar scene, often with young women who worked with him at the restaurant association." Ross hinted, "Some say it was just Cain being personable and gregarious."
Thursday's World News on ABC skipped the congressional decision to subpoena White House emails related to the Solyndra solar energy company that went into bankruptcy after receiving tax dollars. The CBS Evening News gave the story 22 seconds, while the NBC Nightly News included a 31-second news brief.
Over a period of just three and a half days, NBC, CBS and ABC have developed an insatiable hunger for the Herman Cain sexual harassment story, devoting an incredible 50 stories to the allegations since Monday morning. In contrast, over a similar period these networks mostly ignored far more substantial and serious scandals relating to Bill Clinton.
This pattern continued on Wednesday night and into Thursday as the evening newscasts and morning shows highlighted the story 19 times. On Good Morning America, Brian Ross offered innuendo and slung gossip, recounting, "But behind the scenes, several of the campaigns are still urging reporters to continue to dig, George, saying, there's more to be found in the private life of Herman Cain." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The network evening newscasts on Tuesday and the morning shows on Wednesday continued to hype the Herman Cain "firestorm," creating 12 more stories in less than 24 hours. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos led the show on Wednesday by trumpeting, " Republican front-runner Herman Cain changes his story again as one of his accusers now says she wants to go public on charges of sexual harassment."
On NBC's Today, Chuck Todd hyperbolically announced, "Struggling to move beyond the firestorm that is engulfing his candidacy, Herman Cain again denied he sexually harassed anyone." On that same program, guest Chris Matthews recklessly speculated that the Republican harassed women while drunk.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "Protesters across the country and a lot of Americans who are sympathetic to this Occupy Wall Street protest movement are tonight rallying around a 24-year-old Iraq war veteran who was seriously injured during a violent confrontation with police in Oakland, California on Tuesday."
On ABC's World News, fill-in anchor George Stephanopoulos echoed that sentiment: "...one young man has become a symbol of their resolve." Correspondent Abbie Boudreau followed by declaring: "With tensions mounting daily, the name Scott Olsen has become a national rallying cry for Occupy Wall Street....injured Tuesday night, as police began firing tear gas during the Oakland crackdown."
Add the CLASS Act to the ever growing list of damaging stories (Solyndra, Fast and Furious) to the bungling Obama administration that the media are, for the most part, whistling by. The news last Friday that a key part of Obamacare, the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS), meant to provide long-term care for the elderly – was deemed not sustainable by the Obama administration itself, drew a total of just 40 seconds on the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) broadcast network news shows.
ABC's Good Morning America, on Saturday, included just a 20 second brief by Ron Claiborne who alerted viewers that the "Obama administration is killing a key part of its signature health care overhaul" because it was not "financially viable." Then, later that evening CBS Evening News -- seen by few since college football meant it did not air in the Eastern and Central time zones -- also aired a 20 second brief with weekend anchor Anthony Mason notifying viewers: "The Obama administration has scrapped the long-term care component of the health care reform law before it even took affect." NBC has yet to cover the topic on either NBC Nightly News or the Today show. There wasn't even a word of it on the political roundtable Sunday shows (ABC's This Week, CBS's Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press).
Earlier today, Matthew Balan at NewsBusters noted how the "Big Three Nets Trumpet Wall Street Protesters 'Proclaiming Victory.'" HIs report concentrated on the morning shows, but a Media Research Center Reality Check showed the that the fawning has also been present in evening news coverage.
Evening show network executives, however, may be less than thrilled about the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd coverage, and secretly hoping for the whole thing to wind down. That's because their shows, which have generally seen their ratings rise during the past twelve months, saw their combined audience fall below 21 million during the week of October 3, with CBS suffering a particularly sharp drop (comparisons are to previous week):
The broadcast networks continued their enthusiastic coverage Friday night on behalf of the far-left Wall Street protesters, with NBC’s Brian Williams, again, the most excited while CBS anchor Scott Pelley, who has until now refrained from the hype delivered by ABC and NBC, jumped in by promising “a series of reports on the growing protests around the country.”
Williams led by touting how the protesters “are claiming victory tonight” by not getting removed from the Manhattan park. He then hailed their impact which he has helped fuel: “This protest movement is showing strength. It’s still growing, changing and spreading...”
The Occupy Wall Street protestors have received overwhelmingly positive coverage from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks, as they used their airtime to publicize and promote the aggressively leftist movement. In just the first eleven days of October, ABC, CBS and NBC flooded their morning and evening newscasts with a whopping 33 full stories or interview segments on the protesters. This was a far cry from the greeting the Tea Party received from the Big Three as that conservative protest movement was initially ignored (only 13 total stories in all of 2009) and then reviled.
Where the Tea Party was met with skeptical claims of their motivations -- with some reporters claiming they were merely corporate backed puppets and others implying they were spurred on by their racist opposition to the first black president – the Occupy Wall Street crowd was depicted as an almost genial “grassroots” movement.
A study by the Media Research Center finds that the three broadcast networks are providing virtually no coverage of the Solyndra scandal, a solar energy firm that went bankrupt after getting more than $500 million in taxpayer money from the Obama administration. This is not the approach the networks took after the collapse of Enron, an energy company with Republican ties. In just the first two months of 2002, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts cranked out 198 stories on the Enron debacle, compared to just eight so far on Solyndra, a 24-to-1 disparity. Details after the jump.
CBS and NBC led Wednesday night with glowing stories about the growth and diversity of the far-left “Occupy Wall Street” protests, though without any ideological label applied nor any critics allowed, a promotional approach the networks never provided in Tea Party coverage.
“We begin tonight with what has become by any measure a pretty massive protest movement,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced. “While it goes by the official name ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ it has spread steadily and far beyond Wall Street, and it could well turn out to be the protest of this current era.”
ABC’s Cecilia Vega touted how “it is a crowd that grows daily in size and diversity,” CBS’s Michelle Miller heralded “they’re gaining momentum and new recruits” and NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo trumpeted “the largest crowd yet, and more varied in age and background.”
"CBS Evening News" distinguished itself among the Big Three networks on Monday by devoting an entire segment to the ongoing controversy over the "Fast and Furious" program, where the federal government smuggled guns to Mexican drug cartels. NBC hasn't mentioned the story on its news programs since April 17, while the last time ABC covered it was a news brief on June 15.
Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported that "new documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial 'Fast and Furious' operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his [May 3, 2011] statement to Congress." After playing a sound bite from Holder's testimony, Attkisson continued that "at least ten months before that hearing, Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing 'Fast and Furious.' They came from...Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer."
Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s admission, on Thursday, that he approved more taxpayer money to the financially strapped solar panel company Solyndra, after it defaulted on a $535 million loan from that agency. Big Three network coverage? Zero. This is just a continuing pattern of ABC, CBS and NBC barely touching the bourgeoning scandal for the Obama administration.
What initially began as an embarrassing collapse of one of the green companies touted by the Obama has turned into a story of coverup of still more stimulus money being wasted on the left’s pet cause of climate change. Yet, as a search of Nexis shows, the networks have glanced over the Solyndra story with the Big Three networks running a total of just eight total full stories, two anchor briefs and a couple of mentions on their evening and morning news shows, since the company declared bankruptcy in August.
Chavez, a socialist, has long gotten a pass from ABC, CBS and NBC for anti-American rhetoric like calling President Bush a "devil" and predicting: "The United States empire is on its way down and it will be finished in the near future."
Matching the pattern set in coverage of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, the broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday night all framed their stories on Alabama’s “severe” new law around its victims, with ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and NBC anchor Brian Williams both describing it as “Arizona on steroids.” They didn’t mean it as a compliment. Sawyer mischaracterized it as an “anti-immigration law.”
ABC was the most one-sided, with reporter Steve Osunsami not mentioning a reason for the new law until his very last sentence. Instead, Osunsami intoned, “Across Alabama today, demonstrators were furious, calling this the Arizona law with an Alabama twist,” before showing a man who charged that “it says that our government promotes racism.”
Anchor Brian Williams led Tuesday's NBC Nightly News with a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation about the rising cost of health care, direly proclaiming: "We're going to begin tonight with a crippling trend in America that simply cannot go on without taking entire families with it." Missing from the coverage was any mention of ObamaCare contributing to the increased costs.
In the report that followed, correspondent John Yang detailed how the new study, "says premiums for family coverage now average more than $15,000 a year, that's a 9% jump from 2010 and triple the rate of the previous's years increase." A sound bite of Kaiser CEO Drew Altman was included: "This is really the first time in as long as I can remember when we've seen a big jump in premiums at a time when wages are actually, not only flat, but actually losing ground."
But instead of highlighting the cover-up in the scandal of the $535 million federal loan trumpeted by the Obama administration to the solar panel manufacturer which went bankrupt, neither ABC nor NBC mentioned the development Friday night and CBS allocated a mere 25 seconds.
Broadcasting & Cable magazine's cover story this week was on Katie Couric and her new afternoon talk show (not arriving until next autumn). Her longtime NBC producer and friend Jeff Zucker, axed by NBC in the Comcast merger, is now helping her put the show together. But when asked if Couric was destined to be a failure in the evening news, where the gummy smiles and perky trills aren't in great demand, Zucker tried to say yes in the most diplomatic terms:
“President Obama has declared it is time to take action on taxes because people in the middle class are paying a larger percentage of income tax than the super-rich,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer announced Monday night without bothering to note, as neither did CBS nor NBC, that the super-rich are already paying a disproportionate share of income taxes.
ABC reporter Bianna Golodryga, who is married to former Obama OMB chief Peter Orszag, assured Sawyer that Obama would not raise taxes immediately, but insisted “the more secure a plan is right now the better it will be in the long run.” (For who?) Sawyer, as if there is a rebound now: “So let the recovery continue?” Golodryga: “Continue now, but have a plan in place to raise taxes over the next few years.” Sawyer related: “They say for fairness.”
Andrew Petersen. That’s the last Republican to win New York’s 9th Congressional District. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley provided that bit of trivia, and displayed a picture of him, on Wednesday night as he relayed how Petersen was “swept into office in the 1920 Republican landslide...”
Throughout coverage of President Obama's address to Congress Thursday night, anchors and correspondents on both CBS and NBC gave fawning reviews of the new jobs plan, in some cases, even before the speech began. In contrast, ABC took a much more skeptical tone, with a focus on the President's falling poll numbers.
Evening News anchor Scott Pelley opened CBS's coverage by proclaiming the President was "hanging out a 'help wanted' sign" for unemployed Americans, with chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell excitedly announcing moments later that Obama would put forward "an extraordinarily bold plan" to create jobs.
Good Morning America on Tuesday skipped any mention of James Hoffa's call for war against the Tea Party and the union leader's exhortation to "take these son[s] of bitches out." The ABC program was the only network evening or morning show to ignore the heated rhetoric entirely.
All three evening newscasts on Monday and CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today offered brief references to Hoffa's comments in Detroit (although, in many parts of the country, the CBS broadcast was pre-empted for coverage of the U.S. Open). Bill Plante on the Early Show asserted that Hoffa "took aim at the Tea Party." Nightly News' Kate Snow added that the labor leader simply "turned up the political heat."
On Saturday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Barry Petersen filed a report which highlighted Human Rights Watch's analysis of government records in Libya which document that, during the Bush administration, the CIA sent prisoners to Libya as part of its renditioning program. Anchor Russ Mitchell saw the papers as potentially "troubling" as he introduced the report: